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This Noctua-Inspired 3D Printer Build Is Gorgeous

Noctua 3D Printer
(Image credit: Austin Vojta/Twitter)

Noctua’s color scheme is so good that keeping it restrained to the company's typical lineup of some of the market's best CPU coolers would be a crime. That beige and brown combo manages to look sleek and modern, yet almost wood-paneled and retro, at the same time. It should be no surprise then, that fans (heh) of the company have taken to applying it to other tech. Take Twitter user Austin Vojta, a University of Texas at Austin alumni who’s taken so much to the Austrian heatsink-maker’s '70s style colors that he’s building a whole 3D printer to match.

Tagging Noctua, Vojta told the company that he was making a whole 3D printer using Noctua fans for cooling and exhaust and using its color scheme as inspiration for the rest of the parts. He also included photos of a whole slew of pieces all decked out in the company’s signature beige and brown as evidence, and the uniform coloring almost makes them seem like a Lego kit. Laid out like this, they just seem like they belong together -- even more than usual. What a great way to make a build less intimidating.

Noctua’s Twitter account seems to agree, as they responded with congrats and thanks, and the tweets have since gotten a good deal of attention from tech enthusiasts.

"I love Noctua's products and have used them for a variety of things, from their intended use in my desktop PC to cases for Raspberry Pi projects, a makeshift desk fan, et cetera," Vojta told Tom's Hardware. "Their brown fans get a lot of hate online, but I knew that would make my build look unique and stand out from the sea of black and gray printers."

We couldn't agree more. As for how Vojta got the parts in Noctua's colors, he told us that the parts were printed with a process called fused filament fabrication.

"I used spools of brown and beige plastic, which get extruded through a hotend in layers to build up each part slowly. No painting or dyes required," Vojta said.

He also explained to us that this was done with another 3D printer that he already owns, the Prusa i3 MK3S, so this definitely isn't a project for those just starting out.

Which brings us to Vojta's history of making custom 3D printers. "This is the 4th printer I've built, but the 1st that I'm doing from scratch," he told us. "My first printer was built in 2017 and the hobby has turned into an obsession for me! It can seem like an overwhelming process at first, as you have to source every individual component from places like Amazon and eBay and AliExpress."

Still, despite the intimidation of sourcing, he reassured potential newcomers that "there is a massive community of people who are passionate about building similar printers and very willing to help out!"

Pointing to one such community, Vojta explained to us that the models for his Noctua build's 3D printed parts come from the open source Voron Design project, which has made sourcing much easier for him.

As for his next project, Vojta said we can expect more with the "Noctua theme," including a second brown and beige printer.

He added that while this Noctua-themed build is a "big 12 x 12 x 12 inch build volume machine," he's hoping to tackle Voron Design's new 5 x 5 x 5 inch build volume Voron0 miniature printer next. 

"It's pretty cute, but the Noctua theme should give it just the right pinch of classy," the maker said.

As for his current project, we’re excited to see the final product once it's ready.

Editor's note: This article was originally published April 27, 2020 and was updated on April 28 to include comment from Vojta. 

  • rad666
    Noctua fans are ugly. very good and effective, but ugly.

    There, I said it.
    Reply
  • austinvojta
    rad666 said:
    Noctua fans are ugly. very good and effective, but ugly.

    There, I said it.

    Hey, for the inside of an RGB'd-out PC, I can't argue. For a 3D printer, so long as they keep my hotend and control board cool, I can't complain!
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    I've always liked Noctua's unique Milk Chocolate look.

    It works for me.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    rad666 said:
    Noctua fans are ugly.
    https://noctua.at/en/products/fan/chromax
    chromax line has been out for awhile now.

    so they can be sexy and beautiful now.
    Reply
  • CerianK
    When discussing technology, I have always equated beauty with function, which by my definition, also includes reliability.
    In my circles, I coined the phrase 'Technology that fails, isn't'.
    I plan to do my next PC build with a so-called 'ugly' Noctua because, by reputation (both product and company), it seems quite the opposite of ugly to me.

    Granted that I find all fans 'ugly' in the sense that they must eventually fail, but 10+ years is a reasonable expectation now, and hopefully 3-5 year fans have become a thing of the past.
    Of course if I were to design a modern fan, it would have a push-button release on the center of the rotor hub to facilitate removing the blade for routine cleaning.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    CerianK said:
    When discussing technology, I have always equated beauty with function, which by my definition, also includes reliability.
    In my circles, I coined the phrase 'Technology that fails, isn't'.
    I plan to do my next PC build with a so-called 'ugly' Noctua because, by reputation (both product and company), it seems quite the opposite of ugly to me.

    Granted that I find all fans 'ugly' in the sense that they must eventually fail, but 10+ years is a reasonable expectation now, and hopefully 3-5 year fans have become a thing of the past.
    Of course if I were to design a modern fan, it would have a push-button release on the center of the rotor hub to facilitate removing the blade for routine cleaning.
    I agree, mostly. Taking apart a fan is the surest way to make it wobbly, though, so I would rather change mine every 5 years of so (I don't mind then lasting longer, though).
    Reply
  • Scott Hess
    I must be using a weird definition of "build".
    Reply
  • GenericUser
    I've never cared for the look of their fans, but it definitely lends itself to a unique look that leads to instant brand recognition, so I'll give them that. And regardless of the looks, they have a top reputation for quality.

    That being said, I'm a pure function over form type of person. My philosophy is the hardware is there to do a job, not look good. If it happens to look good while doing it, that's one thing, but I don't tend to go out of my way to find things with LED's plastered all over them and whatnot.

    Also, it's refreshing to see a company reacting positively to a tribute to their design, as opposed to immediate retaliation with cease and desist notifications from corporate lawyers for some sort of trademark infringement/violation.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    hotaru251 said:
    https://noctua.at/en/products/fan/chromax
    chromax line has been out for awhile now.

    so they can be sexy and beautiful now.
    Maybe I'm confusing it with something else, but I thought those were a lower-end product line that were met with a number of bad reviews and complaints. Maybe I'm wrong, but buyer beware.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    CerianK said:
    if I were to design a modern fan, it would have a push-button release on the center of the rotor hub to facilitate removing the blade for routine cleaning.
    The best solution for dust is filters. You can even get aftermarket magnetic & adhesive filters, should your case lack them.

    https://www.demcifilter.com/magnetic-computer-dust-filters-for-your-computer
    Reply