World Maker Faire 2013: The Sub-$500 Deltaprintr

There are a few delta bot 3D printers out there such as the Rostock which, while being a very nice printer, is still a little expensive. When [Shai] from SUNY wanted to use a 3D printer for his artistic and academic pursuits, he decided to build his own printer. Thus the Deltaprintr was born.

Instead of printed parts, the Deltaprintr uses laser cut and machined parts for just about all of its bill of materials. The three motors mounted in the base are connected to the delta arms with Spectra fishing line, thus getting rid of the ludicrous cost of belts of the requisite length.

Everything is Open Source, and the guys behind the project should be putting their printr up on Kickstarter sometime next month. Word is the entire thing should be sub-$500, and a little bit of guessing tells me that doesn’t mean $499.

30 thoughts on “World Maker Faire 2013: The Sub-$500 Deltaprintr

  1. fishing line seems a bit too thin and easy to fail.

    they could just use the wire cable like what is used to drive the optics in copiers.

    the mirrors, light and lens assembly and even now adays i think they still use wire drive.

    or if the unit is small enough they could use bike brake or shifter cable too

        1. Yield strength for Spectra/UHMWPE/Dyneema is comparable to high grade steel, or much higher than common steel.

          I don’t know for tensile strength, but I guess it should score better there too.

      1. It’s stretch that would be a problem here. A spectra line would have to be much thicker than a high strength steel cable to have the same load capacity, and it’d still stretch more.

    1. Brake cable isn’t as flexible as spectra line. Now the cables you’re talking about in a printer are much thinner, and flexible, but you can’t run down to [box hardware store] and get replacement cable. You can get spectra fishing line at any Wal-Mart, and 90% of the US population lives within 20 miles of a Wal-Mart.

    2. Fishing line actually comes in a pretty big variety of thicknesses and strengths. I don’t know, maybe people who live on the coast where there is ocean fishing are used to seeing 65lb line? Here in the midwest where there are mostly small inland lakes I am much more used to seeing weights like 8 and 10lb. Maybe the fishing line you are thinking of isn’t really the same as what they were using.

      Afterall, the thing is obviously printing. If we are to believe that the objects in front of the printer in the video were printed on it then I would even say it prints quite well! It’s hard to argue with that!

    3. Stainless Steel Aircraft Cable 7×7

      Dia: 0.04675 (3/64″)
      Breaking Strength: 274 lbs
      Stretch At 50% Breaking Strength: 1%
      Weight per foot : 0.0042 lbs
      Min Sheave Diameter: 1.87″

      Cortland Spectra Braid 200#

      Dia: 0.030
      Breaking Strength: 300 lbs
      Stretch At 50% Breaking Strength: 0.95%
      Weight per foot : 0.0004 lbs
      Min Sheave Diameter: 0.60″

      Personally I think the use of Spectra line as a replacement for belts or steel cable is a great hack in and of itself. Spectra braid is also available in small diameters as kite string and bow string. Not a 3d printer guy so can’t speak to the rest of the build, but after a number of years of using “high tech” fibers onboard sailing vessels I can attest to the advantages of Spectra/Dyneema (HMPE) lines over wire rope, Lighter weight, less abrasive, smaller usable sheave diameters and equal or less stretch. HMPE products are susceptible to “creep” (non-recoverable stretch) but only when subjected to continuous loads in excess of 50% of breaking strength, Not likely in this application.

      (Just replaced my wire/rope combination halyards with all Spectra line yesterday)

    1. Also the John is really dropping the ball on getting production rapped up. He’s been claiming for months that he’s going to ship 500 boxes a day once one company finally gives him the correct parts but the story is really weak and is getting old fast. $200 is a makibox LT which is pla only and has no heated bed.

  2. What going on with the eyes of that HAD-Shirt-Guy? He could give his conversational partner a better time if his view would alternate between the guy he is talking to and the objekt he is talking about :D

  3. y’all say “Everything is Open Source”. Where’s the files, please?

    It is not enough to say it is. Open Source means actually having the “source”, well, “open”. Yes, there is no ugly (c) in the website, but no CC either…

    1. To my query, I got a friendly but unsigned email response from info@delta… indicating “it will be open source after we fulfill all the kickstarter orders”. Brian, would you mind too much editing, from “Everything is Open Source” to something that is reality?

      1. Given this is a matter of verb tenses, I’m inclined to agree with you.

        However, very, very few 3D printers on Kickstarter claim to be open source, open hardware, or are released under any open license. Even claiming they’re going to be releasing the sources after the Kickstarter is pretty amazing. Bringing a product to market and delivering on your promises is hard, anyway. I don’t blame these guys from keeping the sources under wraps until they’re done and the machines are out in the wild.

        Given that, I’ll just let this reflect a possible future reality instead of the current one.

        1. Brian, this is a matter of fact, not just a grammar sophistication. Without going all metaphysical on you, some of us follow (and to some healthy extent, trust) Hackaday or other blogs because it strives (used to strive?) to be factual, fixing whatever they published that turned out to be vaporware or a wish instead of a fact.

          This is a minor issue, below the fold, in a now old article, but “being inclined to agree” is not the same as “oops, sorry, thanks, I fixed it”. You may save the ooops, sorry, thanks, but fix, IMHO, is due.

          Evidence indicates Kickstarter is already a long shot for many initiatives, more so in an ever more glutted 3D printer market, worse if it is accurate from the comments of people better informed than I that the price point is not that interesting no more.

          Evidence also indicates that between promising to release something as open source and actually doing so, there is a chasm. Saying that something will be open source, eventually, when they have made enough money is, with all due respect and IMHO, cute but not quite amazing, though I will leave this later qualification point to individual free speech. Boy, I’ve said so myself without following up at least twice…! :-p (hmm, maybe /that/ makes me amazing…)

          Brian, you’re doing a great job, and the very fact that we are allowed to nitpick /is/ amazing. Now, you following up and fixing things, even honest mistakes, is not just amazing, it is awesome grade A ultra great, OK?

  4. Absolutely nothing groundbreaking here. I’m getting tired of seeing “new” 3D printers when the only thing new is the name and the guy trying to sell it. Say it with me “INNOVATE!”. That’s the purpose of open source. NOT so you can run it with fishing line instead of a belt and put it in a new box. AAARRRRGGGHHHH!

    1. I agree for the most part, but changing little things like this is still innovation. Just because it’s only one change doesn’t mean it’s not worth mentioning. Belts are crazy expensive, and so if you can reduce cost there, then I’m happy to read about it.

    2. it’s not open source. If it were, even were they to use an old design that so far is closed source would be something to celebrate, as is, aaaarrrgh times 2 (though talk like a pirate day is already over, yes?)

  5. I spoke with these guys at maker faire and looked at the prints. The print quality is very good, I would say on par with the Replicator 2 and so much better than the other sub $500 printers like the Solidoodle. I was planning on buying the solidoodle before I saw these.

  6. As a tip for the interviewing, Brian, when somebody is talking to you, look at them for us, the viewers. You are our proxy. It comes across as a lot less awkward looking :-)

    That said, cool device. It seems like you could really ramp up (or down) the print resolution by respectively decreasing (or increasing) the platform size. At lease the intra-layer resolution.

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