When discussing 3D printing, most people vaguely familiar with the subject will think of the traditional cartesian style printer. Cartesian printers can move in the three cartesian axes X, Y, and Z. This setup is simple and easy to understand. This isn’t the only format of 3D printers, though. One of the other main formats is known as a delta 3D printer.
Delta 3D printers use the same parts and filaments; still, stepper motors, extruders, and print heads. The layout, though, is markedly different. With cartesian printers, each motor controls movement in one cartesian plane. Conversely, in a delta printer, each stepper motor adjusts an arm up and down a process that allows full positioning of the print head.
In many cartesian printers, the print bed moves forwards and backward, although some move up and down. In a delta printer, the print bed is fixed, all movement is controlled by the three vertical arms.
The use of three vertical arms forces a change to the shape of the build volume. Rather than being a cube or cuboid in shape, the build volume is cylindrical, and the build plate is circular. Generally, the diameter of the print bed is quite narrow, but printers also tend to be quite tall. Therefore, delta printers are great if you want to primarily produce tall, narrow prints.
Lightweight and High-Speed
Delta-style printers are designed to print at high speeds. With the triple vertical arm structure, the stepper motors are placed on the superstructure. This minimizes the weight of the movement system and means that three motors power the movement of the print head rather than the two on cartesian printers. Additionally, a Bowden-style extruder is generally used. This minimizes the weight of the print head, allowing it to move faster with fewer momentum-related artifact issues.
While the popularity of Delta-style printers is growing, there are many more support resources for cartesian printers. This may make troubleshooting issues more difficult, making them less ideal for 3D printing newcomers.
Generally, delta-style printers can create similarly detailed prints to cartesian printers at a much higher speed. If you get one, however, you’ll have to deal with the reduced support community and with the narrow build volumes. While speed may be a big deal to many people, the narrow build volume will also present many makers with issues.
Have you got a delta style 3D printer? What do you think of it, and what sort of prints do you make with it? Let us know down below.