Quite understandably we receive many enquiries every day of the following nature:
- I pre-ordered my Robox back in March, but where is it?
- I’m a backer on Kickstarter, but haven’t yet received my machine?
- I would like to order a Robox, can you tell me when it would arrive if I do?
- We are interested in becoming a reseller / distributor for the Robox, when will a sample become available?
- We are journalists and we’d like to review the Robox, when can we have a unit?
And so on…
Enquiries of this nature both excite us, and terrify us at the same time. Why? Because it is very hard to give definitive answers and expectations are so high, and it’s so fantastic having people so keen to get their hands on the final product.
What we can say for sure is that our first level of Kickstarter supporters now have their BETA machines and their feedback has been somewhat amazing. Not necessarily because all of the comments have been positive, but because even the ‘constructive criticism’ has helped us to make further developments with the machines.
So what can we tell all the other people who are waiting so patiently?
Well, Chris Elsworthy, the brains behind the operation, has just landed back in the UK after an eventful and productive trip to China. The aim of this recent visit was to iron out all remaining niggles to ensure that when he gives the nod to mass production, the whole team are confident about the products we are sending out.
The Robox units are currently undergoing essential emissions testing – to make sure they cannot cause interference with other electrical or electronic equipment and communication networks. The good news is that the units passed the initial tests once a few tweaks were performed by our electronics expert Mr Sing and we’re hopeful the final tests will be performed and passed later on this week.
Much of the time Chris was in China the team were performing electrical safety tests such as continuity testing, high potential testing, double insulation testing, drop testing, life testing and so on. Currently we have several machines which have been running for over 400 hours, without any major faults!
And once all of these tests have been completed and passed we can finally let all our patient supporters have their products.
So let’s talk DATES…
Until this point, we’ve not wanted to promise dates as things are always changing, and with any new products there can be unforeseen problems which lead to delays.
But we’re finally confident that we can start talking about realistic delivery dates, and we’re hopeful that the next two stages of Kickstarter backers will be in receipt of their goods by the middle of August, and our valuable customers who have placed pre-orders will be opening up their brand new Robox units early September.
So things are getting exciting now; not only are we just about to unleash the Robox on the world, we’re also moving to bigger offices soon to accommodate our growing team, and we’ll shortly be advertising for more staff – so watch this space!!
I was really excited to meet Gordon Attenborough and Mark Reynard from The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), to be interviewed about the fact the Robox looks set to be one of the world’s first ‘plug and print’ 3D Printers.
Gordon and the IET team visited our offices in Portishead and spent a day with the team, learning more about the capabilities of both our hardware and software.
Pleasingly, the Robox behaved beautifully, producing some great prints, and I was able to demonstrate how the software interacts with the hardware, as well as taking the unit apart to show the ‘gubbins’ inside the print head, as well as some of the more unique properties of the machine such as our filament feed.
The great thing about the IET is that they are a team which is passionate about working to engineer a better world, and that’s exactly what we at CEL are all about. Our mission is to design and engineer products which can be accessed by everyone; including people who have knowledge of engineering and how things work, and people who don’t. The key thing behind each and every one of our designs is usability.
We’re delighted with the resulting video and interview, as it demonstrates just how the Robox might soon find its way into schools, colleges, universities and homes.
We hope our affiliation with the IET will continue, as support from our customers, kickstarter backers, and like-minded organisations is what will be the driving force behind the Robox project.
One of our Beta testers is planning to sell Robox in Australia, here are some dates for checking out his Beta Robox in action over the next few weeks.
20th -21st June 2014-
Melbourne at DATTA Vic (Design and Technology Teachers Association – Victoria) Conference.
24th June 2014-
Canberra ACT, Australian 3D Manufacturing Association event in, at the Canberra Institute of Technology, the following day we will be exhibiting inside the Australian Parliament House, where we will showcase the Robox 3D technology and have discussions with Members of Parliament, their advisors and other Government officials. Media coverage has been organised through both Channel 9, the Canberra Times, and other associated agencies.
30th June & 1st July 2014-
Brisbane at ConQEST the Queensland Education Science Laboratory Technicians Association conference.
6th – 9th July 2014-
Adelaide at the University of Adelaide we will be exhibiting Robox at CONASTA 63, the Australian Science Teachers Association national conference.
Title image from Wikipedia
We’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this week. We found 3 tiny components (1.0×0.5mm) on the extruder daughter PCB that were missing a connection to ground. After applying a minuscule amount of solder to bridge the gap between the capacitor (C7) and the ground via next to it, the extruder breathed new life into Robox.
You may think the diagnosis of this fault to be easy, but for many reasons we’ve been looking elsewhere to find out why our earlier machines have performed better than the BETA build machines. It was actually our factory pointing out that the C3 capacitor was missing its ground that brought our attention to the missing link.
Our new software engineer, Tony Lynch, along with Ian, is ploughing through the most urgent of the feature updates and bugs to give us our first public release of AutoMaker which we are hoping to have with you next Wednesday (28th May).
After opening all the boxes, gently unpacking and amending the extruder PCBs on all the BETA machines we hope to have them shipped the following Wednesday (4th June).
These are the dates we are aiming for, and we see no reason why they aren’t realistic, but we can’t predict the unforeseen. We’re feeling pretty positive now, but if anything changes with the dates you will be the first to know.