I’m always impressed by Makers who, with no experience putting together a 3D printer kit or helping a friend build theirs, just design and build their own 3D printer. When Richard Tegelbeckers, a mechanical designer by trade, failed to win a 3D printer through various contests on Instructables, he decided to simply make his own. I suppose that Richard wasn’t completely inexperienced, having worked with and designed CNC machines in the past, but I believe it takes a certain type of character to create something like the DeltaTrix 3D printer from, seemingly, out of the blue.
Richard first outlined his machine in AutoCAD, wanting to ensure the quality of his design schematically to prevent errors when it actually came time to building his delta 3D printer. He then CNC’d the panels of his printer, fixing any issues he came across in the measuring and cutting of his plywood frame. For the plastic parts of the DeltaTrix, Richard found himself in a catch 22, needing a 3D printer to build his 3D printer, so he turned to a friend with an Ultimaker. He bought the remainder of the parts (rods, bearings, drive gear, etc.) from eBay and a number of other sources. Finally, he put a good deal of effort in assembling and programming the thing. You’ll see a few pics of his build process below:[nggallery id=125]
In the end, Richard had developed a 3D printer that he was very happy with. Happy enough to consider launching a Kickstarter “VERY soon”, to sell the machine in kits and possibly in fully-assembled form. The DeltaTrix creator explained that the machine’s name comes from the fact that it is a delta-style printer that has room for a few tricks up its sleeve:
- All uprights are identical. An extruder and filament coil can be fitted to all three of them. Although the RAMPS electronics can only provide for two print heads as a default (by sacrificing the cooling fan…), three extruders can be fitted from a mechanical point of view.
- On top of the printer there is some free space for something… I already tried fitting a turn table in conjunction with an Xbox Kinect sensor, acting as a 3D scanner. So far I am not entirely happy with the end result as I think the Kinect is more suitable for people-sized objects. Larger objects could be done with a normal 2D (phone) camera in conjunction with 123D Catch and smaller objects should be good with a laser/camera based approach. TBC…
- All of the sides have a defined opening, ready to accept a door panel for closing them off. As the print head can go beyond the door opening, any potential door panel would need to accommodate this.
You can watch the DeltaTrix 3D printer in a unique video below, in which the deltabot creates a print in the open air of a local park: