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Help a 15-year-old Build a 3D Printer

Help a 15-year-old Build a 3D Printer

Personal message

Hey everyone, glad to see you here! My name is Zarret Mills, I am almost 16 years old, and with my lack of money burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to start my first real project, and I wasn't going to make it easy for myself.

I have to mention that I am an SSP  (Student Sponsorship Program) Scholar and I owe most of what I have to them for sponsoring my high school career. I probably wouldn't be in high school without their contribution to my life.

So basically, I want to design, build and program a 3D printer from scratch, by myself. I love a good challenge every so often; keeps me on my toes.

A 3D printer is a machine that melts plastic compounds into thin streams that are used to make small sculptures or items. It can also be used to make parts that can be used to build other projects. Pretty nifty, right?

My main use for the printer will be for school projects and models that I need to build from scratch. I think a 3D printer will give me that extra bit of "oomph" I need, you know? In addition, I can use the machine to make gifts, models, and products for others; I want to turn the printer into my own business: I will take in orders from others, make what they want, give it to them and charge a commission. I want to start an engineering company later, so I might as well start now.

The average extra-large 3D printer can cost anywhere from R6000 ($550) to R10 000 ($800), so it is much cheaper and more efficient to build your own rather than to buy a pre-made one. Plus, it will give me some valuable engineering and programming insight.

I will order the parts for the printer from sources like Amazon and will make sure that the money is put to good use.  I will buy the products (motors, control boards, aluminium bars and pieces etc.) and the rough total cost will be about $220 or R2800; the extra money will be used to buy filament (3D printing material) while I get started up (one reel costs about R250 or $25)

It would be ideal to have the finances within the next 3 weeks or so, as I go back to school mid-January and I don't want a project like this to get in the way of learning.

I have already begun designing the printer in Autodesk Fusion 360 , and you can see some of the early designs here:

Obviously, these models aren't complete, this is still a work-in-progress, after all; but I think you can kind of see what I'm getting at here.

And yes, I did this all myself, the only part where I have had parent intervention is in the banking and finances :D.

So yeah, I guess that sums it all up, it would mean the world to me if you could contribute to this, and even if you don't donate, spread the word, help a kid out :). This project will surely be a turning point in my life, as it will help me build some independence and I will learn many things about engineering and mechanics along the way.

Thank you and have a good day. <3


  • Dec 01, 2018 - R 514.10
  • "Good luck Zarret! I am sure this is one of many amazing things ahead." - Kaileen Govender

  • Nov 28, 2018 - USD $ 37.79
  • "Good luck Zarret! I know you are capable of big things and you’ll go far! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!" - Skye Tucker

  • Nov 28, 2018 - R 257.05
  • "Good Luck Zarret, use that brilliant mind of yours to make a positive change in this world" - Rory

  • Nov 27, 2018 - USD $ 7.56
  • "Looking forward to seeing it in action Z! All the best!" - Sean & Taylor

  • Nov 27, 2018 - R 514.10
  • "use it well" - Anonymous

  • Nov 27, 2018 - R 20.56
  • "Good luck Zarret! Love, Nana" - Nana

  • Nov 27, 2018 - USD $ 7.56
  • "Design a modular 3D printer. That's the future." - Osváth Márk

  • Nov 26, 2018 - R 101.50
  • "Can't wait to see yr stuff!" - Razzmatix

  • Nov 26, 2018 - R 81.20
  • "Good luck Dude!" - Go Boy!

  • Nov 26, 2018 - R 101.50
  • "Good luck with your project Zarret!" - BB

Donate to this charity


Donations to date

R 2 326.53

Fundraising target

R 4 500.00

Zarret Mills 3D Printer Cause

Zarret Mills 3D Printer Cause Logo
My name is Zarret Mills, I am a grade 10 student and I would like to to build and program my very own 3D printer from scratch.