Any suggestions for a cheap, upgradable, delta DIY kit?



  • I've found it difficult to find a forum or group that isn't specific to a particular printer or brand of printer, so thought I'd post this question here on a forum frequented by people who, for the most part, enjoy ripping the hardware apart to change things around.

    I'm starting to get bored with my Duet converted flashforge creator pro. It works fine, but every time I start thinking about "the next upgrade", I decide that it's probably not worth it. So, I decided that I'd like to build something new (for me.) The delta printers look interesting (and it'll be a blast watching my cats watch the printer.)

    What I'd like to do is find a cheap delta kit that I can upgrade over time. Obviously, it'd end up with a duet3d board inside, but I'd also like to end up with one of the e3d hot ends that allows dual extruders to a single nozzle. (I think it's called a cyclops?) Eventually, I'd probably end up replacing everything electronic in the printer (steppers, end stops, PSU, HBP, etc.) The only thing I foresee not upgrading would be the frame and the.. umm.. arm things that hold the hot end. (I really don't know delta printer terminology - I learn by doing and I haven't done anything yet.)

    My problem is that I have no idea where to start. I recognize that all "cheap" printers are exercises in sacrifice, but I'd like to find something that has cheaper electronics (which I plan to replace anyway) and a better starting structure. It should be able to print properly with whatever parts it comes with (so I can play with it while I wait for funds to upgrade parts.) Size-wise, I'd like something with a print diameter of at least 200mm and a height somewhere around 300mm. I'd prefer if it had a 24V PSU (even though I plan to upgrade the PSU, it'll be easier to upgrade in phases if everything starts 24v.) A HBP would be great - and a glass plate on it would be better.

    Beyond that, I don't even know what I should want.

    Two things I've seen that seem appealing, but I don't know if the "structural" parts are any good (are they worth the cost?)

    Anycubic "upgraded" linear plus delta: It's only 340 USD, has a HBP and close enough on the build dimensions (230 x 300). However, I think it's also 12V (which means changing the hotend heater, HBP, and possibly the mainboard if I haven't already changed it to a duet.)

    "HE 3D K280" - this is a massive 280mm by 600mm printer for "only" 350USD, has a HBP, 400W 24V PSU, etc. I don't know anything about it, but it appears to come with lots of "stuff" to keep me busy while I'm waiting for upgrade parts.

    Any feedback on this or suggestions would be welcome…

    Thanks
    Gary


  • administrators

    Things you will want to end up with:

    • Frame extrusions at least 2020 size for a Mini Kossel sized printer, and 2040 for anything much larger
    • Metal frame vertices
    • Linear rails for the carriages
    • Magnetic rods and joints
    • Nozzle-contact Z probing

    If you can find a kit that has the first two of these, that should be a reasonable place to start.



  • I started with the Anycubic you list. At this point, only the frame/rails and heatbed are original, and it prints very well. I am planning to replace those with the larger 2040 set sold by Ultibots w/ a 300mm bed soon. At every point, I was able to upgrade specific parts without having to make major changes, with the exception of having to get new fans when I moved to 24V. Once I have completed upgrading the delta to the point everything is replaced, I'll probably reassemble all the surplus original Anycubic parts and sell that.

    Regarding DC42's good advice, the anycubic does not have metal vertices and only has 2020 frame members, but the rails do stiffen things.

    If I had to list changes in order of "bang for the buck":
    1. Duet
    2. Zesty Nimble extruder
    3. Smart Effector+Mag Arms
    4. 24V power
    5. 0.9 degree XYZ steppers



  • @Gone2Far:

    At every point, I was able to upgrade specific parts without having to make major changes, with the exception of having to get new fans when I moved to 24V.

    You didn't have to also get a new bed heater and hot end heater when you changed to 24V? I'd be very interested to know more about your build, in what order you did things, etc. (I'm assuming you already had already put in the duet when you switched PSU's.)

    @Gone2Far:

    If I had to list changes in order of "bang for the buck":
    1. Duet
    2. Zesty Nimble extruder
    3. Smart Effector+Mag Arms
    4. 24V power
    5. 0.9 degree XYZ steppers

    Why go with the zesty extruder? From what I've read (and from what little I admittedly understand), the only benefit of the zesty nimble over a regular bowden extruder would be for having a direct extruder to use with flexible filaments. Are you still using the hotend that came with the anycubic?



  • @dc42:

    • Metal frame vertices

    Umm… so, just to demonstrate how little I know about the delta printers... Are the vertices the triangular parts on the top/bottom that hold the vertical rails in place?



  • Yes, those are the vertices.

    I started with a small delta, robbed most of the parts to make a large delta and then eventually built the small delta back up.

    If you like building things, then you could go that route. If you are just looking for a nice delta in the end, I'd suggest starting from scratch and building it the way you want it to end up from the start.



  • I recently brought a 'large delta kit' from gearbust, something called a HE3d K280. For under 300 euros (incl shipping, no tax) and 20 days waiting for a container from China I got a 115x40x20cm, 11kg box with a 280x600mm delta printer inside; some assembly required 😉

    That box had everything I needed, and almost no instructions beyond a some general views/steps and a good diagram of how the sliders assemble (the only non-obvious bit of the build as it turns out). They have videos galore on youtube too.. not a lot more helpful. The Printhead was the only pre-assembled bit, and has worked well so far, but I will get a Volcano soonish anyway. I built it around the DuetWiFi so I cant speak for the supplied controller, but everything else was present, fittings and other small bits all present and correct. All in all I was pretty happy for the money.

    The thing really lacking was adequate bed mounting instructions/components. I had to work it out for myself, but if you spend any time reading up on Deltas you get to realize this is a common problem, with many solutions and many advocates of those solutions. All alike yet subtly different 😉

    It's also just 2020 rails, which might be an issue if I'm printing lots of detail a long way off the bed, but the basic use model for this is 'art objects and big household items' and I doubt if this will be a real issue for me while printing vase mode most of the time; and I can just slow the machine down for the duration of anything else as needed. I have a small but solid cartesian printer for the really fine or high accuracy stuff.

    Edit : I wanted to make clear that this is a Kossel Delta Kit, all the items in the box are 'Chinese RepRap generic', so piecemeal upgrading is very possible.



  • @EasyTarget:

    I recently brought a 'large delta kit' from gearbust, something called a HE3d K280. For under 300 euros (incl shipping, no tax) and 20 days waiting for a container from China I got a 115x40x20cm, 11kg box with a 280x600mm delta printer inside; some assembly required 😉

    Are the corners (vertices) made of plastic or metal? Does it come with a glass plate for the bed? Can the bed actually heat up to 110C? Finally, can describe the auto leveling system that comes with the printer? I think I've seen some references that it's something that clips on/off?

    Thank you
    Gary



  • The HE3D have plastic corners. PCB bed with glass plate. Plate on my K200 was warped. With some insulation, my bed could hit 110°, but I think the new ones come with 24V as well as an MKS Base motherboard. Not sure if they are running Marlin now or not. Mine was a weird Ramps board with Repetier, but it had removable drivers. Made upgrading them a piece of cake. Auto leveling with a clip on Z probe is how mine arrived. It was junk from the start.



  • TL;DR 😉

    _Earlier and smaller Printers from HE3D came with 12v and a generic ramps board as standard, but the K280 has 24v and a MKS base, heatbed gets to 60c in 4/5 minutes or so on mine, I have no interest in ABS so the max I have used was 70c (PETG), the heating seems strong enough that I'm sure it'll hit 110 eventually..
    (I think they currently offer 24v as an 'upgrade' to the K200.)

    The corner castings, effector and the sliders arm+belt holder are injection molded plastic, the slider base plates are hefty acrylic. They all seemed like good, strong, accurate pieces, within the limitations of their materials. I took the time to run my calipers around the balljoint mounts on effector and sliders, everything was the same size. The sliders have four openmake wheels and run in the 2020 slots pretty snugly and smoothly.

    Supplied auto level system is some sort of thin-film switch glued to a disk of foam over a hexagonal hole. This slides over the nozzle so the tip of the nozzle presses the switch onto the bed, beautifully simple, it is plugged into a long wire, which presumably then plugs into the MKS base. I simply have no idea whether/how well this works since I put the DC42 IR on mine from scratch. But the principle is very sound, and the 'sense point' is the best one you can have, the nozzle itself.. so I think it can work very well, but is obviously a bit manual, and possibly not very robust for long term use.

    It came with a 3mm, 310mm dia aluminum pre-wired PCB heatbed, acceptably flat on mine, along with a 285mm glass bed (I'd doubt if it is borosilicate) and a pre-drilled 2mm fiberboard insulator plate. All solidly packaged together for transport.

    I used the bed as a template to cut a circle of cardboard from the box, cut channels for the hotbed wires in that and created a sandwich with the fibreboard at the bottom, bolted in three place to the frame, then my cardboard spacer, the actual heatbed, and finally the glass; painted black on one side. Pins hold the aluminium and fibreboard in alignment, and the whole unit is then held down by three large alligator clips gripping the glass and the frame rails underneath. End result is thin, solid, flat, and the glass comes off easily.

    • The Heatbed has a big '12V' label on it, but after a few hours muttering about how they'd sent me the wrong one I saw online that it's actually a generic high resistance unit, and it runs at 24v just fine, they just didn't print 12/24V on the HE3D branded version._


  • @number40fan:

    If you are just looking for a nice delta in the end, I'd suggest starting from scratch and building it the way you want it to end up from the start.

    Having just gone the Kit route; I have to agree with this.

    Halfway through my build I was staring at a pile of very generic bits and following generic kossel build instructions, and thinking I could have spent the money here in the EU, got slightly better components from the beginning (9mm belts, 0.9degree motors, 2040 rails, aluminium verticies and effector, carbon rods, all that stuff..) for not a lot more money, and a faster delivery.



  • Why not follow DC42's build instructions for his Delta - will be better than any kit you get and you can always customise the size along the way if you want.

    https://miscsolutions.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/time-to-rebuild-my-large-kossel/


  • administrators

    @DADIY:

    Why not follow DC42's build instructions for his Delta - will be better than any kit you get and you can always customise the size along the way if you want.

    https://miscsolutions.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/time-to-rebuild-my-large-kossel/

    Warning: it's not cheap! I was shocked to find that the total BOM cost including VAT came to over £1100, and that doesn't include screws, cables and other sundries.

    But it does perform very well.



  • @number40fan:

    If you like building things, then you could go that route. If you are just looking for a nice delta in the end, I'd suggest starting from scratch and building it the way you want it to end up from the start.

    The problem with "starting from scratch" for me is that I honestly don't know what I want or what I'd need. I've never had a delta, never printed on a delta, and if it weren't for youtube, I'd never have even seen a delta in action. For example, I've spent hours on google trying to figure out the difference between linear rails and pulleys. The only agreement I've seen is that they are different, but they both use belts, so I'm not sure why one is a pulley and one isn't. I think the difference is simply that one uses a carriage with wheels, and the other is a carriage with linear bearings. I still can't understand why I'd want one over the other.

    As well, I've often found that "kits" are usually significantly cheaper than sourcing all the parts individually. Companies that sell the "kits" purchase mass quantities of parts to specific specifications, and end up paying quite a bit less than I would trying to purchase those same parts in quantities of 1 to 3. While I know they keep much of that savings, they do pass some of it on to people like me. Ironically, if those same companies sell those specific parts individually (out of the kit) they mark them up quite a bit more.

    I think at this point, I need to decide between a "cheap" kit that I'd upgrade over time, or a better (more expensive) kit that contains most of the parts I'd want to end up with. For example, a Ultibots D300VS.

    The "advantage" (for me) of the cheap kits is that:

    1. It gives me instant gratification: I can order a $350 printer right now and have something to "play with" while I try to persuade my CFO (wife) to provide more funds.
    2. It gives me experience. Not only with building and using a delta, but with better understanding of what I should change and WHY I should change it. (Why do I want 2040 instead of 2020? Until I have something that prints, I can't really understand how much stability is needed.)
    3. It'll be somewhat entertaining to upgrade things over time. I really enjoyed ripping apart my flashforge creator pro and changing things. The printer moved from being a prebuilt thing to something that's… mine.

    The disadvantages would be:

    1. Some of the cheap kits don't always have working parts, matched parts, etc. While the companies usually will resolve those issues, that takes time (and frustration on my part.)
    2. I don't know if it's possible to "upgrade" the frame parts on something like the HE3D K280. I don't know it wouldn't be, but... I just don't know.
    3. The end cost (after I've upgraded everything I want to) might end up being more than starting with a more expensive kit.

    On the other hand, if I were to go with a much more expensive "kit" (such as the ultibots D300VS), I'd probably start in a much better position, but the "startup" cost is 3 times as much. Instead of being able to buy something soon, I'd have to wait a few months while I tuck away a bit more money. Even then, I don't know if that machine is what I'd want it to be. Sure, it has most of the things I think I want, but (as I've mentioned) I'm not even sure what I want. (Even that D300VS has shortcomings. The most obvious to me being the missing paneldue - but I'm sure there are others that I'm just not knowledgeable enough to recognize.)

    I might consider building a delta "from scratch" one day... but probably only after I've had one and used it a bit.

    However, I really do appreciate all the comments and feedback. It really helps.

    Thank you
    Gary



  • I don't know if there is any printer out there that can't be upgraded. I am running my K200 still with most stock parts. I replaced the gears and idlers with 16 toothed ones, instead of the factory 20, for better resolution. Replaced the drivers so it would run quieter and they also increased resolution. Both of those took it from 80 steps/mm to 200. Used the DC42 IR sensor, but had a working and removable endstop switch for a Z probe for a long time. Reprinted the effector because the original was too small from the get go. I did print some solid bed mounts, but it isn't really needed. Just didn't like how much the bed would move when I was trying to pull parts from it. Oh, and a flat piece of glass from the hardware store painted black on the bottom. All together, that might be a $50 bill worth of upgrades and around $20 if you skip the IR sensor.

    Oh, I did have to add a part cooling fan (doesn't come with one) and went with two of them. Another $6-$10 depending on where you buy it and how long you want to wait.



  • I've skimmed all above, but I may have missed something, so forgive any duplicates.

    I purchased an Anycubic Kossel Linear a few months back, as a "restart" into 3D Printing after a couple of years away. I've been very happy with it. I feel there are numerous good features in the kit, especially for its price point.

    Having said that, it is an inexpensive printer, and can benefit from numerous upgrades. Like at least one person said above, this can potentially be very incremental.

    The biggest single upgrade is going to be better rods. Specifically Magnetic Ends. This is a fairly easy retrofit.

    In one pic, you can see the printed parts to adapt the effector and the carriages. The other pic shows the quality difference.




  • By the way, the lighting in the above, purposely bringing out the flaws, makes it look like this is not a good printer. Just to be a little more fair, here is something printed on this printer, photographed and lit more "normally". It is, in fact, the object being printed in the photo that shows the upgrade parts.

    One half a snowball maker. Great fun!


Locked
 

Looks like your connection to Duet3D was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.