Delta 3D printer: self-assembly, setup and maintenance

3D printers with delta kinematics stand out among other models with a high printing speed of very complex parts. Such devices are quite expensive, but you can assemble them yourself. Let’s look at the stages of assembly, setup and nuances of using a delta printer.

Which 3D printer is better – delta or Cartesian?

The Cartesian (also called Cartesian) and the delta printer use the same types of filament for printing. In addition, they have the same working parts (extruder, platform, motor), but their arrangement is different.

In Cartesian 3D printers, the movement of the extruder or platform is along the X, Y and Z axes (Cartesian plane). That is, the working elements move left, right, forward, backward, up and down.

Delta 3D printers have a different system of movement in the basis of work. The machine has three brackets that support the extruder. The arms themselves are attached to three vertical supports that are arranged in a triangle shape. The extruder in a delta printer can move in all directions, while each bracket can only move vertically up and down.

By looking at the construction features of both types of equipment, you can establish which one would be better to use for a particular purpose. To do this, let’s highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the Cartesian and delta printer.

Pros and cons of the delta printer

Some of the main advantages of the delta printer include:

  • Very fast printing of complex objects;
  • high detailing of thin and small parts of the product;
  • easy replacement of the extruder.

Along with the advantages of the delta printer, it also has the following disadvantages:

  • Little information about the operation, assembly, and setup of the device;
  • complicated assembly, setup and calibration for the correct functioning of the printer;
  • difficulties with the selection of parameters and settings when printing complex objects at high speed.

Pros and cons of a Cartesian printer

Traditional printers, the operation of which is based on the Cartesian coordinate system, have a number of positive properties when used:

  • stable printing results in the mass production of products;
  • a lot of free information on the structure, operation, setup and maintenance of the printer in the thematic forums;
  • the size of the product to be created is not limited by the fact that the Cartesian printer model can be divided into constituent parts.

The main and significant disadvantage of the Cartesian printer is a much slower printing speed than that of the delta device. This is because the Cartesian printer spends a lot of time accelerating and braking the system. Because of this, the print head is slower to move to the desired point.

How to make a Delta 3D printer with your own hands: step by step instructions

Before you start assembling the delta printer, you should correctly select all the parts. For the construction of a workable device the following components will be required:

  • frame with plastic bushings;
  • guide rollers;
  • heated table;
  • stepper motors;
  • expansion board RAMPS 1.4;
  • mechanical limiters;
  • Arduino Mega 2560 R3 microcontroller;
  • M5 threaded studs;
  • step-down voltage regulator;
  • 12V power supply;
  • extruder;
  • optical limiters;
  • filament spool;
  • two coolers (for blowing parts and for blowing drivers).
  • display and a button with a 220V terminal.

The assembly of the delta 3D printer is done in the following order:

  1. The frame and end supports are constructed first. The travel screws at the top are left free.
  2. The voltage regulator is soldered to the power input. The microcontroller is installed and the regulator is attached to the back.
  3. Then the expansion board is soldered separately to the legs. The mechanical limiters are set in the direction of the correct polarity.
  4. Before setting up the firmware, electronic components and optical limiters are connected to the printer. The table, extruder, coolers, and material reel are also installed.
  5. The firmware for the printer is set up based on the size of the printer. Also, when installing it, it is important that all the rods be the same length.

Reference. To make equal length booms, you need to put hinges on equally cut pieces of stud on both sides. After that, place the neodymium magnets on the finished boom and rotate the stud until the hinges are clearly in the middle of the magnet. After adjusting all the rods, it is necessary to fix the threads at the hinge with glue.

Setup and Calibration

The most convenient way to calibrate your delta printer is with the OpenDACT or Pronterface utility. These programs will auto-calibrate the equipment by making electrical contact between the metal nozzle and the table. This procedure is done in three steps:

  1. One end of the wire is crimped into the pad, the other two ends are secured to the heat sink and the aluminum tape.
  2. The three ends of the wire are then connected to the 3D printer.
  3. The printer is then connected to a computer, from which an auto-calibration program is run. The whole process can take a long time, as it requires picking up all the necessary geometry parameters.

Aluminum tape is applied to the table.

After or before you calibrate the printer, you should also calibrate the device’s desktop. This will allow for maximum printing accuracy. The calibration of the table is carried out as follows:

  • Heat the table to +90 °C, tighten the screws, and move the print head to the center of the table. Place a sheet of white paper directly underneath the extruder nozzle. It should not be pressed hard against the nozzle, but it should not “wiggle” underneath it either.
  • After adjusting the center of the table, the sheet is moved to the corners of the work surface and the table is calibrated in the same way.

photo of the printer

Mistakes in creation and tips on how to avoid them

When assembling and setting up the delta printer on their own, the user can make a number of mistakes that will adversely affect the operation of the device:

  • Incorrect calibration of the printer. It will lead to backlashes and deviations in the geometry of the design. And these malfunctions will cause serious distortion of the part when printing.
  • Boom slippage from the magnets. This can cause deformation of the printed part. Avoid boom slippage from the magnets by providing rubber band holders. These will prevent the hinge from slipping off the magnet.
  • The product cannot be printed to the full working height of the printer. This problem occurs because the printhead is not properly positioned. There must be a separate space for it in the printer that does not take up useful work space.

Having considered the peculiarities of assembly and configuration of the delta 3D printer, the user can independently create a device for fast printing of complex designs. However, it should be noted that the assembly of such equipment is very complicated and special knowledge will be required for its construction.

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