The next big project: D-Bot Core XY

PrintrBot becoming Obsolete

The next big project underway is the D-Bot Core XY 3D Printer. Currently, I am using a PrintrBot Simple Metal which was an overall good printer at the time of purchase but is becoming a bit obsolete. The original PB Simple came with a small print bed size of 150mm cubed and without a heatbed but there is an X axis and heatbed upgrade for about $130. Another issue is the bed itself not being very level and their solution to this problem is the automatic bed level that measures 3 points which is not very effective since it lacks enough information to fix the issue. Older unofficial PB firmware measures 9 to 12 different locations and other printers such as the new Prusa i3 MK2 measures 9 different points on the bed. Another major issue is the non-metal parts warping over time. The two rubber Y axis grommets holding the Y axis level are now stretched overtime due to use over time and the contributed weight of the extruder motor. The effect of this is that after every print, the Z axis moves up or down 0.5 to 1mm which means constantly having to recalibrate after each use.

Why D-Bot?

The D-Bot Core XY has many benefits over the PB Simple and although I list a few issues with the Core XY, majority are not very relevant or solvable with some extra cash. It was a hard decision whether to go with the Prusa i3 MK2 or build the D-Bot but I wanted to build my own printer and with the overall shipping and extras, the D-bot is slightly lower in costs.

Pros:

  • Strong structure
  • Highly detailed build guide, possibly the best detailed guide
  • Strong following and online support community
  • Proven design; has been created by dozens of people with great results
  • Large print bed ( 300mm x 300mm x 312mm approx 12” cubed)
  • Fairly small overall frame size for its large printing area (XYZ, 503mm x 333mm x 520mm)
  • Extra Z axis support (dual stepper motors to move bed along the Z axis)
  • Optional Heated bed
  • Compatible with TMC2100 stepper motor drivers for reducing sound (unlike PB Simple)

Cons:

  • V-slot extrusions instead of T-slot extrusions which can be difficult for people outside of the US to obtain
  • Not for new people, this is not a kit, it’s a guide and requires many tools and several dozen parts
  • Long lead time from date of order (heavy reliance of eBay parts to be cost-effective leads to many parts coming from China that will take about a month or longer)
  • No automatic Z-axis calibration but it is an optional upgrade that the designer justified that it is not really needed due to the stable Z axis
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