Introduction: Building a Cheap Delta Printer
The Kossel XL Delta printer is a great piece of hardware to have you can either buy it in a kit I recommend builda3dprinter.eu it takes about a month for a full kit to arrive and they are roughly £560 ($650 US) ($860AUD) or the individual parts can be bought for significantly less (About $550AU or $420USD) but you run the risk of buying fakes or DOA electronics because most parts are sourced from china.
For the price this printer has a Very big Build Volume 25cm in Diameter and 27cm in height or 20cm x 20cm x 27cm for square objects.
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Step 1: Parts & Tools
Here is a list of all the parts i used when building the Delta Printer they amount to just under $550 AU or $420 USD
(Pro tip if you idle on the product page on Hobbykings website a window will pop up offering the product for a discount click the link and add it to your cart to save a few dollars.)
Ramps 1.4 Kit from Hobbyking $43.39
Stepper Motors x3 $45
Geared Stepper Motor $49
End Stops from Hobbyking $2.89
Hot End ( This is a direct clone of the e3d-V6 hot end)
I Found that the best place to buy the Hardware is from builda3dprinter.eu here are the links
Connectors, Belts, Pulleys, Bearings and Carbon Rods
• 2.5mm, 2mm, 1mm Allen Key's ( Pro Tip: Get ball end Allen keys they otherwise you will regret it, I stopped building to go buy some because some screws are very hard to tighten.)
• Cable Sleeving
• Heat shrink 3mm, 6mm, and 10mm
• Flush trim cutters
• Heat Gun or Lighters
Step 2: Prepare the Carbon Rods
The first thing to do is prepare the Diagonal Rods
• Carbon Fiber rods x6
• Stainless Steel Ball x12
• Nylon Ball housing x12
• M4x20mm Grub screw x12
• Two Part Epoxy Resin
The reason for preparing the Diagonal Rods first is they need at least 24 hours to cure and set the glue it is important to not disturb them for 2 hours until the glue has reached handling strength.
To make them,
With the help of pliers place a Stainless steel ball above the nylon housing then press the ball in. I had to fiddle with it for a while until i found a effective way of doing it.
Take a M4x20mm Grub Screw and screw it in to the Nylon Housing about halfway (10mm).
Mix your 2 part epoxy resin with a toothpick or something small and disposable.
(PRO TIP: I used a 5 minute set one which dries too quickly a 10 minute set would be a lot easier to work with.)
Using a toothpick coat the inside of the Carbon Rod. Then take a completed rod end and dip the tip in the resin and push it into the Rod.
(PRO TIP: Use a piece of paper to wipe off excess resin it is impossible to get off when set and dont use a cloth or anything fibrous.)
With the Rod having both Rod Ends attached place it on a flat surface with the stainless steel balls flat side down. Apply pressure from above and rotate both the nylon housings until you can't any more make sure the Balls stay fat on the surface this should give the housings the same center line for maximum free movement.
Leave the Rods to rest for at least 24 Hours Don't disturb them.
Following these steps will give you 6 perfectly identical Diagonal Rods
Step 3: Vertical Carriages
The Vertical Carriages connect the Carbon Rods to the Timing belts and allow the smooth movement of the effector.
• Roller Blocks
• Carbon Rod Mounts
• V Rollers
• M3x20mm Screw
• M3x25mm Screw
• Nylock Nut
• M3 Nut
Take the Roller Blocks identified by their U shape and push three M3x25mm Screws Through the Holes shown in Picture 1 and secure them with a M3 Nut
Take the Carbon Rod Mount and two M3x25mm Screws and a M3x20mm Screw and Screw the 25mm bolts into the top and the 20mm blot into the bottom right corner as shown in Picture 3.
Place the Carbon Rod Mount on the Roller Blocks and screw them in.
To assemble the Rollers push a Ball Bearing into each side for the Delrin Rollers place a washer on the 25mm Screw then the Roller another Washer then a Nylock Nut. Repeat for each of the 9 Rollers
This will give you three Vertical Carriages ready to mount on the Frame Rails
Step 4: Bottom Frame & Top Frame
With everything on this style of printer consistency is key to get accurate prints. The top and bottom frames need to be extremely identical.
1. Top Vertices x3
2. Bottom Vertices x3
3. M3x8mm Screw x54
4. M3 Nut x42
5. 360mm OpenBeam x9
6. 750MM OpenBeam x3
7. Stepper Motor x3
8. Extruder Mount x1
9. End Stop Mount x1
Take the Bottom Vertices (Thicker Ones) and Push Four M3x8mm Screws through the holes do this for all 3 bottom pieces.
Place the GT2 Pulley on the Stepper Motor and Screw in the tiny Grub Screws that came with the Pulleys dont tighten them dont yet.
Put the Stepper Motor on its back and place the bottom vertices on them aligning the screws with the holes in the Stepper Motors face and tighten them down securing the Motor.
(PRO TIP: Make sure that the wires coming out of the Motor are facing either left or right not up or down because they will interfere with other components.)
Take the Top Vertices and Push M3x8mm Screws through the sides (From the inside with the nut facing outwards) then secure them with a nut loosely screwed on. Next slide on a short piece of open beam to each of the Top vertices and tighten them down then align them in a triangle and at the same time push them towards each other a little at a time until they meet. Then tighten them all down
(PRO TIP: Make Sure the faces on the vertices are facing the same way there is a shiny side and a matte side make sure the shiny side is down.)
Next Take a M3x30mm Screw and screw it into the the top vertices and place two flanged bearings on the Screw with the flange facing outwards. Once the screw is flush with the bearings use pliers to hold a nylock nut to the bearing then continue to screw it in.
For the bottom vertices follow the instructions in "Step :4" the only difference is that each vertice connects to two open beams on one side.
With the Top and Bottom frames assembled take one of the three long open beam pieces and push it into one of the bottom vertices make sure it is flush with the bottom do this with all three
(PRO TIP: Place the bottom frame on a hard flat surface the gently push it in if it does not advance loosen the screws on the outside and try again.)
( SUPER PRO TIP: Slide the small block for the extruder mount on the outside of the frame. Then slide the complete vertical carriages onto the three legs and then the end stop mounts after them then the top frame can be mounted otherwise you will have to take it of multiple times)
That's it your done with the frame this is undoubtedly the hardest part of building the the printer.
Step 5: Hot End
The hot end is where the magic happens this is where the filament goes from a solid into a liquid in a few short millimeters and it is very easy to break so be careful this is a very strait forward Assembly.
• Heat sink
• Heat Brake
• Heater Block
• Bowden Connector
• Small Screw and Washer
• Ferrule Crimp Tube
• 100K Thermistor
• Twin-wire Leads
• Heater Cartridge
• Heat Compound
• Larger Screw
Screw the Heat brake into the heat sink hand tighten by hand only.
Screw the nozzle into the Heater Block on the side with the holes closest to the bottom.
(PRO TIP: Screw the nozzle in all the way and out one quarter of a turn for now.)
Now Screw the Heat sink and Heat brake into the Heater Block until it reaches the back of the nozzle.
DO NOT TIGHTEN THE HEAT BRAKE ANY MORE!!
Take Pliers or something to hold on to the heater block and tighten the nozzle against the heat brake
because the heat brake can bend very easily.
Put a small amount of heat compound into the tiniest hole in the Heater Block. Next take the BLUE fiberglass heat resistant sleeving and cut it in half and very careful slide the tubes onto the leads of the Thermistor Do not pull the leads apart this can damage the glass bulb at the end and the Thermistor itself. and finally push the Thermistor into the hole with heat compound and carefully secure the leads with a screw and washer
(PRO TIP: Not all washers are created equally one side is smooth and the other has sharp edges make sure the Smooth side is facing downwards onto the leads the sharp edges can puncture the sleeving and short the thermistor giving inaccurate readings)
Slide the ferrule crimp tubes over the blue sleeving one per sleeve along with a short piece of heat shrink. Splice the wires together and the slide the Crimp Tube back over the splice and crimp it with pliers and heat shrink them so they don't short out.
Screw the fan onto the the blue injection molded shroud and clip it on to the the heat sink. Tuck the thermistor wires underneath the fan to all of the wires are grouped together. Finally push the black Bowden tube Connector into the back of the heat sink.
Thats all the Hot End is done.
Step 6: Spider
This is the spider it houses the Hot End and keeps it level its very easy assemble and mount.
• Carbon Rods x6
• M3x20mm Screw x6
• M3x25mm Screw x6
• M3x16mm Screw x3
• M3 Nut x12
• Hot End
• Vertical Carriage
With the effector shiny side up take a Carbon Rod and a M3x25mm along with a M3 Nut and Screw. Push the screw through the Stainless Steel ball and into the effector then insert the M3 nut into the cavity behind the plastic and continue to screw in the screw make sure it is very tight. Do this for the rest of the Rods.
Clip the Printed "C" around the top of the Hot End and position it under the effector and screw it in place with M3x16mm Screws.
Position the Spider as shown in Picture 2 with the Carbon Rods grouped towards each Vertical Carriage.
Using a M3x20mm Bolt Pushed through the Rod End Screw it into the Mount with a M3 Nut Placed in the cavity behind the screw and firmly tighten it. Do this for all 6 Carbon Rods.
(PRO TIP: Now is a good time to Mount the End Stop Mounts and Top Frame)
Take the GT2 Timing Belt and loop it through the Vertical Mount as shown in Picture 3 and secure it with two Zip Ties, then Take it up and around over the Flanged Bearings, back down in between the Carbon Rods, around the GT2 Pulley and tension it before looping it back through the Vertical Carriage. Then cut it off and do the other two towers.
Step 7: Extruder
The Extruder is vital for the operation of the printer think of it as the heart of the printer responsible for pumping filament to the Hot End. If you source the parts from eBay or somewhere else try to get a 4.5:1 geared Stepper this is very important a 5:1 Ratio may also be used but software changes need to be made for it to work.
• 625zz Bearing
• M5 Screw
• M5 Nut
• Plastic Housing
• Spur Gear
• M3 Nut
The first step is to take the Geared Stepper it should have a flat spot on the shaft, Position the Spur Gear on the shaft and screw in a Grub Screw over the Flat Spot Make sure it is tight but dont strip it.
Take the extruder housing and place the bearing in as shown there is support material that has to be removed for a clean fit then take the M5 Screw and push it through and secure it with the nut.
Take 3 M3x25mm mm screws and screw them through the housing until the start to emerge on the other side and align them with the holes in the Stepper Housing and securely tighten the housing to the Motor
Take the pneumatic fitting and screw it into the housing. Then using a M3x20mm Screw and M3 Nut fasten them into the bottom of the housing this is to adjust tension on the filament.
Push the Bowden tube into the Hot End until it reaches the Bottom then Push the other end into the pneumatic fitting. Move the Hot End to what will be the Front of you printer and position the Extruder on the Vertical rail so that the tube can reach the far end of the plate without being pulled on.
Once you have found a Position for your Extruder connect two Zip Ties together and fasten them around the Extruder as shown in the Last Picture.
Step 8: Electronics
This step will show you how to piece the boards together is pretty straight forward but a gentle touch ids required.
• Arduino MEGA 2560 x1
• R.A.M.P.S 1.4 x1
• A4988 Stepper Driver x5
• RepRap Discount LCD + Adapter x1
• Board Jumpers
In Between the rows of jumpers there is a array of pins 2 rows of 3 pins these need to be jumped to enable Micro-stepping this enables far greater resolution to be achieved. Picture 3 shows unjumped pins Picture 4 shows the jumped pins.
Unbox the Stepper Drivers and their heat sinks then peal the adhesive backing on the heat sink and push the heat sink onto the black chip on the stepper driver. Now take a completed Driver and turn it so the Pot potentiometer is facing away from the yellow fuses and push the driver pins into the last female connectors on the board as shown in Picture 7 the next Driver will go exactly next to the firs driver leaving no space in between.
Push the LCD adapter onto the end of the RAMPS board. Then push the RAMPS Board onto the Arduino MEGA Picture 10 shows the completed electronics.
To Attach the LCD ribbon cables just push them into the sockets XP1 goes to the right connector on the RAMPS board when the USB port is facing away from you and XP2 on the left.
Step 9: Software
This is the part that usually turns people off from building a DIY 3D Printer the Electronics and Software I won't lie I was very unsure about doing this but I bought the parts anyway and continued and every answer you can possibly need is a forum post away i'll try to cover some common issues you may experience.
To install the firmware on the Arduino you need a few tools
First go to https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software Go to the download page and download the software for your Operating System. Open and install it (Picture 1-4)
Now make your way to http://builda3dprinter.eu/information/. Scroll Down to Downloads and Click Firmware > Kossel XL > Marlin > Download > Download as .Zip (Pictures 4-8)
Once You have those two downloaded you can proceed.
Open your Arduino software and Click File in the top left corner then OPEN and you get the window in Picture 10. Select Your Downloads Folder then Navigate to Kossel XL Open it and Look for Marlin it should have the Arduino icon next to it. Open it.
Select tools from the menu and go down to Board From the drop down list Select Arduino MEGA or 2560. Under the same Tools Tab go down to Port and select What pops up usually COM3 or COM5. If you dont see the option Plug in the Arduino.
Plug the USB into the Arduino and a USB 2 or 3 Port on your PC the RAMPS LCD should light up blue
Now press Upload and a orange light should start to flash on the Arduino. On the Arduino software a message will pop up saying Done Uploading. Now the Display should flash and two rows of white blocks will appear this is the Arduino starting up soon it will display the printer info screen.
(PRO TIP: If you do not see the rows of white blocks there is a pot potentiometer at the back turn it slowly in each direction a half turn should be enough until you see something. If that does not work Swap the ribbon cables on the back)
Step 10: Build Plate Tabs
These are the mounts that will hold the build plate in position.
Build Plate Tabs
Push the M3x8mm Screw though the Tab and fasten a M3 nut on the other end do this for all three
Near each of the vertical rails there should be a hex hole in the Bottom Vertice clip the nut in there and slide it through the OpenBeam
Step 11: Mounting the End Stops
These are the End Stops they Provide a way for the Firmware to know where the Hot End is in relation to the Build Plate.
• Pre-Wired End Stops
• M2x10mm Screw
• M3 Screw Doesn't Matter what length
Screw the M2x10mm bolt into the end stop making sure that the Red switch is on the right side so it get triggered. Flatten the middle tab on the end stop so you can adjust the end stop mount later on
Now Screw the end stop on to the end stop mount.
Now this step will save you about 45 minutes when is comes calibrating the printer. Take any M3 screw and place it between the end stop mount and the Top Vertice then tighten down the end stop mount. Given that the Vertical Rails are flush with the bottom and the top vertices are spaced 10mm under the the top of the OpenBeam.
This will get you very close to final Calibration I will link a video in a later step on how to calibrate the printer effectively.
Step 12: Wiring
Wiring the printer so it can function correctly is very important but can consume quite a bit of time. Especially if you hate stray and exposed wires like me I found some PPS Cable Sleeving from my PC build and used that to sleeve all of my wires.
Firstly There is a wiring diagram i can show you in Pic 1 the only difference is the fan is wired to the D8 terminal instead of directly to the board.
Picture 2 I Modified to show the location of each pin.
The Stepper Motors need a pin crimped onto them most motors come with pre striped wires making it easier once they are crimped push them into the Quad DuPont Connector from the left start with BLACK at the top then working down GREEN, RED, and BLUE
Take the green power Connector for the RAMPS board and using a 12v PSU (5A without heated bed, 15A With heated Bed) I used a salvaged atx psu cut off yellow (12v) and Black (ground) cables and fasten them to the connector remember to hard wire the Hot End fan to 12v so no damage is caused if the Hot End heats up unexpectedly.
(PRO TIP: If you use a ATX psu in the large bundle there is a green with this is a power on cable connect it to a ground or the power supply will not turn on)
This is it the big moment if you did everything correctly the printer will power up. If not Check the wiring and try again.
Peel the adhesive backing on the Bed heater if you bought one and apply it to the Glass Plate. Pop the glass plate into the mounts and center it.
And your Done.
Step 13: Results
Now What sort of Quality can you expect from a Fully DIY Delta Printer, Very Very good Quality the only issue i ran into was the slicer i was using (Repitier HOST) i switched to Simplify 3D and TRUST me its worth every penny. The correct slicer affects the quality dramatically. Here are some pics of Prints i have done.
Here is a video of my First print after Calibration
To everyone that stuck to the end of this instructable thanks for reading ill try to answer any questions that come up and will be updating the instructions when i complete upgrades. Have fun building yours.