Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014

Building my Delta Printer

After I built three Cartesian 3d printers (1, 2, 3) I've decided to move on and go Delta. A friend of mine showed me his and he had absolutely amazing print quality. After I've seen his prints it was clear I needed a Delta 3d printer. I started the design with a hexagon base. My goal was to build a fully enclosed printer, because I want to print mostly ABS - for that you need at least an enclosure or better a heated chamber. Back in the days I was quite a name in the german casemodding scene and building this printer reminded me a little bit of the good old times... and so it went this direction:

For the electronic housing I was inspired by the overall hexagonic design and let my imagination go with it.
It became the unique design pattern from this point forward for the overall printer. It can fit a RAMPS or a RUMBA motherboard and provides a mount for a 80mm fan.

For the autonomous printing there is a 128x64 pixel LCD.
It also features a click encoder for menue selecting and a full sized SD-card slot. Even the filament holder is designed like that, it is also flexible to fit all kinds of spools:
I printed these parts with clear ABS and honeycomb infill. I really like the look of it and how it scatters light.
I think about illuminating this, too ;)

One of the most imported parts of a delta printer are the linear guides. I got a set of three from the friend I mentioned before (the one with the delta that impressed me) for a very good price.
These high quality industry grade linear guides provide a smooth silent and clearance free movement.
The drive system is pretty standard normal 200 steps/rotaion NEMA17 stepper motors and DRV8825 drivers. The belt is T2.5 and the pulleys have 16 teeth.
At the top I used opto endstops for the max length limit switches.

I planned the effector carriage to fit an E3D-V5 hotend in it. My cooler design features one hotend fan in the front and two additional fans for print cooling.

Talking about the effector, I also added a Z-Probe for automated bed leveling:
If the probe is not used, it is stored in the upper position (left picture) and held there by a magnet. If you need the probe on the bottom surface, there is an even stronger magnet that will pull out the probe pin. The measurement is again done with an opto switch.
If you are not familiar with delta calibration read these two articles:
As print surface I use a special coated aluminum sheet and a 160 Watts heat pad:

The other very critical parts are the moving joints. I used igubal® rod end bearings with female thread,
Type KBRM-03.
The arms are made of carbon fiber tubes. With JB-weld I glued a M3 stainless steal threaded rod in the tube and also a M3 nut on every end. Everything is covered by heat shrink tube: 

The arms have to be very carefully aligned to avoid print issues later: 

To get enough torque for the bowden extruder I used a NEMA23 stepper motor as I did with my last printer.

I had quite good experience with this design and didn't change much.

The enclosure is made of birch plywood. I used pigmented wax to get the dark color:
I really love this pigmented wax, it protects the wood without losing the wooden feel when you touch it. It is also surprisingly easy to use. You only have to apply it with a cloth wipe. It covers really homogeneous and much easier than paint.
For the top surface I used the laser engraver I built last year to add a nice hexagon decal, this is not only nice to look at, it really helps to cut the parts precisely.

 It's quite hard to photograph because the deacels are more or less only visible under a specific angle:
I tried to engrave one before and one after waxing but the difference is minor.

The door of the enclosure is made of acrylic. This can easily bend to a needed angle with a hot air gun or a gas burner. It has to be mounted and should bend to a proper surface. I made a simple wooden form with the right angle. You can see it in the video below:

The hinge is a piano hinge you can buy in every home store. It comes in a length of about 1,5 m and can be cut in fitting pieces. The mount threads are directly cut in the acrylic. After a week of printing I discovered some minor cracks on the surface. Carefully heating the surface again hopefully will fix this.

The hole inside is covered by 2 mm thick EPDM foam rubber. It closes the gaps and looks great. I hope it absorbs the noise a little bit. The heated build plate delivers enough power to heat air inside the printer to about 45-50°C with the door closed. Since I primary print ABS it's a perfect environment.
To illuminate the print I used normal 300 LEDs/m led stripes.
For additional noise reduction I put the printer on 25mm large rubber feats:

Overall I'm very happy with the results. It's a beautiful machine and the print quality is very good. Calibration wasn't that hard. I really recommend building a delta if you already have a 3D-printer:

Here is a collection of the separate files I put to download. There are more to come but I'm still cleaning up some minor design errors:
My longest print until now is the rhomball form Gorge W. Hart.
It took 36h21m and is made of "glow in the dark ABS". It has a diameter of about 18 cm and weights about 350 grams.
I added some support and of course you can download it here:

There are a million pictures of the overall build and design here: G+ DeltaStar photos
and pictures of my first prints here: G+ DeltaStar prints