In July 2009, my dad showed me a printer online that could print itself, and suggested we should try to build one as a small project. What started as a weekend project, ended up taking almost 5 years. After running into numerous road blocks and taking many breaks, in January 2014 we finally bought a new electronics system (upgrading from the old generation 3 electronics) which prompted us to complete the project. Overall, the printer was able to make a decent number of prints, but the quality was a bit poor and the printer ended up as a bit of a mess.
Some time later we made the (poor) decision to fund a Kickstarter for the BI v2.5 printer. Unfortunately, it ended up taking months longer than expected to come, and once it arrived had numerous problems with the glass bed, backlash in the motion systems, clogging in the hotend, jamming in the cold end, filament grinding, and even overheating wires. After countless hours of work trying to fix it, we ended up donating it to our local makerspace in hopes that someone else could figure it out. I did manage to get a few fairly high quality prints along the way, but in the end the printer was a poor experience, and taught us a lesson about Kickstarters.
Overall, while both printers ended up basically non-functional and the print quality was never great, building and using these 3D printers taught me a lot. Assembling the electronics for the RepRap was my first time using a soldering iron and also introduced me to the Arduino platform. I learned a lot about different types of mechatronic systems like the stepper motors used with drive belts and leadscrews.