Coffee Maker Delta 3D Printer

Built on a coffee maker. And on a budget. No precision rails or bearings. True Delta Kinematics. Great prints.

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There are many DIY 3D printer designs available on the internet. While there are dozens of designs out there, almost all of them require precision rails/bearings. Most printers require two precision rails and at least three linear bearings per axis, for a total of 6 rails and 9-12 bearings. Even so called “delta” printers tend to actually be linear-delta machines, requiring just as many rails/bearings. It’s these precision components that really drive the trade between price and precision in a DIY printer.

Many DIY designs require 3D printed parts. It’s pretty cool that you can build parts for a 3D printer on a 3D printer, but what if you don’t have a 3D printer in the first place?

This is our solution.

Design details to come... The printer has been our workhorse at Tropical Labs for over a year now. We feel that it is time to document the design.

  • 1 × Arduino Mega 2560 the brains of the operation
  • 1 × Ramps 1.4 popular 3d printer shield for arduino mega
  • 4 × A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier these plug in to the ramps board and power the steppers
  • 4 × Nema 17 stepper motors I used 0.9 degree steppers
  • 3 × Home switches optical or otherwise

View all 11 components

  • Delta Kinematics Calculations

    jcchurch04/11/2017 at 02:23 0 comments

    Here are two useful links for understanding delta kinematics:

    Kinematics explained:

    Online calculator based on above equations:

    I seem to recall that the labels for the dimensions in the calculator are a little misleading, so be sure to double check the drawings in the first link.

    Here's where you can enter those parameters into my modified marlin code on github (originally modified from an early version of the firepick-delta firmware). Starting around line 198 in Configurations.h:

    #define DELTA_E         50.8//172.0//131.636 // End effector length
    #define DELTA_F         158.3//152.4//81.4//190.526 // Base length
    #define DELTA_RE        163.5//114.5//270.000 // Carbon rod length
    #define DELTA_RF         50.8//77.0//86.000 // Servo horn length

    The un-commented values above are the dimensions used on this printer (in mm).

  • Hot Plate Control Algorithm

    jcchurch05/30/2016 at 08:02 0 comments

    The coffee maker hotplate has a significant delay which causes control problems....

    By the time the sensor sees a temperature change, enough energy has been put into the plate that it shoots up to a very high temperature. The process does not seem to stabilize with just PID control.

    To correct this, we edited the PID algorithm. Now the hotplate is pulsed on between 0 and 1 seconds every 10 seconds according to the PID algorithm.

    More details coming....

  • Linear Transformation

    jcchurch05/30/2016 at 07:52 0 comments

    To correct for distorted prints. Print a 1 in cube, measure dimensions, calculate transformation matrix to correct and update firmware.

  • Electronics

    jcchurch05/30/2016 at 07:22 0 comments

    Pretty straight forward here: Arduino Mega + Ramps 1.4.

    Generic hotend/extruder.

    SSR for hot plate control.

  • The Delta Mechanism

    jcchurch05/28/2016 at 04:58 0 comments

View all 5 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Daren Schwenke wrote 07/17/2018 at 00:22 point

Gotta say... I love it.  Somehow I missed this gem.  You combined two of my favorite things.  :)

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mmiscool wrote 05/01/2017 at 01:18 point

When can I buy a kit???? I want one.

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mmiscool wrote 05/01/2017 at 01:19 point

Seriously. I am located in CT USA. Can i just buy one . . . ?

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GB.gregbo wrote 02/12/2017 at 03:55 point

Really would like to make this project. Where can I find the instructions to make this happen?

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medo sonson wrote 02/08/2017 at 20:40 point

thanks you for explain


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John Matthias Syrinek wrote 09/21/2016 at 21:39 point

Do you have any plans for incorporating the Mechaduino into this printer - even just for fun? Would that allow you to use cheaper motors other than the typical NEMA 17's?

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jcchurch wrote 09/21/2016 at 23:33 point

A similar machine with Mechaduinos is in the works. The motors wouldn't necessarily be cheaper, but you would get some combination of improved resolution or a larger build volume depending on how you dimension things. You would also avoid losing steps.

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John Matthias Syrinek wrote 09/22/2016 at 03:56 point

Cool - thanks for the info

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guest2003 wrote 06/26/2016 at 23:20 point


What's the printing area? 

There are an aluminum bar on motor, right? (I think) on the other end there are a bearing? (on the joint mount)


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johnowhitaker wrote 05/02/2016 at 19:13 point

This looks great! Please tell me it has a heated bed thanks to the coffee machine internals :) Also, are those steppers geared down?

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johnowhitaker wrote 05/02/2016 at 19:16 point

ooh, found - think that answers my second question :)

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jcchurch wrote 05/04/2016 at 02:11 point

Thanks for commenting!

Yes, a solid state relay controls power to the coffee maker to regulate the bed temperature.  The coffee maker itself did not need to be modified, so you can actually slide the delta assembly off and make a pot of coffee!

You are a step ahead of us on the motors though!  We  are using standard 400 step/rev NEMA 17 stepper motors to directly drive the delta mechanism on this printer.  We've also built a second, larger delta printer where the steppers are geared down 5:1 with GT2 timing belts.  Next up, we will be building a closed-loop version featuring our Mechaduino stepper based servo motors!

Mechaduino is also on

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