This is the Grounded Experimental Delta 3D printer, aka the Simpson, a project built by computer science teacher Nicholas Seward that does away with the excess frames, pulleys, and hardware associated with earlier models. Seward wanted a machine that could print itself and used “less vitamins,” namely metal parts that the machine couldn’t create from scratch. There are still motors and controllers, but there are fewer in this model than in any other I’ve seen.
Does it work? In the video below we see the Simpson in action. Seward named his bot after George Gaylord Simpson, the creator of the theory of quantum evolution, and I’d say this bot is an interesting leap forward.
The motion of the arms, in this case, is far more organic than the traditional linear gantry style devices I’ve seen. Because it uses fewer parts it’s far cheaper to make and because it can build itself it is a true RepRap or “self replicating machine.” Seward writes: “I want a machine that can walk or crawl and hopefully scribble its name. Maybe later the machine will run or skydive and make works of art. This is new territory for me and if I am not messing up then I am not working hard enough.”
The absolute best thing, however, is how open the RepRap community has been to Seward’s work. In less than a month, Seward went from idea to actual finished project and he is currently able to build smaller “baby” Simpson arms and hopes to print larger arms over the next few weeks. Rather than tear him down, the commenters are quite kind (“Congrats on getting it going. Such a magical moment when you see your creation actually starting to do what it was made to do, and it actually works!” wrote one with no apparent trace of sarcasm). It is the best of 3D printing, the maker movement, and the Internet rolled into one.