Building a Delta Robot: 3D model version 1

Now that I’ve defined what success should look like, I have to start putting the pieces together.  This started as a set of pen & paper drawings in my sketchbook.  Then I had a friend model the entire thing in Solidworks.  This model uses

  • Some sheet metal or wood for top & bottom plates (blue)
  • Some 3D printed brackets (green)
  • 24 3D printed ABS bearing mounts
  • 12 3/8″ OD bearings (between the bearing mounts)
  • Three pieces of 16mm hollow square aluminum bar (grey)
  • Three NEMA17 stepper motors
  • Six pieces of 4mm threaded rod
  • Six 1cm rods (attaches bearing mounts to square bar & bottom plate)

Before I could say this design is finished I still need to do a number of changes and tests, based on my previously stated goals:

  • The 1cm rods should be supported on bearings to make movement nice and smooth.
  • Bearings means a redesign of the square rod, the 1cm bar, and the bottom plate.
  • The legs that will hold up the delta robot haven’t been designed yet
  • Length of the 16mm square bar, length the 4mm threaded rod, and size of the plates will change once I calculate the correct numbers for the work area and accuracy that I want.  I just hope the motors I have will be up to the task!
  • Solidworks can simulate material stress and do other kinds of performance analysis.  I should be able to test how much weight the machine can carry before I start making anything, which will help me make sure my targets are being met.

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  1. This design reminds of the Firepick Delta (an open-source delta robot intended for pick and place). Development hardware for it exists in the wild (I have a Beta kit) is currently being worked on, and it’s been very interesting learning all the challenges a delta robot of this configuration can have. Here’s a link to the dev hardware build guide ( There is a google group where the dev news is happening as well.

    The FPD has a different focus (it’s not intended as a general use delta arm) but maybe there’s some learning to be shared anyway. For example, it’s been a learning experience finding out how much the ball joint design can affect precision and accuracy.