Sexiest Tiny Metal Core-XY 3D Printer

That’s a lot of qualifications, but we’re pretty sure that you can’t accuse us of hyperbole in the title: this is one of the tightest little 3D printer builds we’ve ever seen. Add in the slightly esoteric CoreXY kinematics and the thick aluminum frame, and it’s a speed demon in addition to being a looker.

[René] had built a few 3D printers before, so he had a good feel for the parameters and design tradeoffs before he embarked on the DICE project. Making a small print volume, for instance, means that the frame can be smaller and thus exponentially more rigid. This means that it’s capable of very fast movements — 833 mm/s is no joke! It also looks to make very precise little prints. What could make it even more awesome? Water-cooled stepper motors, magnetic interchangeable printheads, and in-built lighting.

The build looks amazing, and there is video documentation of the whole thing on [René]’s site, including a full bill of materials and designs. It’s certainly not the cheapest 3D printer we’ve ever seen, and the tiny build platform makes it a bad choice for a general-purpose machine, but if you need a second printer and you want one with style, the DICE looks hard to beat.

Thanks [Laimonus Mockus] for the tip!

36 thoughts on “Sexiest Tiny Metal Core-XY 3D Printer

  1. well over engineered overkill! given that most “normal” (say an i3) printers can exceed the print speed of the more useful materials like PETg then the extra speed is needless

    That said, I do wonder about the utility of a lead screw – I’m not in a hurry to try that experiment as my Z axis seems fine…

    1. If I recall, even the small HIWIN bearings are good for 90 kg or more of axial strain.
      (The Maker-bot inspired bad design to perpetuate for 5+ years)

      About the prusa i3 mk1 Z-axis phenomenon…
      we built several all -metal kits based on custom Marlin+RAMPS drivers with dual z-axis pololu drivers….
      The china cloner kits will almost assuredly give the wrong assembly instructions, and dangerous software that can cause fires.
      Also, most people don´t grease the lead screws, oil the bearings, or bother to use thread-lock during assembly…

      Most CNC equipment is supposed to use ¨Double Diaphragm Motor Shaft Couplers¨ even with steppers, as they maintain position during axial misalignment. Spend the extra $5 to do it right… and get anti-backlash follower nuts if you plan to do super fine work…

      1. Well, double disk couplers, or any flexible coupler for that matter , is designed to be used ONLY on a fully captive screws. Rigid couplers are best on non-captive screws. They do not maintain radial position during axial alignment. The axis of the screw will orbit the shaft axis unless the screw is fully captive. Using flexible couplers on non captive screws IS NOT the answer and can make the problem worse. Better screws, nuts, and alignment is.

    2. what do you mean by print speed of the material?

      as far as i know those are dependant on your hotend and your filament driver and not the material itself, but i may have missed something.

      1. Hotend max power > plastic flow * temperature difference * specific heat capacity (+margin).

        So the heat capacity and best temperature are material properties that matter for print speed.

        Also, I switched from mostly PLA to mostly PETG. The PETG needs a slower print speed to print nicely than the PLA. Not entirely sure why. As long as I’m geting reasonable prints, I’m happy. :-)

    3. With this, you have the speed to go thinner layers without hurting build time. The designer is also using very fine nozzles, so the melt speed isn’t always the limiting factor.

    1. A true British engineer would stiffen like a mouse over the health and safety, sue each other, cause a riot and get kicked out of the 3D printer workshop (PRINTEXIT). #GeniusManSays-YerhEurnghland!!!

  2. meh. to me it seems built to be flashier rather than useful. tiny bed held with clips. fancy watercooling and then 2 part cooling fans with small ducts pointed way too up etc etc.

    personally i don’t like aestethics over functionality. let’s leave that to apple

    1. That’s fine to prefer function over aesthetic if you are a consumer.

      However, if you are trying to make money selling things, Apple wouldn’t be a bad place to take some tips from.

  3. I’ve never seen anyone water cooler stepper motor before… Makes me wonder why this is necessary, are they wildly exciting some parameters the motor is current? . And that’s with 20 years of embedded Motion control design under my belt i’m not throwing rocks – – I’m here to learn — so please don’t take that as a negative comment

    1. Probably just for appearance. You could maybe justify it in a heated chamber, but even then it makes more sense to enclose the extruder/stepper assembly in a box and blow ambient air into the box.

      Stratasys does this on the fortus printers.

    2. I watch the designer on Google+. I think what was meant is the stepper drivers are water cooled. For this design, it’s unnecessary to cool the motors.

      There are stepper cooling kits, but they amount to putting a water block on the back of a motor. See the Aon 3D printer. That has always seemed half-assed. Dye design offers motor cooling blocks too.

    3. This probably means they can run the stepper motors with more current avoiding having to have the end user futz with the trim pots to get (and keep) the current at the optimal level. I imagine this would reduce support calls.

  4. This strikes me as being the product of someone who loves to build artful tools rather than make them infinitely optimal. This is a good thing even if everyone else likes to kvetch about how impractical/unnecessary some of the features are.

    After all, isn’t “hacking” generally based on personally-pleasing tomfoolery of some sort or other whether completely practical or not?

    TL;DR: It works well and is pretty which isn’t too bad at all.

    1. I’m sure they thought they were done with it, and gave a big sigh of relief, and were halfway through a tall can of beer, and then… “Oh no! We forgot to secure the bed!”

  5. It lost me at “water cooled”. As effective as it may be, I can’t say I trust moving joints to remain water-tight for very long. A small leak could destroy the machine and anything else nearby. My cooling fans are loud certainly, but I’d rather put up with them than deal with a liquid fallout :/

  6. Could anyone recommend a 3D printer that is more of a tool than a project?

    More plug it in and print.

    Less build, calibrate, troubleshoot, maintain, build, error, etc.

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