Monthly Archives

February 2015

Currys and PC World stock the Robox

By | Stuff and Things | No Comments

So if you haven’t already seen the news, we’re delighted to announce our newest partnership with DixonsCarphone, which means the Robox will now be stocked via the Curry’s, PC World, and PC World Business websites.

We’re happy to say DixonsCarphone share our enthusiasm, as Category Manager Rachel Wareham commented:

“With Robox you can go from unboxing to printing in a matter of minutes and the software even integrates one of the biggest libraries of 3D models on the web, so there’s no searching around for models to print, either.

“Robox has the potential to be a mass-market product – it works like magic, looks great and is incredible value-for-money.”

For us, Dixons’ decision to stock Robox—the only 3D printer available on the group’s websites—is a fantastic validation of what we’ve envisaged and how far we’ve come. But reaching this milestone does not mean it’s ‘mission accomplished’ for us here at CEL; we’re continually improving Robox’s hardware and software, we’ve got some fantastic new accessories due to be released later this year, and more orders to fulfil than we thought possible at this point in time.

It’s great to add Currys and PC World to the list of our supporters and with their help we feel more confident than ever that we will soon see 3D printers in homes and schools as well as workshops and offices.

We’re pleased to be adding these household names to our rapidly increasing list of stockists – which includes the likes of Kitronik, CREAT3D, 3D-PrintWorld, PrintMe3D, Maplins and Farnell Element 14.  To find out more about these stockists please visit our ‘where to buy‘ page.

And to read more about the partnership take a look at some of the great coverage popping up today:

http://www.retailgazette.co.uk/articles/00033-robox-wars-dixons-ward-off-competitors-by-remaining-techsavvy

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2015/02/26/currys-pc-world-now-selling-robox-3d-printers-to-the-uk-and-ireland/

http://microfabricator.com/articles/view/id/54ef463a6983c59242ab0fae/robox-home-3d-printer-to-be-stocked-by-currys-pc-world#comments

http://www.tctmagazine.com/3D-printing-news/currys-pc-world-stocks-robox-3d-printer/

http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/dixons-carphone-ceo-s-children-convince-him-to-stock-new-product/035696

 

3D printing: Australian researchers create jet engine, breakthrough captures attention of Airbus and Boeing – www.abc.net.au

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So maybe we aren’t all creating jet engines but this article shows how powerful a 3D printer can be as a development tool.

I particularly liked this quote, after describing the original process, Ian describes how much easier it is to achieve a lot more with a 3D printer:

“This way we can very quickly get a final product, so the advantages of this technology are, firstly, for rapid prototyping and making a large number of prototypes quickly.” -Professor Ian Smith, Monash University’s vice-provost for research.

The full article is on the ABC news site here http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-26/australian-researchers-create-first-3d-jet-engine/6262462

Dance like a Robox

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Here at CEL Robox we’re always on the look-out for new reviews of our 3D printer, so were pleased to stumble across the following review courtesy of Dominic Morrow (@ChickenGrylls) on behalf of Kitronik, who are now stocking the Robox….

http://dominicmorrow.org/2015/02/20/dance-like-a-robox/
First off I think I’ll declare my interest here, Kitronik are good friends of mine and I occasionally do work for them, so they are my recommended retailer for the CEL Robox 3D printer if you are thinking of buying. They are very nice chaps and very earnest in their desire to provide good products. I’ve been lucky enough to see the team at Kitronik weighing up different machines to support and can see they have thought very carefully before choosing the Robox. They offered to let me borrow their evaluation and support machine for the weekend so I thought it was a good opportunity to do a review!

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Unpacking, downloading the software and uploading an .stl file I had already took less than 10 minutes. The AutoMaker software, which will run on Mac, Windows and Lunux is very intuitive and well laid out, it reminds me very much of how simple and easy it was to download and try the Sillouette Studio software for my vinyl cutter. You can download and play about with it without having to have a machine.

The overall build quality is very high and unfussy. The machine ships very well packaged with it’s own tote bag as well as a nicely made tool kit for maintenance. From that point of view the Robox is everything a RepRap isn’t it really is a “take-it-out-the-box-plug-it-in-and-off-it-goes” machine. If tinkering endlessly with bed levelling and calibration IS your thing, this machine will be disappointing for you. The Robox has an auto purge at the start of the print and a 9 point bed levelling check.

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Whilst the Robox has “smart reel” technology you’re not limited to using their filament, you can wind you’re own filament onto their reels if you want too. If you do so though you loose some of the functionality which the smart reel provides (which is mostly tell the machine what type and colour of filament it is and what temperature to work it at). The smart reel is also capable of telling the AutoMaker software if you’ve enough plastic to do the job you’ve sent it. When I used it I was using Robox, “Highway Orange PLA” and “Chroma Green ABS”.

The machine has a door which helps keep the temperature inside the machine even which is something that causes problems on other unenclosed machines. This is a useful feature for Kitronik as they are catering primarily for schools and educational users. The door is a glass clear plastic and allows a good view of the work piece, a side view panel enhances viewing even this further. The build area is 210 x 150 x 100mm which is okay, perhaps not as tall as some would like.

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Printing in draft mode is quick and the quality is really very good, the Robox has twin nozzles with needle value control. These nozzles are 0.3mm for fine printing upto 20 microns and 0.8mm to splurge our draft quality prints and provide infill. Filament is shifted through a dual pinch wheel to feed it into the hot end. Extrusion is performed in the case somewhere so the moving head only has the twin nozzles and hot end making it lighter than other travelling parts on 3D printers.

I’m told that there will be head upgrades for twin colour printing or dual material at a later date. I noticed that the feed in from the reel is marked extruder 1 and extruder 2 so hopefully the machine can be upgraded to that with the it’s clip-on-clip-off head (that’s not what they call it).

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For me, beyond prototyping in draft, I’m still a little uncertain what 3D printers are for. However I do see that they add a valuable “I really designed and made this thingy.” element for CAD and design education. I think scanning, assuming people who allow it to happen, could make a great way of tailoring clothing and in my case producing a miniature me to help me understand by weight and get a realistic body image.

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The Gadget Show Live 2015

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CEL will be exhibiting Robox and our Power Tool Range at The Gadget Show Live at Birmingham NEC, UK between 7th and 12th April 2015.

Come and visit us at stands R50 and R60 right in the middle of it all.

gsl2015location

Stick with it… 3D Printing – Print Bed Coating Materials. Part 1 – richrap.blogspot.co.uk

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I’ve just described RichRap to a colleague as “The Man” when it comes to 3D printing knowledge. His blogs and resources are 2nd to none in terms of content and clear descriptions.

He describes himself thus:

“Richard Horne (RichRap) is an Electronics Engineer, Product Designer, Salesman, and Problem Solver working in a wide range of industries and applications, across many platforms and technologies for the last 20 years.”

Rather than copy his blog in here I encourage you to take a look at some of Rich’s reports on different print surfaces, there is a link below. Robox ThermoSurface (PEI) even gets a mention:

“I recently tested out PEI as a (heated) bed material (sample courtesy of Robox) , this is quite expensive but does work very well with almost all existing thermoplastic materials being used for home 3D Printing today. I highly expect many more 3D printer manufacturers to adopt the use of removable PEI sheets as the next generation build platform, for home and consumer machines.”

It is funny to see any of our build parts described as “expensive” considering the price of our plug and play competitors but it is true that our ThermoSurface performs very well.

The link below describes many solutions to sticking prints to the bed, Robox uses ThermoSurface which is a re-usable removeable print surface which does not need any bed coatings, sprays, glues, tapes or even much maintenance. With ThermoSurface you just wipe it down after a few prints using some Isopropyl Alcohol (common IPA). No repairs, no scraping, no glue residues.

http://richrap.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/stick-with-it-3d-printing-print-bed.html

 

 

Stuff magazine 5* review

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As you can imagine, anticipation for the Robox and its capabilities is at an all time high at the moment, with reviewers nationally and internationally queuing up to get their hands on a unit.

Not content with just plugging in and pressing play, reviewers look closely at both the hardware and the Automaker software, and as well as judging us on price, appearance and the quality and speed of prints, also look at the finer details such as how well the filament extrudes,  whether the ABS or PLA is adhering to the bed, nozzle function, how the door shuts, how easy it is to import files, whether the user manual mirrors the software, how well the graphical user interface works, how the Cartesian action performs etc.

We have no control when the Robox is in the reviewers’ hands – we send out a unit, and then sit back and wait for the final verdict.  Often this will be one or two month’s later, when the full review is published  online or in print – either way very much in the public arena – and there’s not a thing we can do to change a word.

Which is why, when we opened this month’s Stuff magazine we were thrilled to see that not only had we received a glowing review, but we’d also been awarded the coveted ‘5 STARS’.

Indeed, Jools Whitehorn had the following to say:

“3D printing has broken my heart before, but every time I hope it’ll be different.  And with the Robox, it feels like it is.  3D printing needs to offer a straight-out-of-the-box printing experience, and consistency rather than big promises and failed prints.  There will always be issues related to unsuitable model files, and no relationship is without its hiccups, but thanks to the Robox I think I’m ready to trust a 3D printer again.”

Happily, the reviewers at Stuff acknowledge our efforts to bring 3D printing into the mainstream, which means we’re one step closer to our ultimate goal of seeing a 3D printer in every home and school in the country.

Adding a ‘3D print’ button to animation software – phys.org

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A 3D printer is another tool that is making amazing things easier. This article describes work by a Harvard Uni team who have created software to easily print pose-able figures from their animation software, even animating creatures created in free form design games.

This team of computer graphics experts developed a software tool that achieves two things: it identifies the ideal locations for the action figure’s joints, based on the character’s virtual articulation behavior, and then it optimizes the size and location of those joints for the physical world. For instance, a spindly arm might be too thin to hold a robust joint, and the joints in a curving spine might collide with each other if they are too close.

The software uses a series of optimization techniques to generate the best possible model, incorporating both hinges and ball-and-socket joints. It also builds some friction into these surfaces so that the printed figure will be able to hold its poses.

http://phys.org/news/2012-07-adding-3d-button-animation-software.html