How to Build a D-Bot 3D Printer (Part 1: Overview)

After purchasing my fourth consumer 3D printer, I started playing with the idea of building the next one from scratch.  After all, what’s more impressive than a custom built 3D Printer, made from a variety of printed parts? While there was no shortage of designs available, the D-Bot CoreXY 3D Printer is definitely the most popular choice. It is well constructed and easily the best option for a novice, where it has excellent documentation that covers the process from start to finish.

D-Bot Official Bill of Materials
D-Bot Official Build Guide
D-Bot Official Electrical Diagram

Excited to move forward, I reached out to our friends at Gulfcoast Robotics who offered to sponsor the entire build. With a massive inventory of high quality parts in stock, they supplied almost all of the components needed to move forward. Since any custom built 3D Printer will require its fair share of parts, this is often the biggest deterrent for many potential makers. To help ease this stress and facilitate more builds, they have subsequently agreed to make exclusive D-Bot Kits available, including the Frame, Electrical, Mechanical and Hardware. These will be available within the near future and will be linked here once they are ready for purchase. In the meantime, the individual parts list can be found below.

What is the D-Bot?

The D-Bot is a robust CoreXY style 3D Printer that can be easily customized. The standard build features a respectable print volume of 300x200x325mm, though this can be expanded even further with only minor adjustments. Better yet, an entire library of remixed designs has been developed by the community and are available at no cost through Thingiverse.

All manufactured components are readily available through online retailers, and the rest can be created on nearly any existing 3D Printer. For purchased parts, Ebay and Aliexpress will offer a considerable savings at the cost of extended shipping times. While planning ahead can save on the total build costs, Amazon remains the most quick and accessible choice and relevant purchase links are included in the custom Bill of Materials below. RepRap Champions make many of their products available there for purchase and stock almost everything needed for the build.

D-Bot 3D Printer Render

Getting Started

Through out the course of this guide, we will build a large frame D-Bot with a print volume of 300x300x425mm (12x12x17″). The instructions will be provided in stages, where we will start with the Frame construction, followed by the installation of Electrical and Mechanical components, and conclude with the Software setup and configuration. In doing so, builders with a limited budget or time constraints can purchase and print parts as needed, avoiding the large upfront investment otherwise associated with such a project.

While the official D-Bot Build Guide and Bill of Materials are an excellent source of information, they do assume a certain level of prior knowledge and experience. Through quite a bit of trial and error, I was able to overcome many of the obstacles the average builder may encounter. As such, this is not intended to replace but rather compliment the existing documentation, with emphasis on areas in which I struggled or important details I found to be lacking.

To get started, the Frame and Hardware items (listed below) will be needed. The table of printed parts also has the relevant stages denoted, where those for the Frame should have first priority in order of what to print. It is strongly recommended to print these with PETG filament (Guide: How to Print with PETG), where the increased strength and flexibility will prevent cracking under stress.

Purchased Parts List

Frame Parts
ItemQuantityUnit CostTotal CostOrder
V-Slot Extrusion: 20x20x1500mm2$15.00$30.00Open Builds
V-Slot Extrusion: 20x40x1500mm4$19.50$78.00Open Builds
Electrical Parts
ItemQuantityUnit CostTotal CostOrder
Nema 17 76oz Stepper Motors5$5.99$30.00Amazon
RAMPS 1.4 Kit1$39.99$39.99Amazon
300x300 PCB Heated Bed1$0.00$0.00Amazon
Mechanical Endstops3$9.90$9.90Amazon
12V/30A Power Supply1$19.99$19.99Amazon
40mm Cooling Fans2$14.58$29.00Amazon
100k 3950 Thermistor1$9.99$9.99Amazon
Solid State DC Relay1$0.00$0.00Amazon
2.54mm Connector Kit1$13.99$13.99Amazon
Power Socket and Switch1$5.69$5.69Amazon
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Mechanical Parts
ItemQuantityUnit CostTotal CostOrder
Mini V Wheels20$0.90$18.00Open Builds
Mini V Wheel Precision Shims20$0.20$4.00Open Builds
MR105ZZ Bearings40$13.49$27.00Amazon
F623ZZ Bearings16$0.00$0.00Amazon
625ZZ Bearing1$9.03$9.03Amazon
500m Lead Screws2$0.00$0.00Amazon
5mm x 8mm Flex Couplings2$9.99$20.00Amazon
GT2 16t Pulleys1$8.69$8.69Amazon
GT2 Timing Belt1$7.99$7.99Amazon
GT2 16t Pulleys1$8.69$8.69Amazon
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Miscellaneous Parts
ItemQuantityUnit CostTotal CostOrder
Spring Kit1$4.37$4.37Home Depot
Binder Clips1$8.99$8.99Amazon
Thermal Adhesive1$4.99$4.99Amazon
Rubber Feet4$8.99$8.99Amazon
Corkboard Insulation1$15.30$15.30Amazon
Split Wire Loom1$10.39$10.39Amazon
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Printed Parts List

Printed Parts
Corner Brackets14FrameDownload
3x3 Plates10FrameDownload
2x1 Plates2FrameDownload
Rear Idler Right1FrameDownload
Rear Idler Left1FrameDownload
Motor Mount Right1FrameDownload
Motor Mount Left1FrameDownload
Motor Mount Z2FrameDownload
Endstop X Bracket1ElectronicsDownload
Endstop Y Bracket1ElectronicsDownload
Endstop Z Bracket1ElectronicsDownload
Z Wheel Guides4MechanicalDownload
Lead Screw Brackets2MechanicalDownload
Bed Support Brackets4FrameDownload
H-Bar End Right1FrameDownload
H-Bar End Left1FrameDownload
H-Bar End Plates2FrameDownload
Print Carriage Front1FrameDownload
Print Carriage Rear1FrameDownload
E3D V6 Hotend Clamp1ElectronicsDownload
Cooling Fan Duct1ElectronicsDownload
Belt Clamps4MechanicalDownload
Wheel Spacers32MechanicalDownload
Bearing Shims20MechanicalDownload
Tubing Holders2OptionalDownload
Power Supply Clamps2OptionalDownload
Power Switch Mount1OptionalDownload
RAMPS 1.4 Case1OptionalDownload
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5 thoughts on “How to Build a D-Bot 3D Printer (Part 1: Overview)

    1. Hi Keith,

      You can find How to Build a D-Bot 3D Printer (Part 2: Frame) here, although the Part 3 and 4 were heavily delayed. While my D-Bot prints fine and works well enough, I was not happy with several of the original design choices that I feel could be improved. Mostly pertaining to things like the X Carriage, V-wheels, etc. I’m currently in the process of switching the V-wheels to cheap linear rails (on both the X and Y axis) and adding smooth rods to the Z axis, and then I will post the other two guides.

      1. I realize this is nearly a year later, but if you never finished your D-Bot mods to your satisfaction let me suggest that simply converting from the standard 2-stepper, 2-leadscrew D-Bot Z axis to a 3-leadscrew, 1-stepper belted system is amazingly awesome, resulting in a Z axis that cannot get out of alignment, moves well, etc. Using a 3:1 or 4:1 reduction system (larger pulleys on the leadscrews than is on the single stepper) not only ensures that one stepper can easily drive all three leadscrews, but also improves the resolution of the Z axis (each step of the stepper represents a smaller +/- Z-axis movement, so Z moves are more fine grained).

        When I converted my D-bot from standard Z axis to 3-leadscrew belted with only one stepper, it was actually really easy. I mixed a couple parts someone else had come up with with some parts I designed to better support the leadscrews, and it all fit into more or less the same space in the D-Bot, and the whole upgrade was actually quite simple and extremely effective.

        Also, I used a Duet Wifi controller for the D-Bot, instead of the cheap generic controller originally specified. The Duet Wifi controller is pretty amazing, and makes this printer so easy and such a joy to control. Hands down the best way to go, albeit a little more expensive than the cheap controller originally specified.

  1. Is it possible to build D-Bot without printed parts? I don’t have a 3d printer that I could use for printing the parts..
    If not, can you please recommend which corexy printer can be built without printed parts?

    1. Hey John,

      Sorry for the delayed response, was out camping for a few days without any technology. To answer your question, you can build a CoreXY without printed parts but the D-Bot specifically is made to be 3D printed. Some items can be swapped out, such as the triangle brackets on the corners are just a printable equivalent of the aluminum ones sold online.

      As for other designs, most of the ones I am aware of use 3D Printed parts, such as the HyperCube, Voron, etc. You can buy the 3D Printed parts as a kit on Ebay (other people make them for you) but I don’t know of plans for a CoreXY that is all metal. With that said, you could probably put something together without too much pre-existing knowledge, although I would do some research in to design choices, such as using v-wheels vs. linear rails, the thickness of aluminum extrusion, etc.

      If you have any other questions or need help figuring out how you want to move forward, just use the Contact form and we can chat about it in more depth!

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