How to Choose Between Cartesian and Delta 3D Printers

LulzBot TAZ 6 3D printer

In 3D printing, there are several different styles of printers. The two most common desktop 3D printer styles are Cartesian and Delta. These printers both use Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology but have different ways to navigate the print head through the 3D print space.

Cartesian

A Cartesian Printer.
From: All3DP

Cartesian printers are named after the Cartesian coordinate system that uses X, Y, and Z coordinates to plot points. This system of coordinates is used to determine the location of the print head and the extruder. Cartesian printers do this through a system of rails which are used to move the print head and the print bed to position the extruder anywhere in the 3D space.

Pros

One of the greatest advantages of Cartesian printers is their popularity. Since Cartesian printers are the most widely used type of printer, there is far more support for users of these printers than for users of Delta printers. It is easier to find parts and to repair Cartesian printers because of this solid market.

In addition, prints from a Cartesian printer tend to have a better surface finish than prints from a Delta printer. This is because Cartesian printers have more rigid axes, which allow less room for error when the print head moves within the 3D space.

Cons

There are no overall problems with Cartesian printers. Most issues that arise are specific to different brands. As such, any disadvantages of Cartesian style printers depend on the manufacturer. Check out our troubleshooting and guide pages to see common issues with various 3D printer brands and models.

Delta

A Delta Printer.
From: All3DP

Delta printers, like Cartesian printers, also work within the Cartesian plane. However, they use a different system to navigate and locate the print head within the 3D space.

A delta printer consists of three arms on rails that move up and down independently to move the print head. Delta printers use trigonometric functions based on the angles that these arms create to determine the precise location of the print head within the 3D print space.

Pros

Delta printers have circular print beds which gives them a more efficient use of the printing space, especially when printing circular prints. Additionally, many of the print beds are non-moving, which can be an advantage for some prints. Due to their design, Delta printers can also print taller objects than most Cartesian printers.

One of the main advantages of a Delta printer is its speed. These printers were designed for quick printing. Delta print heads are built to be as light as possible, which results in a quicker printing process.

Cons

However, this design focus on speed results in several disadvantages for the printer. One is the precision of the printer. As the speed of the printer increases, its precision decreases. Because of this, Delta printers tend to print with less detail and a rougher surface finish than Cartesian printers.

Another main disadvantage is the Bowden style extrusion. To reduce the weight of the print head, the stepping motor is removed and placed on the body of the printer. The filament is then fed to the print head using a Bowden tube. This style of extrusion limits the number of filaments that can be used and can cause binding within the tube itself. This is a problem that is currently being addressed by Zesty Technology and their new Nimble extruder drive, which is lighter than a standard extruder drive or stepping motor.

Which One Should You Choose?

Diagram of a Cartesian Printer (left) and a Delta Printer (right).
From: Printspace3D

When choosing between them, you should consider what you want from the printer. Cartesian printers often come preassembled and work right out of the box. In addition, as they are more popular, there is more customer support for Cartesian printers. Delta printers often come in kits and need to be assembled before use. They are also very advantageous when making tall objects.

 

 

 

 

 

Logan Jorgenson
Content Writing Intern
Logan Jorgenson is currently a senior at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where he is studying English Writing. He has been previously published in The Odyssey Online, The Blue Route Literary Magazine, and 30 North. In his free time, Logan enjoys reading and writing science-fiction and fantasy.
0 Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

©2018 Fargo 3D Printing

Fargo 3D Printing is not associated with HID Global and their FARGO division.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

THE PRODUCTS SOLD ON THIS WEBSITE SHOULD ONLY BE USED BY EXPERIENCED INDIVIDUALS, OR UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF EXPERTS. NO WARRANTY OF THEIR SUITABILITY FOR ANY PURPOSE WHATSOEVER IS MADE OR OFFERED BY US. YOUR USE OF THE PRODUCTS SOLD ON THIS WEBSITE IS ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOUR PURCHASE OR USE OF ANY PRODUCT HEREFROM SHALL SERVE AS YOUR EXPLICIT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND AND CONSENT TO THE FACT THAT WE HEREBY DISCLAIM ANY RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR, ANY HARM, LOSS (ECONOMIC OR OTHERWISE), INJURY OR DEATH RESULTING FROM THE ASSEMBLY OR OPERATION OF OUR PRODUCTS, EITHER AS INSTRUCTED OR OTHERWISE, AND AFFIRM THAT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL YOU BE ENTITLED TO ANY DAMAGES OF ANY SORT WHATSOEVER RELATED TO YOUR USE OR MISUSE OF OUR PRODUCTS.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?