SCARA arm finally prints plastic parts


Here’s a neat alternative to the usual gantry setup you see on 3D printers. [Quentin] designed and build a SCARA arm 3D printer that just saw its first print.

We caught wind of [Quentin]‘s SCARA arm a few weeks ago when it was still just a few plastic parts and a glimmer of ambition in its creator’s eye. Most of the parts are 3D printed, including the blue arms for the x and y axes that are driven by stepper motors. The z axis is controlled by two lead screws, and judging by the height of [Quentin]‘s machine, he has a pretty big printable volume – at least as large as some of the delta bot 3D printers we’ve seen.

So far [Quentin] has printed a handful of calibration cubes and a wheel with a fairly impressive print resolution. You can check out a video of the SCARA arm printer after the break.


  1. json says:

    When the camera moved to under the table, I was blown away, this build is awesome!

  2. MrX says:

    This machine is pretty silent, can you guys tell me how other printers compare?

  3. Zee says:

    Great work! All the naysayers should apologize now.

  4. DougR says:

    Nice job with an impressive build.

    It is a great idea, but your reproducability must go down the further the print head is from the supporting shaft. If the supprting arms are printed from ABS there must be a fair amount of flex. Does the print head dip as it is exended further from the support pilar? How is the stability of the arm at full extension?

    I am honestly not trying to be critical. I just want to understand the tradeoffs with this aproach.

  5. toolguy says:

    Great work. But is it really a SCARA arm if the Z axis isn’t built into the arm? Technically SCARAs are 3 DOF and this arm is just 2. Either way it’s a great idea!

  6. I want my toy back says:

    I fail to see the design improvement over traditional rep-rap devices.
    I doubt it that this shape would allow for more detail
    And overall their detail wouldnt be equal in all direction
    So one might wonder what is the improvement here (if there is any)

  7. Jeff Moe says:

    This is so rad. You could have a few of them all working on different sides of the same piece at the same time–many hands make light work. Or it could “easily” do multiple different filaments. Well done. :)

  8. Rey Jean-Philippe says:

    Congrats! This methods allows big 3d models! I like the “scara” idea…

  9. Open_With_Caution!! says:

    The mechanical complexity of this is many magnitudes lower than a traditional liner axis printer. this would be a great simper rep strap for new comers to 3D printing like me this. This seams a lot simpler for me to build in wood or steal.

    Also this could print over a huge round area not just a small square. replacing the square bed with a circular z bead could allow the manufacture of round objects.

    • Chuck says:

      Definitely a nice design, I can see applications for odd-sized or -shaped parts. If you had a bed that surrounded the Z-axis you could print fairly large objects (with a donut hole).

      It does look like it might be an easier build for first timers. For a given price point, however, I think the design is not as robust as a conventional 3d printer. In a conventional design with parallel rods and linear bearings, slop is limited to one degree of freedom. You can generally dial in the accuracy of each axis independently.

      With this design, any slop in the bearings/bushings of the joints necessarily affects all three axes.The moment of the arm assembly also will affect 3-axis positional accuracy as the distance from the Z axis increases or the Z height increases, limiting practical part size. Finally, the X,Y resolution would also decrease as the distance from the Z axis increases (how many arcseconds of slop is in the rotation of the arm about the Z axis?). For small parts, this all may be negligible, but the design of this really screams for making large parts…

  10. Mike says:

    Scara ARM combined with 3Doodler could make an inexpensive easy to make rep rap

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