DIY repair: 3D printer

I participated in a silent bidding last saturday, hoping to walk away with a Makerbot Replicator 2.

Let's take a look at the retail price on Amazon:


The used ones are going at USD$900 so what's better and bidding for a broken but repairable unit? :)

.......drum roll........


Won the bid!

The 3D printer was described to be broken but repairable. Not that helpful but initial eyeballing reveals that everything seems intact except for a missing Y-axis motor and mounting bracket.

Inspecting the printer

Here's how i systematically determined the current condition:

  • printer is able to power on
  • able to jog in the X and Z axis
  • heating is working temperature reflected correctly
  • motor can be controlled in the Y axis (broken issue)


This printer mileage is 857h. I'm not so familiar whether this is high or low if the machine is.. 2 year old?


Basic information showing that the printer is the correct model.



As you can see, the printer is rather filthy so lots of cleaning had to be performed.


You can see the belt without the Y-axis motor


This is the extruder hot-end where the heating element and thermocouple sits. The printer was not heating up initially so i dismantled it for further inspection.

Nothing major, probably loose wires. :)


ohhhh yeahhh, heating up!


Initially, the extruder motor was not working and i suspected that the motor driver was burnt. That required me to access the controller board (i swear curiosity only contributed 99%).

Those 4 green boards are the motor driver. I'm glad i opened it up cos the cover had some chemical stain.



That looks really familiar. It isn't really that hard to make a 3D printer. Open source made it so much easier.

To do

  • purchase a new Y-axis motor
  • make a motor bracket
  • perform platform calibration

Lessons learnt

  • ask as many questions you can before buying a used unit
  • open up as many compartments possible to clean things up
  • have a checklist handy to evaluate the unit
  • R E P A I R is fun and I like doing it :)

I hope that everyone embraces the repair culture. It reduces wastage and increases your knowledge. :)

~ ken on a productive monday