Cartesian – 3D Printer Brief

This is a Brief of a 3D Printer that i have been commissioned to build.

This Brief sets the foundations of designing the printer ensuring that I, as an engineering student and designer, follow a process and keep to the criteria set out to me.

Brief Criteria

I have been tasked with designing a 3D printer with the following design guidelines and specifications:

  • Dual Extruder
  • FDM based
  • 200mm x 200mm  x 400mm (x,y,z)
  • Heated bed
  • Any filament compatibility (filament diameter dependent on design choice)
  • High accuracy and precision
  • High Repeat-ability
  • Highest Quality versus cost (“Bang for buck”)
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Assembly guide
  • Fully open source technology
  • As reliable as possible
  • Controller panel
  • Standard off the shelf components
  • High structural strength
  • Ability to print tall narrow printed parts

These are the loose design criteria to follow in the process of designing this printer.

Design and Research

The sequence of design of the 3D printer will follow a certain path in relation to the critical components. A general guideline for example will be:

  • Motion Platform
  • Extruder Technology
  • Heated bed platform
  • Structural Frame
  • Electronics
  • Wiring
  • Miscellaneous

In each stage preliminary research will be done weighing the best options and contrasting them using different methods such as sketches, graphs and calculations. This is an important step as evidence is required to figure out what is the best solution. Naturally there will be iterations of each stage again ensuring that the design is fully thought out. A holistic view of the build will be taken to make sure of the compatibility of all parts at various stages of the process. K.I.S.S (“Keep it simple,stupid”) Principle will be the foundations of the design.

Design Sequence Stage example:

  • Research
  • Design
  • Test
  • Reiterate

This follows a loop until criteria is satisfied.


All parts must be  manufactured with ease and low cost, but to a high standard. This will also be dependent on what access is available, such as the use of machine workshops, possibly at the college I am attending or  within the local area.  Design and manufacturing are interconnected, as parts are researched and designed so the most suitable way of manufacturing will be considered.



Shipping time and cost will be of a concern. Making sure to consider the location of suppliers and total shipping cost. The lower range of suppliers needed will keep the shipping cost down since parts can be grouped together.


It is optimal to purchase to products from reputable companies to ensure reliability and product performance. Components ideally should have a full engineering specification sheet too.

Customer Service

Long term warranty and return policies are important. Good customer and supplier communications are key to resolving key specifications, recommendations and to resolve issues.


Decent engineering performance of supplied and designed components is essential to the success of the project. Components must be within spec to perform well with the conditions involved with the functioning of the printer, particularly for long term reliability.








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