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This is a 3D printer designed by Apsu as a prototype implementation of the Tripteron motion platform, details of which can be found here.
The Tripteron is a motion platform created by Laval University's robotics lab as a simple parallel actuator robot that is capable of multiple configurations, all of which are linear. In the orthogonal configuration, the actuation is also Cartesian. In this implementation of the Tripteron in order to build a 3D printer, it features a fixed build platform and simple construction and operation. The design is still a work-in-progress, and is ongoing primarily in this forum thread.
The printer was also featured on Hackaday and has garnered a lot of interest as a potential new way forward in printer development.
- Linear actuation provides constant precision throughout the build volume
- In this orthogonal configuration, the kinematics are simple Cartesian
- A fixed build platform is simple and allows for consistency and high performance
- Parallel actuation avoids compounding of mechanical errors, if any exist
- Framing and assembly are easy
- Part count is low
- The mechanism being simple and reconfigurable into different orientations allows for a lot of hackability and room for creative improvements
- Designing and constructing a rigid arm assembly is difficult and demanding engineering, particularly with only common RepRap materials and printed parts
- Understanding the mechanism is non-intuitive and devising appropriate joints takes some creative thinking
- The arm assembly weight falls mostly on the Z axis arm, so proper reinforcement and load management takes some engineering work
A related configuration of the Tripteron uses a colinear orientation of the actuators just like a linear Delta, and the arms are attached at fixed angles. Apsu has designed and built a prototype of this mechanism which he calls a Delteron
See also: Sextupteron
The Tripteron platform is covered by a patent held by Laval University, which was filed in 2002. Despite this fact, many people have spoken with the university about non-commercial use and all indication has been that they are fine with said use, including public statements by the author of the patent, who was part of the team of inventors. Attempts are being made to persuade them to release it into the public domain or at least obtain a reasonable licensing deal so the path to commercialization is more clear.