I have been following the reprap project for a few years now and fell in love with the first video I saw of a small machine moving around frantically, extruding plastic layer by layer to create a 3D object.
While amazed I was always more interested in getting a CNC machine than a 3D printer. But now that I have a CNC machine I feel its time I gave 3D printers a little love. I will be making a delta 3D printer as seen here. A very talented person named Johann has put together this amazing printer and I couldn’t help myself, I must make one!
Johann’s delta printer design calls for having another 3D printer first to make the parts for this one. As I don’t have a 3D printer I have created my own design and optimized the parts so that I can produce them on my 3 axis CNC router. It’s unfortunately not as slick and quick as just 3D printing the parts needed, but I believe it will turn out well.
This printer is referred to as a delta robot. Delta robots are different to normal CNC machines or 3D printers in that they aren’t cartesian robots. This means they don’t operate in the fashion that if you move the X axis the print head will move left/right, or similar if you move the Z axis the print head rises.
Instead a mixture of movement of all axes results in cartesian movement. I’m not confident in my ability to explain this well enough so be sure to google search delta robot to find more in-depth explanations.
Anyways back to the design. There are three carriages which represent three axes. Each axis is 120 degrees rotated from the other. The carriages are moved up and down on linear rods via a belt drive run by a Nema 17 stepper motor.
By moving each carriage vertically up and down it forces the arms attached to it to extend or withdraw. This movement pushes around a platform on which the plastic extruder is attached.
By moving all three carriages vertically up at the same speed the platform will rise parallel to the table below it. To move the platform in the X and Y directions a combination of movements along each axis will execute to keep the platform moving parallel to the table.
I’m really looking forward to getting this printer up and going. I’ve already received most of the components but still hunting down the PVC plastic I will be using for construction.
Stay tuned for more updates!