3D-Printing: Experimental Options

By Kalani Kirk Hausman, Richard Horne

At any given time, the 3D printing RepRap community has thousands of experimental modifications going on all around the world. Every now and again, a totally new branch sprouts out. These new or vastly different machines usually attract a lot of attention and may require other developers to help refine them into something that can be used by the many other users in the community.

Such innovations are some of the most exciting new developments. It’s not always the aim in RepRap to keep on making things ever faster and more accurately; some of the most challenging design issues come from thinking about using lower-cost materials that may be more accessible to more people in the world. Other innovators seek a new arrangement to occupy less desk space but still print large objects.

The next wave of popular home 3D printers use the delta triangulation-based coordinate system.

Many of the most successful branches of delta 3D-printer designs come from a concept machine called the Rostock and advanced design called the Kossel, designed by Johann C. Rocholl, who has also further developed the delta firmware branch of Marlin that is used on many RepRap Delta printers.

The following are the most popular delta 3D-printer designs:

  • RostockMax: This design is inspired by the original Rostock, but employs a laser-cut frame and makes innovative use of bearings that run on aluminum extrusions to provide the linear motion of the machine. It’s also one of the bigger machines, capable of printing models of significant size.

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  • 3DR: Richard designed an alternative delta printer, which uses mainly 3D-printed parts for the structure of the machine.

Most RepRap printers can be scaled to different sizes, so don’t assume the stated build area of a machine is at the maximum. Typically a building envelope of 200 cubic millimeters is standard, but RepRap machines can be scaled up to many times this size. Non-RepRap printers are usually limited by the size of the laser-cut frame, which is often not so easy for the individual builder to scale.