I was doing an “Intro to 3D printing” event at the Chicago HackerSpace, Pumping Station One. We were showing about 5 or 6 flavors of printers. Someone commented how complicated the delta printer looked. I tried to explain that they were actually simpler in my opinion. Rather than having 3 different designs for each axis, a delta uses three common linear actuators. The delta was a Rostock Max and it does look a little complicated. I decided to try to design the simplest delta I could.
- Make it smaller than a Tantalus or Up Mini
- Use as few parts as possible (part count).
- Use as few unique parts as possible (part type count).
- Use MakerSlide because….duh.
- Try to use parts I had laying around. I only had about 3 days to before the first build day.
- Try using the Spectra Filament instead of timing belts.
- Clean look and simple wiring.
- Limit fabrication to 3D printed parts, laser cut parts and simple tools.
- Try to build it in 1 night at the weekly PS:One meetup and involve as many people as possible.
Somewhere early in the design I got the idea to invert the end effector. The bed would move and the extruder would be stationary. This vastly simplified the design and I could use an extruder I already had. If I limited it to PLA, the bed would not have to be heated and no wires would have to go to the end effector. With the extruder on top, all electronic items except limit switches could be placed on a single laser cut plate.
The design was bounced off Jeremy BP of tinyworkshop.org a few times in an email thread titled “Latest Crazy Idea”. This is the rendering of the design going into the build. There is a pop can rendered on top for size reference….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
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