3D Printer Model Structure

Want to buy a FDM 3D printer but don't know how to choose? Don't worry, today Flying Bear will talk to you about the structure of 3D printer models.

Although there is a dizzying array of FDM (fused deposition manufacturing) 3D printers on the market, in general, their distinctive designs are built on the basic model frame structures such as rectangles and triangles, which are the characteristics of current FDM 3D printer models.

Next, we will briefly introduce the three mainstream 3D printer models: gantry, cassette and delta, including the basic structure of each model and their advantages and disadvantages.

Gantry model

The gantry model comes from the third generation of Prusa Mendel (a branch of rearap's Mendel series), which consists of a rectangular gantry and a print platform, where the gantry is mainly responsible for the movement of the print head in the z-axis and y-axis direction, and the print platform is responsible for its movement in the x-axis direction.

The gantry model has the advantage of a simple and intuitive frame structure, low accuracy requirements for assembly parts, and low acquisition and assembly costs, making it a suitable entry-level printer for novice users.

In addition, its open design is easy to upgrade and repair maintenance, as long as the basic structure remains unchanged, the printer performance can be enhanced in details by replacing accessories, etc., to compensate for its low printing accuracy, slow printing speed, or even to add more functions, which is ideal for 3D printing enthusiasts to implement various whims and DIY creations.

But on the other hand, because its printing platform is moving horizontally in the x-axis, there is a risk of the model falling off during the printing process.

A similarly structured printer model is the Printbot, which is a simplified version of the gantry structure printer. Compared to the gantry structure's dual z-axis motor design, it only has one z-axis, so the print head moves with less stability.

Box Model

Box model printers are also known as cassette and closed models. This structure appears when the printer assembly development is more mature, with the advantages of fast printing speed, high molding accuracy, and its performance can meet the needs of commercial production and sales.

The print head of this type of printer relies on a motor driven synchronous belt in the xy-axis plane direction for arbitrary movement, to be able to print space greatly increased, while the printing platform only needs to move in the z-axis in the up and down direction, ensuring the stability of the printing process, the model is not easy to fall off the printing platform.

As the name implies, the box type printer has an encapsulated box structure, the circuit board and power supply and other electronic components are usually hidden inside the body, which can ensure a simple and beautiful design. The completely enclosed box can also isolate odor and reduce noise, suitable for use in the home and office scenarios, not only that, the high precision characteristics also enable it to be widely used in industrial grade 3D printers.

But on the other hand, the encapsulated box structure is more complex inside, not easy to assemble, maintenance trouble, higher printing accuracy requires high precision of parts, and the overall cost has increased. And because the printing range of this type of printer does not go beyond the box, so depending on the printing size, you need to choose different specifications of the printer, but the accuracy and speed can basically be guaranteed.

Delta model

The parallel arm structure applied to 3D printers is the familiar Delta or Delta model. The movement of the print head in the xyz axis direction in this structure is mainly controlled by three parallel arms, while the print platform is fixed and does not need to be moved, so its footprint is smaller and combined with its higher height it can print long and lean objects.

The delta structure is also a relatively simple frame from the appearance, and the parallel arm structure makes its printing faster transmission more efficient, but because of its special interpolation algorithm for coordinate positioning, it can only use multiple linear segments approximation to shape the curved structure, resulting in a shortage of its printing accuracy. In addition, in order to ensure the movement of the three parallel arms, it will also limit the use of a division of space.


For FDM technology, in addition to these three more popular basic models of printers, there are many novel printer models are emerging, such as robotic arm 3D printer, flexible robotic arm makes it have better accuracy, but the print size is small, and the robotic arm is also difficult to cope with the workload of 3D printing often continuous for several days, coupled with the high cost of control circuitry and other high cost makes it more difficult to land, the model Currently, it is mostly used in research.

These new models are either an improvement on the three basic models mentioned above, or a completely new structure, all of which can be found in simple open source models on the web. Driven by the interest of many enthusiasts, the new models are constantly being updated and iterated, making a lot of quantitative breakthroughs in 3D printer technology. It is believed that there will be more and more high performance and strong applicability 3D printer models appearing.