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I've never gotten a 3D printer, nor do I know very much about them, but I'm thinking of buying a delta 3D printer kit for around $450. When I looked online of some disadvantages of Delta printers I found that they typically don't have Bowden extruders. I'm wondering what are the advantages of a Bowden extruder and should I spend more money in a 3D printer just to get one.

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    $\begingroup$ Delta printers always have bowden extruders -- at least all the latest ones. You said "don't have". If this was a typo, please edit. If you don't agree, can you send me a link of one that does not? $\endgroup$ – David Lotts May 11 '17 at 5:28
  • $\begingroup$ Please could you cite an example of a Delta printer which doesn't have a Bowden extruder, which has the stepper located at/on the print head? $\endgroup$ – Greenonline May 18 '18 at 17:37
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My FLSUN Kossel 3D Delta printer ($224) has a bowden extruder. It works really well too.

The main advantage of having one is that it reduces the mass of the hot end. That means less inertia, and it's easier on the driver motors as well. All this leads to (hopefully) greater and more precise control at the extruder tip, and, best of all, faster printing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Even my super-cheap knock-off delta has a Bowden. Putting a stepper on the hot end would easily quadruple the moving mass. $\endgroup$ – Ecnerwal May 29 '17 at 20:00
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The only advantage of Bowden extruder is a reduced mass of moving parts attached to the effector.

All other differences from direct extruder are to the Bowden's disadvantages. Generally speaking, Bowden-type extruder has much worse control of filament extrusion than direct one.

Since most of the modern consumer-grade printers suffer from low rigidity, reducing mass seems as a good trade-off to the printers' manufacturers.

Unfortunately, for the Delta printers trading speed for quality may not be so effective. Delta construction is used with the only goal to achieve highest possible speed of printing. As a contrary, Bowden extruder becomes less precise with the speed increase. This makes it unreasonable to increase print speed at some point when printing quality degrades below acceptable.

As a result, at this moment of time, Delta printers with Bowden extruder is a clear sign of under-performing device.

To answer your question: there is no reason to pay extra for the Delta printer with Bowden extruder, although I doubt that a printer with similar characteristics and a direct extruder would be cheaper.

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