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3D Printing - "It's all about design and quality output. Not how fast the printer can run."

DSC07245Delta Dawn

"What’s that flower you have on? Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?" Growing old has its sadness, but I have something new!

The Delta here, is a new 3D printer. It’s a Shenzhen ANYCUBIC Kossel linear delta 3D printer. I am not going to openly promote the brand as I bought it retail. I owe the maker no favors as they are not a sponsor of RD3DPDS. That said, it IS a very good printer but not perfect.

It ships from China as a kit as it is far easier and cheaper to ship a tightly packed solid flat box than a fully assembled fragile printer. The kit is very well packed. The foam is not fragile and flaky Styrofoam but a dense, smooth poly (ethylene?) foam that is very flexible. It can be bent any angle without breaking. 5 stars for kit packaging.

Most of the many parts and pieces, if not obvious as to what they are, have labels. All the metric hardware is labeled and in individual press seal plastic envelopes. All such hardware has at least one spare in its envelope package. The kit is complete and no missing parts.

People saying, they have assembled the kit in four hours are super-fast and skilled assemblers who don’t have to read anything because this is their fifth build of this kit or they are bald face liars. I think the latter. Ha!

A reasonable build is 8-10 hours. I took at least 16 because of my neuropathy, I have no feeling in my fingertips. Even with that, the actual build went well but slow. That’s the assembly build. Not the setup and all the issue solving.

The electronic controller is an Arduino micro controller. There are five (only four are used) stepper motor drivers that plug into the board. A crappy little stick-on, yep, stick-on, heat sink must be placed on each driver chip without shorting any pins. Very little room for error.

The system would hardly run on the first power up. It would home the three axes but little else. I was forced into communicating with the service guys in China, via email. It was a weekend and it took several days. Outstanding support though from James and David. (Their Email names). They solved the problem by Sunday night (local). The drivers (the ones with the heat sinks) were far out of adjustment. Drive voltage (indicating the drive current) was far too high on three of the drivers. Well over 2 volts when it should have been 0.75 – 1 volt. The forth driver was set at 0.60 volts.

I have the proper meters and tools for adjusting (I am 50+ years in amateur radio) so I set all of them at 0.9 volts, which is slightly over 1 amp motor current. The steppers ran fine from that point on.

Software set-up is well defined in the assembly manual except the Arduino source code will not compile on the newest available version of the assembler. There are some variable names that are obsolete and will crash the new assembler. The supplied older Arduino assembler will work fine. Just do not upgrade.

Running the assembler is a set-up requirement. The only way to adjust the Z height is to enter the “tested for” actual height, edit the source file, then recompile and load the entire program back into the Arduino controller. Not a process for the computer timid.

Altering the source code is a primitive way for zeroing the printer. I have no other choice it seems.

DSC07247The quality of the machine with the linear slides is very good. The printing so far has also been very high quality. I am still doing a lot of “tweaking” but so far I am impressed. I can only run PLA at the moment but I have a heated bed coming from China about mid-December (2016) I also have a 20 amp 12 volt power supply on hand for taking on the extra load of the hot bed.

The print area is much smaller than my first printer but the height is much greater. I think the ultimate printer for me would (will) be a larger Delta style with hopefully easier height adjustment and bed leveling. I don’t know if automatic leveling is a feature I need but there should be something easier than re-compiling the controller source code. I am completely satisfied so far with the operation of the new Delta. A few hundred hours of operation will tell me the full story.


The Author

Ramblin' Dan Kautz

dankautzThere is no doubt one of my hobbies is writing about my hobbies. I read somewhere a long time ago, the best things to write about are the things you know very well. I have been writing and publishing long before the personal computer became the tool of choice.  My first printed and published club newsletter was created in the late 60's.

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The intention of this web site and “Ramblin’ Dan’s 3D Print Design Studio” is to promote creative design thinking and demonstrate how ideas can be changed to tangible creations through the proper application and use of Three-Dimensional Printing systems.

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