For a great deal of parts such as the steering wheel plate and the brake pot hanger, the only alternative to Robox would have been folded aluminium. Not only does this increase the chance of the parts being incorrect, but it would have cost around £150-£175 for the steering wheel plate, and £75-£100 for the brake pot hanger, both with a 2-week minimum lead time.
Contrasting with Robox, the steering wheel plate cost £2.66 and was ready to fit in just over 3 hours. The brake pot hanger cost £14 and took 10 hours to print, which again is much cheaper and faster than any alternative.
Additionally, we find that in many cases, 3D printed ABS parts are also more aesthetically pleasing than folded aluminium, and seem to suit the nature of our cars. For example, the switch box design would not have been possible in aluminium; it would have simply been a folded sheet with wires protruding out the back. Not only is there a safety aspect involved, but the ability to create a sealed box with all wires and connections hidden looks much better than a folded metal sheet. Again, this is achieved with costs being reduced from around £60 to £5.37.
For parts such as the rain light cover, the only alternative to Robox would be injection moulded plastic, or carbon fibre. Again, these options are unfeasible, as both would cost hundreds of pounds. With Robox, the component cost £2.95, and was complete in under 3 hours.
Most of the tooling we manufacture is used to remove wheel bearings, etc. These tools are usually fairly intricate and cost in the region of £300-£400. With a trial piece printed to test fits, usually for under £0.50, we can be sure that these tools will be correct.
Overall, in the past year I would make a conservative estimate that by using Robox, we have saved at least £3,000 and reclaimed around 2 months of lost build time in comparison to alternative methods.Tour De ForceMatt Scott, Design Engineer
Before Robox, we had no ability to prototype brake bells. The only option for us was to send them for manufacture, assuming our measurements were correct.
As you can imagine, a few parts came back and didn't fit, costing us hundreds of pounds, and weeks in lost build time.
The other alternative for components like this would be to send one for manufacture, receive it to check the fit, then go ahead with the remaining parts. However, this again is fairly unfeasible due to time constraints, and would still have cost hundreds for the single brake bell to be potentially wrong.
Ultimately, if the whole set of bells were incorrect, it would have cost us something in the region of £2,000. Robox, in comparison, used around £2 of plastic, and reduced prototype time to a single day.
We can realistically say that our Robox printer paid for itself with this one job!Tour De ForceMatt Scott, Design Engineer
Enhancing Tour De Force capabilities
They already use Robox and RoboxDual to manufacture parts, but TDF's founder and managing director, Matt Faulks, is taking 3D printing to the next level with RoboxPRO.
The brake pot hanger is a real production part printed in ABS.
Before being machined in metal, TDF create a rapid prototype of the brake bell with Robox.
Printed in ABS, the switch box is an end-use part fitted into this Sauber C30 F1 car.
The rain light cover looks just like any other production part on this BAR Honda F1 car.
The steering wheel plate was manufactured very cost-effectively using Robox 3D printers.
Design Engineer Matt Scott uses Autodesk Fusion 360 to design parts and Robox 3D printers to make them. He’s looking forward to using RoboxPRO to manufacture larger, structural components.
The CEL Robox and RoboxDual 3D printers have been a revelation to us, and an absolute pleasure to work with over the past year. We currently have two Robox machines, which have over 1,000 hours of combined printing time. This has been achieved with the upmost reliability, with both 3D printers requiring nothing more than minimal maintenance.
As a result, we can confidently leave components printing overnight, returning to work the next day with high quality parts ready to use. The impact of this to our business is immeasurable. Not only have we seen a massive reduction in lead times (in some cases from months to the same day), we have also entirely eliminated rejected parts, reducing our costs massively. The reason this was possible is down to the high quality and tolerance control of the Robox prints. We can be sure that if a trial print fits, the same component when machined will also fit.
On top of this, we use our 3D printed components directly on historic Formula One cars, which has enabled us to achieve race victories at the highest level of Motorsport.
In short, CEL and Robox are now an integral part of how we operate as a business, and a major key in our success. The quality, consistency and cost effectiveness of a Robox 3D printer is unmatched. We are soon to add a RoboxPRO to our line-up, and eagerly anticipate what the future holds for CEL and their 3D printing technology.Matt ScottDesign Engineer
RoboxPRO is on the cover of Develop3D April 2018 magazine!
On the 4 page spread inside you will learn about the CEL development of Robox and how we are proud to see that so many of our early innovations have been so widely duplicated in competitors to improve the ease of 3D printing for everyone. In a market where so many machines shown no innovation at all over the past 5 years, Robox has lead the way in terms of new features. Such as dual material printing and material control, adaptive bed levelling and automated setup, filament delivery sensing and error response, reel recognition and simplified user interface.
Read the article to find out why CEL made a 3D printer and the key design intent for the development process and how we used our manufacturing experience to offer a machine with such advanced features at such a low price.
Find the April 2018 edition here, free if you are registered from the UK. https://www.develop3d.com/downloads/index.php
You can also read the web article here https://www.develop3d.com/profiles/the-reel-deal-CEL-Robox-desktop-3D-printing-engineering
The big change with this machine is that it is manufactured not in the Far East, but in CEL’s Portishead factory near Bristol.