Monthly Archives

September 2014

CEL EXHIBITS ROBOX AT TCT

By | Exhibiting | One Comment

If you have been waiting for the opportunity to see the Robox 3D printer in action then look no further, as this week the team are delighted to have a stand at the TCT Show at the Birmingham NEC.

The show runs between 30th September and 2nd October, and during this time Chris Elsworthy, creator of the Robox, and Chris White, our LEAD mechanical engineer, will be running demos of the printer on Stand B40.

In addition, Chris White will also appear on stage to present the Robox in one of TCT’s Introducing Sessions on Thursday 2nd October. This is an ideal opportunity to learn about the capabilities of this very unique 3D printer, and to find out more about CEL.

To listen to Chris, go to Booth A33, Hall 3A, at 12:15 on Thursday.

We hope to meet you at the stand!

SEPTEMBER COMPETITION WINNER

By | Competitions, Exhibiting, Kickstarter, News | No Comments

Opening the post has never been so exciting for us as it has been this past month. The very first Robox Print Competition, open to BETA backers only, has been a roaring success, so much so that we have decided to run a monthly competition as the Robox gradually gets rolled out to more and more people.

September’s competition was a real test for us, as it was the first time we could witness prints made by people who didn’t work for CEL, and didn’t know the Robox inside out.

We were relying on our BETA testers to get to grips with the first Robox units which rolled off the production line, to produce as high quality prints as possible. Tellingly, the first round of Kickstarter backers rose to the challenge, with some people entering several prints rather than just one.

And so… the winner is…. drum roll please…. DAVID MUSSAFFI!

David entered several models into the competition, but it was the Woman’s Torso Sculpture which really impressed us, and which has been selected as the overall winning entry.

torso behindwomans torse

To try and replicate David’s work visit this source http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:151251

And to watch the Robox creating the Woman’s Torso have a look at the You Tube video:

David will receive a filament pack as his prize, and we can’t wait to see what he enters into October’s competition!

However, David’s entry wasn’t the only one to impress us, so we have decided to create a runner up position, and this will be awarded to ROB HARWOOD for his beautiful Scripted Vase.

scripted vase 2

To print the vase yourself visit www.thingiverse.com/thing:104694

Rob will also receive a little goodie pack for his troubles, and we hope to see more entries from him in future competitions.

Thank you to all BETA testers who took the time to print and enter our very first completion – some of these entries will be on display at the TCT Show at Birmingham NEC between 30th September and 2nd October, so come and visit us on stand B40 to take a look.

And watch this space for news and details of our next competition, which will be launched on 1st October 2014.

High torque extruder needs improved bowden connection

By | Kickstarter, News | 6 Comments

We are now at the stage in our project where the Robox has been launched to Kickstarter backers, as well as a few people in the trade, and reviewers. The primary focus over the past few months has been the hardware for the printer, with the most recent improvement being a more powerful and efficient extruder. However, this improvement has led to an unforeseen side-effect of the Bowden tube popping off on a few machines which are already with end users.

The good news is that we have already have a solution; the ‘fix’ is just being prototyped and tested, and we hope that over the next week or so the replacement parts will be produced. These parts will then be sent out to everyone who already owns a Robox to retro-fit. No recall of the product is necessary, and once fitted Robox it will be able to utilize the full power of the extruder. We will send out clear instructions on how to fit the new piece, a simple procedure similar to the steps required to add a 2nd extruder. This change is necessary because of the very high torque levels we are able to move the filament with, a great benefit once we start using difficult materials and an easy backward compatible update. At the beginning of this post is an image showing how the new connector works, the red part in the drawing is inserted into the flexible tube which guides the filament to the head, this is clamped in place by the cover shown in green, the cover screws onto a threaded connector which will go in place of the bowden connector we currently use.

Robox development will continue throughout the product lifetime with improved parts and new features, this means we are fine tuning and making changes all the time. The software is continuously being developed, and the programmers are implementing a new version of the graphical interface, we’ve written the user manual to reflect the newest version of the interface so we didn’t have to write it twice. So as some of our eagle eyed customers have already seen the GUI doesn’t currently match the user manual, but it will soon. We’re really sorry that it hasn’t been possible to have a user manual that reflects the current interface but it soon will and in the meantime please use the link for direction and help http://robox.freshdesk.com. The solutions section of our support portal already has a lot of step by step directions for setup, calibration and troubleshooting but is growing everyday in response to user needs.

Our aim is for Robox to become a community based project; the intention of the machine is to both compete for a place in the 3D printing market, but also to continuously develop, improve and evolve with the feedback from everyday users. We are hoping that anyone who buys a Robox is with us in the long term, and will therefore benefit from all changes as and when we implement them.

Final Kickstarter backers – Units have shipped!!!

By | Kickstarter | 2 Comments

Hello world and fellow Robox users 🙂 I’m Peter aka Pyropetepete. My new role at CEL-ROBOX is Service Manager. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s ideas, creations made on the Robox.
Feel free to contact my self with any issues you have. Hopefully we all can help each other out. Just remember I am human at the end of the day please.

PS …… We’ve shipped the final units for the Kickstater backers!!!! Check your mail boxes for tracking info and look out for man in the big yellow van.

Have fun and share your creations

PPP

KICKSTARTER UNITS ARE ON THEIR WAY…

By | Kickstarter, News | No Comments

This is the news everyone has been waiting for… the final batch of Kickstarter units are now on their way to our very patient and loyal backers.

We can confirm that all units are currently being air freighted worldwide from Hong Kong as we speak, which means backers will start receiving their units over the next two weeks.

Shipping times will differ depending on where backers live, but on writing this post we’ve already been made aware of a happy backer in Australia opening their door to a Robox unit this morning.

All we would ask is that if you are expecting your unit, please be extra vigilant looking out for couriers, or delivery notes – we wouldn’t want a Robox to go unaccounted for at this final stage.

We can’t wait for our backers to receive the very first units from the production line – all dressed in limited edition Kickstarter colours and supplied with two taster reels of filament.

RBX-01KS_SIDE

Don’t forget this might be the end of the Kickstarter campaign, but it’s only the beginning where the Robox is concerned.  The hardware has reached a point where we’re happy with the build quality and print quality, but there will be constant updates with software which everyone will benefit from automatically.

Please do sign up to the Robox forum as when you are in receipt of your unit we would welcome your feedback and shared print and material profiles.  You can join our community via this link www.cel-robox.com/community

At times you may also need help using the Robox, so please visit our support portal where we will try to help you with all technical enquiries as quickly as we can http://robox.freshdesk.com

And please continue following both the blog www.cel-robox.com/blog and forum, as we’ll soon be posting details of a new print competition in which ALL Kickstarter backers can participate.

Finally, a massive THANK YOU for sticking with us, and being so patient.  As we’ve tried to communicate, this is a brand new project and so there were bound to be teething problems along the way.  Any delays have been because we’ve tried to ensure you receive units which are as near to perfect as possible.

We hope you enjoy using the Robox, and please do remember all helpful feedback will benefit us all going forwards.

Is Bigger Really Better?

By | Chris Elsworthy Design Blog, News | 10 Comments

I hope to think so when it comes to engineers, as I’m 6’8″ tall!

But when it comes to 3D printers’ size really isn’t everything.

There are now two common selling points for those wanting to flog 3D printers – size / build volume and layer height.

And customers tend to assume they want the biggest unit possible, but want to print with the smallest layers possible, so let’s address these points below.

 

Build volume – The bigger the better?

After a pleasurable chat with one of our like-minded customers earlier this week we agreed on a number of misnomers, and they phrased one of them very concisely; “When shopping for a 3D printer customers often look for a spec. that will actually only fulfil 2% of their requirements, not the 98%”

I found this statement to ring very true, and build volume is a great example. Customers might occasionally want to print a large object that really does require a huge build volume, but 98% of the time the part they are printing will fit on a normal bed.

If you walk around the house and think of all the things you would probably want to print with your 3D printer – such as coat hooks, key fobs, door handles, light pulls, shelving brackets etc – you could probably fit each object in the palm of your hand, in which case, why do you need a build platform which is any bigger?

And yet still the natural first thought is to shop for a beast of a machine that is more expensive, ugly and domineering. Chances are the machine won’t fit on the desk, in the home or even at work, and 98% of the time won’t be used to it full advantage because there’s no need for such a huge space to print.

I’m not criticising as I’ve done it myself. After building my first 3D printer the next thing I did was build a much bigger one. And guess what? The big printer ended up printing parts that would have fitted on the first machine but just took longer to do and occupied more space in the office.

So to conclude, everyone might think they want a big one, they actually probably only need a small one!

Buddha_50mu_pencil_cu_2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layer height – The smaller the better?

Marketing numbers, the driving force for many product design briefs, are used to sell printers and grab the customers’ attention, and we are as guilty of this as the next 3D printing specialist. We quote a minimum layer height of 20microns and we are not lying!

In contrast to build volume, in the case of microns, the common misconception is that the smaller the micron the better.

But would you ever want to print using a 20micron layer height? Maybe, but it’s not the first thing to consider when starting a FFF print job.

The obvious payoff is time, if you have a few days to spare and don’t need the printer for other jobs you can get amazing results by opting for a 20micron print. But whereas it will take double the time to produce a 20micron print over a 40, the quality won’t be twice as good.

In fact, below 50microns the improvements in quality are difficult to justify and I don’t know anyone who has enough time on their hands to be patient and wait to see the results.

Tying up your printer for hours on end is not the only sacrifice with low layer heights. Design and testing is an interactive process; print three or four items in the time it takes to do one and you will find that everyone you print is tweaked from the last and you end up with a better designed part over the same period of time – this is one of the real advantages with a desktop 3D printer.

When selecting a 3D printer I would look for range as well as minimum layer height. ‘Draft’ is more often used than ‘fine’ in our office when selecting a print profile and starting a print; we might print a part five times before we are happy with the design and only the last time do we select ‘fine’ quality. Because of the twin nozzle system the Robox can print from 20 – 700micron layers, which we believe is an industry best (small boast there!)

 

In summary 3D printing is about gaining the ability to manufacture parts to your requirements on your desktop.

Most people don’t yet have this ability and it’s what 3D printing can do for you. Think about what you’re really going to make and where you would like to use your printer and select a product that fits that brief. For 99% of people, including me, ease of use, reliability and having something close to hand are the top 3 requirements, while print quality, features, future proof design and compactness follow closely behind.

We design products that we want personally, of course we have to sell them and play the same game as every other retailer or design house, but most of our design briefs are driven by personal desire. As with everyone we like to think that our requirements are not uncommon and so far feedback seems to support this.

Print Quality

By | News | 4 Comments

One of the primary concerns for any 3D printing company is being able to produce good quality prints, as ultimately everyone will judge the success of a new printer on the market by the condition of its prints.

With this in mind, we wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of the Robox as it currently stands, as our units are able to produce three different quality prints, in different time frames and using different methods.

The quickest way of producing a print is to select the ‘draft’ quality option; this produces the design with layers 0.4mm high, using just the 0.8mm nozzle. To put this into perspective, the orange robot in the picture has been produced as a ‘draft’, and took 1 hour and 27 minutes to produce.

We selected a 20% fill, which means the inside is only 20% solid.

So the downside of printing something as a ‘draft’ is that the quality isn’t the best – but with a bit of finishing you can polish these models to look better. The upside is that you get to see your print in a really short space of time – great for those of us who are impatient and like immediate results!

Captureorange

The second fastest way of producing a print is to select the ‘normal’ quality option; the difference here is that layer height has been reduced to 0.2mm. For ‘normal’ prints BOTH nozzles are used – the 0.3mm nozzle produces the outer layers, and the 0.8mm nozzle prints the 20% fill. The white robot has been printed with the ‘normal’ option selected, and took 2 hours and 18 minutes to make.

Immediately the change in quality is noticeable; the layers are much less visible and the overall detail is higher. And the print still didn’t take very long to produce, once you’ve pressed go there’s just enough time to make and eat your evening meal before seeing what has emerged on the build platform.

white

Finally, the third option you can select on the Robox is the ‘fine’ option; which allows you to produce excellent quality prints with layers just 0.1mm high, using only the 0.3mm nozzle.

The yellow robot in the picture demonstrates just how brilliant prints are when users select the ‘fine’ option. This robot took 7 hours and 18 minutes to print – which was no problem, as we set it to print at bedtime and woke the next morning to a model where the layers are barely visible, and the surface of which is smooth and virtually perfect. We are working on print profiles that have this level of detail but utilize the dual nozzle system to further reduce print time, all these options are available for advanced users, only on a Robox is this possible.

yellow

With even more time to spare, the Robox is able to print with layers down to 0.02mm, but at this layer height you can imagine you’re tying up the printer for a long time.

As far as we are aware, there is currently no other printers on the market right now which can perform the same range of print qualities – most either have a large nozzle for fast printing, or a fine nozzle for high resolution printing, or a compromise somewhere in-between. We’re really excited to be offering a printer which is unique, and which users can play with at their free will.

And this is just the start for us, in the future differing print qualities will be a small part of what we can offer with the Robox. We’re already planning a multitude of interchangeable heads which means the Robox is both an investment AND the future.

Kickstarter Training Day

By | Chris Elsworthy Design Blog, Kickstarter, News | One Comment

Friday (26th August) was a special day for us here at CEL, as a few of us had the privilege of meeting with the select people from our Kickstarter campaign who bid on the ‘Robox® 3D Printing Starter Pack’, which included a visit to meet us in Bristol, UK and the opportunity to own an early Limited Edition Robox® in the Kickstarter colours, as well as a day’s training. Oh, and lunch as well.

Excitingly the day went pretty much to plan, with only one slight change in the lead up to the event as we realised that with an office and warehouse move, perhaps a visit to HQ wasn’t the brightest of ideas. So a quick change of venue later, and we found ourselves in a dust-free, rubbish-free, clean and tidy office just around the corner.

Our backers brought their own laptop computers with them, and much of the day was spent unpacking the brand new Rob units – the only ones in the world with limited edition plaques – installing the software and testing the prints. Happily, all of the Robox units worked well and it was amazing to actually see the reactions of people as they got to grips with the new technology. The fact they were printing pretty quickly after discarding the packaging was very reassuring.

c1

c2

It was also really great to spend the day with some like-minded people…. These are the guys who understand or love 3D printing so much they’ve waited patiently for the best part of a year to receive the unit they truly believe will be the difference within the 3D printing industry.

But contrary to our expectations, a real mix of people attended the day – it wasn’t just geeky tech-types who know everything about additive manufacturing; normal people attended too! We were pleased to meet home users, retailers, engineers, and even children – all of whom managed to get their machines up and running quickly despite having no previous experience. Our aim with the Robox project has always been to make 3D printing accessible to everyone, and the training day proved this is really possible.

We all got a real buzz from the day, and are now making plans to run similar training days in the future, so watch this space!

 

CREAT3D EXHIBITING ROBOX AT 3D PRINT SHOW

By | Exhibiting, News | No Comments

We are delighted that independent specialist retailer of desktop 3D printers and 3D scanners CREAT3D have chosen to exhibit their trade sample of the Robox at this week’s 3D Print Show in London.

CREAT3D will soon be adding the Robox to their product line-up, and following the show will display the unit in their showroom in Reading. Units will also be available for pre-order direct from www.desktop3dprinter.com.

Simon Chandler, Managing Director of CREAT3D said: “CREAT3D are keen to work with innovative and exciting British designers and manufacturers and so we are thrilled to be able to offer our customers the Robox 3D printer from CEL.

“The Robox has many unique features and offers many of our customers an accessible way into 3D printing with a highly capable product at a very competitive price.”

For us at CEL, we couldn’t be happier to have the backing of a company such as CREAT3D, as they’re a like-minded company and we believe experts hand-pick the best of the industry to display and sell on their website.

To find out more about CREAT3D, and see the Robox in action, visit stand P15 between 4th and 6th September at Old Billingsgate.

CREAT3D LOGO