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Emma Elsworthy

New Materials, Endless Possibilities

By | News | 9 Comments

In our quest to make the Robox one of the most functional 3D printers on the market we’re pleased to announce we have extended our current range of filaments. We now have in stock three brand new materials – HIPS, PLA ThermoChrome and Woody. In addition we have added four new materials to the existing SmartReel range.
No other 3D printer currently on the market supports and uses such a wide variety of materials, and this is just the start of our offerings, as in the coming months we will have some fantastic and exciting announcements to share as the possibilities of what you can do with the Robox become endless.

The launch of these new materials is particularly important as one of the key USPs of the Robox is its SmartReel™ system, which enables automatic material recognition and allows users to print a multitude of different materials.

The first material we’re excited to talk about is High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS).
cubes2

This high quality material is as strong and stiff as ABS, but is much easier to print with as it is less likely to shrink or warp. HIPS is a dissolvable filament that is frequently used as support material because it is so easily removable, however the material is also unique as you can sand, glue, prime or paint your prints. This extends the possibility of what you can produce on the Robox – beautiful, functional, bespoke prints decorated any way you want.

HIPS is also ideal for printing in conjunction with ABS as the mechanical properties of the two materials are very similar, and they need to be printed at similar temperatures. The primary difference between the two materials is HIPS uses Limonene as a solvent, which leaves a nicer, cleaner finish.

The second filament now in the SmartReel™ range is ThermoChrome Purple/Pink Thermal Colour Change.
strap 2

ThermoChrome, like normal PLA (Poly-Lactic Acid in full), is a thermoplastic which is extruded from the starch of plants, and as such, under the right conditions is biodegradable and therefore has a much lesser environmental impact than other thermoplastics. So for those of you who are rightly concerned about the planet, this filament is the one for you.

In reality, the ThermoChrome PLA filament prints just like normal PLA and it is hard to tell the difference on first look. However, the one feature of this filament which sets it apart from all others is the additive which enables a colour-changing feature. When the material is cold it is deep purple, but as it warms it changes colour to light pink – perfect when printing wearable items such as necklaces and wrist straps, bird houses (so that you can see when a bird is inside), bath thermometers and children’s toys .

Perhaps one of the most exciting filaments we are adding to the range is Woody.
boat 3

Woody has been supplied to us by PolyMaker, also known as PolyWood™. This product contains no actual wood – but you wouldn’t know it. Instead a foamed structure is activated during the printing process which mimics wood aesthetics – it is the only 3D printable foam material currently on the market. You often cannot tell a part has been 3D printed due to the foaming agent which conceals the laminate layers.

Woody is light weight, so imitates natural wood perfectly – with a density of just 0.8 g/cm³ the material is 35-40% lighter than ordinary PLA and is therefore perfect for printing any number of ‘wooden’ structures from dolls houses and the contents, to garden ornaments, chess sets, pen pots etc.

The material is composed entirely of polymers – unlike other examples which are blends of chopped wood powder and polymer – so excellent print quality comes without the risk of nozzle jams, and the surface of the printed items feels textured, resembling real wood.

We’ve also added four new SmartReel colours – Sky Blue and Slime Green, both available in PLA and ABS.

Our priority for the Robox is to bring our customers the very best in 3D printing materials, so we will be continuing to expand our range in the coming months.

We are currently testing a further 15 different nylons in an attempt to bring you the best of the bunch, most have printed extremely well and look great, but we want to make sure they are also tough, strong and flexible – the mechanical properties are just as important as the aesthetics.

And in addition we are set to partner with two of the biggest names in the 3D printer filament industry, to widen our range even further, further announcements to come soon so watch this space…

For those of you who have been thinking about purchasing a Robox, now is definitely the time to do so! To celebrate the introduction of our new materials, for a limited period we are offering the Robox at its normal RRP of £999.90, but with 3 sample reels of the NEW filaments included for FREE. For further details or to purchase click here http://robox.cel-uk.com/rbx01.html

 

ROBOX NEWS – JULY 2015

By | News, Stuff and Things | One Comment

Welcome to the Robox newsletter! Communication has always been important to us at Robox HQ, but it’s easy to get wrapped up with in-house developments and forget to tell everyone what we’ve been working on.

So from this point forward we’ll be making the effort to communicate with you on a monthly basis about our hardware and software developments, company changes or progress, what’s in the news, staffing updates and so on.

HARDWARE UPDATE – Dual Material Head

A couple of weeks ago we reported on the delay of the dual material head, as we want to be completely transparent about how things are developing. The response from our resellers and end users was overwhelming positive, with most happy to wait for a reliable and tested design.

Progress since this point has been good, tooling for the dual material reel holders is about to start after several rounds of prototypes (which were printed on the Robox of course!).

We have received the first samples of the X-carriage cable and Bowden tube management system. This will improve bed homing and stop larger prints from interfering with the cables. This is especially important as we move to dual material printing as the weight and force that the Bowden tubes apply to the x-carriage may affect the sensitivity of the bed probing. So far things are looking good and tests are well underway.

The design for the Dual Material Head has been approved with both the factory and the designers and a larger sample set is now being made. The manufacturing of these samples will test the new assembly and ensure that the assembly is easy and will be consistent. These heads will then be divided to do a range of tests, including life, functionality, quality of printing and performance testing, and some of them will add in the development of the software.

HARDWARE UPDATE – other developments

Design work has started on a Drag Knife Cutter and plotter pen holder; these are just being finalised before we start preliminary testing.

The extruder has been improved and we have added an additional internal part that allows the printing of flexible materials – early testing is extremely positive and the ability to print flexible parts will expand the possibilities for Robox even further. These changes are relatively minor and upgrade parts will be made available for users to buy and upgrade their extruders, we will also offer an upgrade service as I expect will our affiliated resellers.

SOFTWARE UPDATE

We’ve been working hard to incorporate the new features required for dual-material printing. The post-processor has been completely re-written to improve speed, quality and to integrate new dual-material features. You’ll be able to choose which material is used for support or which colour to use for each component. Grouping of objects is being added so that composite dual material objects can be constructed from ordinary single material models. Dual material mode is of course automatically available when a second extruder and dual material head are present.

We’re going to release another version of AutoMaker before that though. Version 1.02.00 is just about to enter beta testing and includes lots of new features to make printing easier. Some of the highlights are:

  • Raft support
  • Filament and Print Profile libraries – a much simpler way of managing print data that can be accessed from any screen
  • Lean, twist and turn model rotation – we’ve retained snap to ground but these controls will help with precise positioning of objects
  • Time, Weight and Cost display – this is automatically calculated for the standard profiles and the currently selected custom profile
  • Undo/Redo of commands
  • Inclusion of the latest version of Slic3r (1.2.8) which is much faster than the old version

We’ve also introduced the first set of UI changes that will simplify and enhance print progress information and have made many small modifications based on suggestions from our users. 1.02.00 is going to be a great upgrade that we’re sure you’ll enjoy.

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

Affiliated Reseller Scheme

We are delighted to welcome Le Comptoir 3D on board as a registered Affiliated Reseller for CEL Robox in France – visit http://www.lecomptoir3d.com/ for more details.
Capture2

Press coverage

Last month has seen significant coverage appear across 11 international news sites, from the likes of 3DPrint.com, Tech Digest, 3DPrintNews, Microfabricator, Shiny Shiny and 3DPrintingIndustry.

Our biggest news stories focussed on Robox inventor Chris Elsworthy and his struggle with dyslexia growing up, and how he sees 3D printing as another way to showcase the creative talents of dyslexic children.

We also had great success with our ‘Dad Bod’ story – one of our incredibly talented service technicians designed an up-to-date version of the David’s Michelangelo by giving him a ‘dad bod’ – a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.

This month has already seen some fantastic coverage dropping in, with Education Dive picking up on the educational opportunities presented by 3D printers – http://www.educationdive.com/news/stem-expands-pathways-for-students-with-disabilities/401668/

EdSurge illustrates how 3D printers can help dyslexic people – https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-07-04-how-3d-printers-help-learners-overcome-dyslexia

While Machine Design is a feature on the internals of the Robox – a great read if you want to know how our printer is put together – http://machinedesign.com/3d-printing/3d-printer-offers-filament-recognitionDavid_reworked_Front_portrait_replication

Robox Video

We’re tryng to supply our resellers and customers with as much information as possible for the Robox, so have introduced a new video which highlights some of the product’s key USPs, such as the unique HeadLock™ system, AutoMaker™ software, bed-levelling technology, and so on.

To watch the video on our website please visit:
http://www.cel-robox.com/video-robox-features-disco-ball-not-included/

To share the video amongst your own customers please use the following link:

https://youtu.be/gKkfbfxrSDU

To download the video for yourselves use the following embed:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/gKkfbfxrSDU?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>


INTRODUCTION TO THE CEL TEAM

Each month we’ll be introducing you to a member of the CEL Technology team – we’re keen for you to get to know us, and feel it’s important that we work together to take the Robox project forwards.

This month we’re featuring TWO key members of the team – TWO because it’s hard to talk about one without the other, as together they founded the CEL name and launched the Robox 3D printer.

Introducing our very own COO Kenneth Tam, who heads up operations in Hong Kong and China, and oversees all internationals sales, and CEO Chris Elsworthy, who heads up operations in the UK and oversees all design and production of the 3D printer and associated products.
Chris  Kenneth

Kenneth and Chris have been business partners for 8 years, after first joining forces to launch the successful POWER8workshop.

Prior to forming CEL the pair had been business acquaintances for a number of years while working for other companies, before a taxi ride together led to Chris sharing his design ideas with Kenneth, who, as an experienced businessman immediately recognised the potential. Further discussions led to a very firm friendship and trust in each other’s capabilities.

Kenneth’s background is in marketing, manufacturing, sales and distribution, while Chris is an inventor and design engineer by trade. Since partnering, the pair have gone on to sell power tools internationally, win awards for their innovation, appear on television shows, and are now trying to secure their place within the 3D printing industry.

Each has a passion for creating innovative items which are fun to use and fulfil a gap in the market.

 

Robox Press Coverage – June 2015

By | Press | No Comments

30.06.15 – Why Maker Technology is Crucial
eSchool News

29.06.15 – The New Manufacturing
Manufacturing.net

26.06.15 – Start Up brings ‘Affordable’ 3D Printing to the Home
This is Money

15.06.15 – Father’s Day Gifts
Shiny Shiny

05.06.15 – The Link between Dyslexia and 3D Printing
3DPrint.com

04.06.15 – Michelangelo’s David gets a Dad Bod
3DPrintNews

04.06.15 – Create your own Dad Bod
Tech Digest

04.06.15 – Michelangelo’s David gets a Dad Bod
Microfabricator

04.06.15 – Create your own Dad Bod
3D Businesses

04.06.15 – Don’t Sweat It, Just Print It
3D Printing Industry

03.06.15 – Dad Bods Rule
3DPrint.com

Where is my Dual Material Head?

By | Design, News, Prototype Build | 7 Comments

UPDATE! Check this one out http://www.cel-robox.com/dual-material-robox-upgrades/

Sorry…

At the beginning of the year we estimated that we would be shipping the Dual Material Head at the end of Quarter 2, 2015, and many of you have pre-ordered your heads so you can take full advantage of all the extra functions Robox brings to 3D printing; for this we wholeheartedly thank you.

We are truly sorry for the delays so far, but development of new technology is an unpredictable business and we really want to make sure that we give you the best product possible when it is finally released.

What has been done so far?

We are over 90% on our way to seeing the Dual Material Head enter mass production, but as most of you will know the last 10% is the trickiest part of the whole process.

We have been working very hard to ensure that when the new technology is released it is as near to perfect as possible, to ensure our customers enjoy a smooth and faultless experience, so we are not about to rush the last 10% when we are so close to achieving something very special.

Even before we had released the first version of Robox we had already started on the dual material system ensuring as much of the work was included in the original unit as possible.  We had to ensure the Robox had the potential to be a multi-functional platform from the very beginning.  So we included the location features for the second extruder, a path for the filament to reach the head and all the electronics to drive the system.

Robox then exploded onto the market and we have spent the last 8 months making sure we could provide the necessary support to our customers, getting all appropriate systems in place and ironing out the few teething troubles which should be expected with the launch of any new piece of technology.  To say the last few months have been somewhat of a whirlwind, while very exciting, is an understatement.

We are now at the point where we think Robox is the best machine on the market, and feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive.

During this time, work on the Dual Material Head has continued, and we are almost at the point where we can give the nod to the production lines to get started – almost, but not quite.

There are 4 distinct areas that need finishing before the Dual Material Head can be released; the head itself, Cable and Bowden tube management to the x-carriage, the second SmartReel reader and holder, and the firmware and software to handle all this.

  • The head; we’ve designed, manufactured and tested 2 new ways of sealing the needle valves into the head; we’ve temporarily abandoned one of these designs as although it showed great promise it requires a much longer development time; the second is a more subtle change to the existing system which is now being life-tested to ensure smooth continued operation.
  • Cable and Bowden tube management; this has been designed to ensure it is backward compatible. Stage 1 samples have been made and tested and we are now waiting for the production parts to be built and tested.
    Cable Managment
  • The second reel holder; on the surface this seems the easiest of tasks but has been the cause of some delay. The mechanics are simple enough but some of the electronic parts required have a very long lead time and even samples of them are taking a long time to procure. The factory is now making prototypes and we should see them at the end of the month.
    Dual Material Reel holder
  • Firmware and Software; the firmware only needed subtle tweaks and is all but complete. The software is more than 50% of the entire task, not only do we need an intuitive way of allowing the users to select and assign extruders to objects or tasks, but the structure to enable these to be processed into the final Robox commands. Our two senior software engineers Tony and Ian have been diligently integrating all the features required to support 2 materials into the interface, working closely to ensure that the gcode generator and post-processors have all the variables required to create the correct Robox commands. This has been completed to testing level and we now have a development version of AutoMaker with material assignment, Dual Material Head support. Ian has taken this opportunity to scratch-build the post-processor to improve its output and to handle multiple extruder support. This is the final part of the software development required to start multiple material printing.

What’s not finished yet?

Testing, testing, testing.  As you can see from the above, in essence the Dual Material Head is virtually complete and we are at the point where we could press the button on the launch of the head.  But we want to be at the point where we are very confident about performance and life, and as such we are spending the next 8 or so weeks undergoing a rigorous testing process.  This includes driving the heads with the software as a user would, testing the production samples of the cable management system, and testing the latest version of the dual reel holding designs.

In addition we will conduct final testing of the software to ensure we’ve covered all possible scenarios, and while the gcode creation is well into its development we need to make sure it has all the functions and stability essential for final release.

So what is the new ETA on the Dual Material Head?

So the good news is that while we’ve not met our early estimated date, we are confident the new head will be released to the public in November 2015.  But please note this is an estimate, what we don’t want to do is promise an exact date and then find we’re a few weeks out. As well as the immense amount of testing we have to allocate time for tooling and production.

Why is it worth the wait?

At this point you need to remember why you invested in the Robox in the first place – this all comes back to the reason why Robox fills a gap in the current 3D printing market.  Robox will be the ONLY 3D printer out there capable of additional functions such as dual material printing, paste extrusion, drag knife cutting, laser cutting and more. The Dual Material Head is the first of many heads we intend to release.

You’ve already bought a 3D printer which arguably produces better prints than anything else on the market in a similar price bracket, or even at a higher price point.  And soon you’ll be able to produce prints in different colours and with different materials which expands the range of what can be printed enormously.

Printing in different colours means you can print coloured logos, patterns, light pipes and more, the list is endless!
2 yoyo2

Creating parts with multiple materials which have different properties allows you to print items that have a hard core and a soft over-mould; for example, a bottle cap with a rubber seal or axles with bearing surfaces.

The Dual Material Head greatly expands the range of replacement objects you can print, such as buttons, phone cases, handles, chair pads, screws, plugs, watch straps, hinges, hearing aids, over-moulds etc.

And perhaps most importantly, users will no longer have to consider whether the design they have found is suitable for 3D printing – you’ll be able to download any model from repositories online and be confident of the final print.

Printing with two different materials – such as ABS and HIPS at the same time – means you could have support material which is more easily removed as it is different to the material used for the actual design.

Robox hardware doesn’t have the same caveats that others do; we don’t need to retract, cool or wipe the nozzles, we don’t have to build time-consuming, wasteful towers or shields to reduce cross contamination of materials.

The needle valve system ensures that only the material being printed is coming out of the nozzles. The needle valve system is good on single material prints as it allows multiple nozzle sizes but truly shows its potential during multiple material prints.

The user will not have to consider every aspect of a multi-material print, the interface we’ve designed is intuitive and the workflow simple to use; even handling situations where the material attached to the hardware doesn’t match the project. A simple change to the extruder which will be released very soon will introduce the ability to print a more diverse selection of materials, and as such, prints.

In conclusion, the Robox will be able to produce the best multi-material prints of any FFF printer in the market, development is well under way.

Thank You…

This all said, some of you have already placed your pre-orders for the Dual Material Head and are getting impatient.  We totally understand, and hope that this explanation on our part helps to put your mind at rest and retains your confidence in what we are trying to achieve. We’re extremely excited about what the Dual Material Head brings to the Robox – the wait will definitely be worth it.

UPDATE! Check this one out http://www.cel-robox.com/dual-material-robox-upgrades/

CASE STUDY: KITRONIK

By | News | No Comments

This week we have been talking to another of our Affiliated Resellers Kitronik – a company which specialises in targeting the education market predominantly, but also the hobby market. Kitronik chose to invest in the Robox above all other 3D printers on the market, read below to find out why.

Tell us about Kitronik – when did you set up the company and why?

We (Kevin Spurr and Geoff Hampson) started Kitronik in 2005. At the time we working at the same company designing wireless alarm systems after graduating from Loughborough University, where we both studied electronics related engineering degrees. Geoff was designing electronic kits in his spare time to use at a ‘Scout Technology Camp’ he helped run each year. At the time Geoff couldn’t find that many interesting projects on the market so he decided to design his own. Some teachers took an interest in them and their clearly written instructions.

What are you better known for selling to hobbyists and teachers?

The majority of Kitronik’s sales have been into the education market. We sell to many UK schools and in addition to this we have distributors selling our products in lots of countries around the world. We are increasingly seeing more sales into the hobby market. Our simple instruction and resources mean that anyone can have fun learning about electronic circuits.

We have tried to create a range of products that students or hobbyists would want to use once they have built them. For example we have a wide range of amplifier kits that you can use to make your own speaker dock. Our newer amplifier kits use modern ‘Class D’ amplifier ICs and can be powered using a micro-usb power supply (which you get with most mobile phones).
fernwood 1

Kitronik is a unique brand, as it supplies directly to 3,000+ secondary schools in the UK, in addition to selling online. What are your relationships like with the schools / how closely do you work with them?

Kitronik has now sold to over 3,000 schools in the UK. The education market has a particular set of needs. Products need to be supplied quickly and in the kind of format that is needed for a classroom environment. Key to this is having well written support material, which we have for all of our products. This material includes the vast majority of what a teacher would need to deliver the project in a classroom and can easily be tailored to their particular needs.

The way the products are designed is also very important. The need to be easy to assemble and parts need to be well spaced. As we design our own circuits we can use teacher’s feedback to make improvements to our designs.

When teachers do come across something they don’t understand it is important to have staff who can support them straight away so they can quickly get back to teaching.

Why did you decide to enter the 3D printing arena?

Design and Technology is a fast moving subject. When we started Kitronik most students made the cases for their project using hand tools. Then laser cutters and milling machines started to become really popular. In recent years 3D printers have started to become more popular as the cost of these units has fallen. As a result we started to get asked about how to use them with our range of Kitronik kits, so we thought it was probably a good idea to start selling one.

The Robox is the ONLY 3D printer you stock, why is this?

We looked at lots of printers before selecting the Robox. It had all of the features you would expect from a 3D printer, but it also had a few key ones that we thought were essential for schools.

The most important of these was the fact the case locks while it is printing. The nozzles and bed get very hot during the print process and we didn’t want an opportunity for students to get injured if the printer was left unattended.

In addition to this the automatic features such as bed leveling and filament recognition mean teachers and students can produce prints with minimal input (and time).

How do you think the Robox compliments your existing range of products?

By adding the Robox to our range we can now offer a complete project solution to our customers. They can design / build a circuit and then design and print a case for that circuit all using products from Kitronik.

What are you trying to achieve as a reseller within the 3D printing arena? 

We want to use 3D printing as a medium for allowing users to be even more creative in the way they house our range of kits. 3D printing should allow users to create fantastic looking products that are unique to their own requirements and style.
kitronik pics

What can you offer a customer / teacher / student / hobbyist that other resellers can’t?

Kitronik will be providing a wide range of resources and support material specifically designed for use with our products. We aim to supply 3D CAD models of our kits so that the user can use these as a starting point for their design. We are also looking to create a number of ‘inspirational’ designs that will hopefully show users what is possible. In addition to this we will tailor a range of resources to fit the requirements of the school curriculum.

We have just hired our own CAD designer so that we can create a large range of printable models based around our kits.

In addition to this we have been working with My Mini Factory to create a range of printable designs based around our kits. You can find these models at https://www.kitronik.co.uk/3dprints

You are currently in the process of putting together a 3D Printing Kitronik University course – tell us more about what the course will entail –

We are currently putting together a set of 3D Printing resources that will form a ‘Kitronik University’ course. This will explain subjects such as how 3D printers work and how to create designs that can be successfully 3D printed.

Part of the reason you attended the Robox Affiliation Programme is because you have a great relationship with your customers, and provide after-care support. What other resources do you have on offer aside from your product offerings?

In addition to the ‘learning’ resources that we are creating we also wanted to create some Robox specific tutorials and guides. The resources we have created so far (more to come) can be found at https://www.kitronik.co.uk/3d-printing.html

We are always happy to speak to customers and help them out with any questions they might have, both before and after purchasing.

What would be your one piece of advice to anyone considering buying a 3D printer?

I would start by looking at what you want to use a printer for, where it will be used and who by.

For example if you want to leave it unattended around children then a looking case is probably a must have feature. If you have lots of different users using the printer then auto setup features are helpful. Lastly if you don’t want to just be stuck printing PLA material then a heated bed and enclosed case are essential. These are just a few examples and price doesn’t always relate directly to quality.

To watch Kevin Spurr demonstrate the Robox visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HiHUDqqtek

To get in touch with the Kitronik team:

Tel: 0845 8380781
Email:  sales@kitronik.co.uk
Web: www.kitronik.co.uk
Address: Kitronik Ltd, Unit 3a, Shipstones Business Centre, North Gate, Nottingham. NG7 7FN.

Robox Press Coverage – May 2015

By | Press | No Comments

26.05.15 – Most Innovative Gadgets
Gismodo UK

20.05.15 – Top 5 things to do at TMRW
Manchester Evening News

15.05.15 – Ed Stone prints
Guido Fawkes

14.05.15 – An Interview with Chris Elsworthy
Fabbaloo

11.05.15 – Robox and the Election
3diot.net

08.05.15 – The Solution to your Pigeon Problem
Brick Underground

08.05.15 – 3D Printed Owls
Carbonated TV

05.05.15 – 3D Printing Hacks that will change your Life
Entrepreneur

05.05.15 – 3D Printed Hawks and Owls
6sqft

CASE STUDY: 3D PRINTWORLD

By | Education | No Comments

Today we’ve been talking to Allen Cosby from 3D Printworld, one of our Affiliated Resellers and earliest advocates of the Robox 3D printer.  3D Printworld specialise in selling within the 3D printing arena, but are also focussed on educating interested people on the benefits of the technology, and as such host regular workshops in Milton Keynes which allow people to gain a better understanding of additive manufacturing.

The next seminar will be held Saturday 6th June at 9.30am at the Harben Conference Centre, Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes.  If you are interested in attending the workshop, click here to find out more and register – http://www.3d-printworld.co.uk/events

Tell us about 3DPrintworld – when did you set up the company and why?

The background to 3D Printworld is rooted in our technology and engineering consultancy. Since 2007 we have been managing complex development projects for a range clients in the public and private sector.  Over recent years we have seen our clients increasingly use additive manufacturing (3D Printing) to help with rapid prototyping and overcome other production and manufacturing challenges. Having become increasingly involved with these projects it quickly became apparent to us that additive manufacturing and ‘3D Printing’ was an exciting, fast moving and dynamic technology, and something we wanted to be involved in.

In addition to working with our commercial clients we also started to become ‘makers’ ourselves, experimenting with our own desktop 3D Printers to really get a feel for the technology.  From this passion 3D Printworld was born in 2013.

What are you trying to achieve as a reseller within the 3D printing arena? 

We really want to add value.  Anyone can go online and buy themselves a 3D Printer. We want to be a supplier with a human face, focusing on our local region to help guide companies and individuals through the confusing minefield that purchasing a 3D Printer can sometimes seem. We want them to end up with a product that is right for them, and add value by supporting them with training, guidance and maintenance services.  As well as selling 3D Printers to the local area, we are able to offer online support too for those customers who buy directly from www.3d-printworld.co.uk

 How many 3D printers do you currently have in your repertoire?

At the moment we have 2, we sell both the Robox and the Ultimaker. We are currently looking at launching other brands / ranges, but we want to keep it to a maximum of 3 or 4 brands. This is because we want to build a close working relationship with all of our suppliers, to make sure we understand the products and can really add the value to our customers with our tailored training and support.

How does the Robox fit into your repertoire of 3D printers – how is it different?

The Robox is our ‘go to’ printer. It combines a high spec and a range of unique features, with usability that caters for all levels of proficiency. It a good looking product and is built to a high standard so it’s a printer we are happy to be associated with. Another key point is the fact that the Robox is designed in the UK. The UK has always produced some of the world’s best Engineers and Product Designers.  Chris and his team at Robox have carried on that tradition, and we are keen to support that, as are many of our customers who react extremely positively when they find out that it’s a UK design.

In addition to your affiliated reseller status, you are also a little different to other resellers because you also run seminars about 3D printing, tell us why you started running these seminars?

We think that the levels of interest in 3D Printing are so high at the moment because the possibilities really fire people’s imagination. Whenever we demonstrate one of our printers all kinds of passers-by are immediately drawn to it. They find watching the process fascinating and are always keen to find out more about how it works and what it can do.  We wanted to give as many people as possible the chance to see 3D Printers in actions and learn about the possibilities they offer. So many people see 3D Printing in the press and on television, but feel it is not accessible to them.  We decided to stage these free events to allow people to engage with us, and come along in a no pressure environment to learn more. So far the response has been outstanding.

When and where is your next seminar going to be held, and how to visitors attend?

The next event will be staged in Milton Keynes on Saturday 6th June, from 9.30am.  You can find out more and register to attend by visiting www.3d-printworld.co.uk/events.

What will people learn about if they attend your next seminar?

The lecture will cover:

  • How does 3D Printing work and what are the different methods
  • How is 3D Printing used today and what is the potential use for the future
  • How the technology has become accessible through the introduction of ‘Prosumer’ desktop 3D Printing
  • A demonstration of the process: 3D Design to slicing in Automaker, then printing on a Robox.
  • Types of desktop 3D Printing – Which printer for which application?
  • Open discussions – How could you use this technology at home, at work or in the classroom.

What type of people usually attend your seminars – are they usually full of geeks and nerds (?!), or are you appealing to everyone, regardless of age and knowledge base?

We have a very diverse mixture of people who attend our lectures.  At our last event we had teachers and students, engineers, artists and designers.  They ranged from the enthusiasts who were building their own 3D Printers at home to those who had heard about it in the press or from their children, they were simply curious and wanted to learn more about this exciting technology.

 At the seminars, what are some of the strangest questions you have been asked?

We had quite a few innovative ideas such as tactile boards for those with visual impairment, and archaeological artefacts. I think the strangest thing I have been asked is if the printer can print oversize celebrity heads for a white collar boxing match!

 Have you had anyone attending your seminars who already own 3D printers?  If so, what are they printing?

We have had a few people who had made them out of kits, and they were very impressed by the Robox. One of these home makers was currently in the process of printing a second 3D printer for his wife.  He brought the printer along to the event so that was interesting to see!

Have you seen a shift in the types of people wanting to purchase a 3D printer over the past 12 months?

We are definitely seeing a bigger pickup from organisations rather than individuals. Educational establishments and SME’s are realising that they must embrace the technology or risk being left behind. I also think more people are seeing the value of buying a high quality product like the Robox that prints ‘out of the box’, rather than risking building their own from a kit.

What would be your one piece of advice to anyone considering buying a 3D printer?

Our best bit of advice would be to really think about how you are going to use your printer and what you need it to do for you or your business. It’s easy to be seduced by a cool brand or by a particular feature, but think about what your printed models need to do and choose your printer from there. And of course, seek advice from the experts if needed to help you make the most of all the information about the current 3D Printers and market.

To get in touch with the 3DPrintworld team:

Tel: 07815 108233

Email: info@3d-Printworld.co.uk

Web: www.3d-printworld.co.uk

8 Pyms Stables
Milton Keynes
MK16 0FG
England

TRMW CONFERENCE 20.05.2105

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Yesterday our very own Chris Elsworthy attended a speaker panel at the TRMW Conference at the IP EXPO Conference Centre in Manchester, along with other panel members Chris Thorpe, founder of @icanmakehq, James Bruton of XRobots Guy, XRobots.co.uk, designer Brendan Dawes, and Professor Brian Derby, a lecturer at University of Manchester

The purpose of the panel was to discuss “Material World: A Printed Future? – Why make a thousand units a thousand miles away, when you can make exactly what the customer wants, on the spot, from a standard set of raw materials. New materials and advanced manufacturing are set to disrupt every aspect of production from extraction to consumption. Or are they?”

An hour of discussion crossed a multitude of topics, but here are some of the questions, and Chris’s replies:

Why hasn’t 3D printing caught on so far in the home?

  • “The main reason is a lack of understanding about the technology and what it is capable of. And in particular, what we would need a 3D printer for. There will be a slow social change as more and more people become makers and adoption of consumer 3D printers increases as a result. Also important is the difference between children and adults – children get 3D printing straight away but it can take a while to convince many adults about the technology.”

What are the problems with 3D printing and 3D designs?

  • “Too often, people just want to recreate objects which already exist. They say that they want to replicate that glass or that toothbrush, but these designs were made for different manufacturing processes. In the future, there will be more designs made specifically for 3D printers and as a result users will get much better and more satisfying results as the technology matures.”

What is the far future of 3D printing?

  • “3D printing with more and more types of materials will make 3D printing more and more useful. Imagine being able to 3D print an entire combustion engine, complete with everything you need including the oil. Once this can be done efficiently, manufacturing processes will change dramatically.”

Chris was delighted to meet some like-minded people who understand his vision for the future of 3D printing, included Tom Cheesewright, BBC Tech expert and founder of Book of the Future.
tom cheesewright

CASE STUDY: CREAT3D

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Here at Robox we rely on solidifying good relationships with our resellers, and we’re always on the look out for those that can bring something a little different to the Robox project.

All of our current resellers bring something unique and promising for the Robox brand, and we’re proud of the partnerships we have built to date.

Moving forward, we will feature a number of interview-style case studies of our resellers on this blog, allowing YOU to decide where you should buy your Robox, and where you should go for advice.

Today we’re talking to CREAT3D, our only reseller to offer customers the option of seeing the Robox printer amongst many others in their showroom on the high street – allowing users to have a play with the technology before choosing to buy.  At a time where the internet and distance selling leads the way, CREAT3D is something of a phenomenon.

Tell us about CREAT3D – when did you set up the company and why?

CREAT3D is the UK’s leading independent specialist in desktop 3D printers and 3D scanners.

CREAT3D was founded in 2012 with the desire to bring the best of the desktop 3D printers in the market together in one place for our customers to choose from, whilst providing first class buying advice and on-going customer service and technical support. In 2014 we opened the first 3D printer store in the UK outside of London.

What are you trying to achieve as a reseller within the 3D printing arena?

As we are a specialist we know our products inside out, and we also know what our customers wish to use our 3D printers for, whether that be for a business, in education or as an individual. At CREAT3D we want to share our knowledge, and ensure that this emerging technology is properly integrated, used and understood by our customers, to help them to maximise the benefits of desktop 3D printing.

We know you are very selective about who you work with and which 3D printers you sell, why is this and what are you looking for?

We are selective with our partners, as we want to offer our customers the best product and best 3D printing experience possible. We look for high quality and well-designed 3D printers, from manufacturers that offer good support and listen to feedback to make improvements.

Most 3D printing resellers operate online only, what made you decide to open a store on the high street?

Opening a store was really important to us. We understand the needs of our customers and we know that Businesses want to be able to come and see the printers in action, and to compare and choose the best printer based on their requirements, when talking to our team.

Equally we wanted the space to be accessible to the public so they can start to learn about this emerging technology, which will have an increasing impact on our lives over the next few years.

How many 3D printers do you currently have in your repertoire?

We have a selective range, offering our customers the best products, with a variety of different characteristics to suit differing needs. To date, we have approximately 20 different 3D printers, from 8 manufacturers.

How does the Robox fit into your repertoire of 3D printers – how is it different?

The Robox offers our customers a huge amount for the price point. It is our lowest priced model, but it packs a punch! We like it because it is intelligently designed and future proof, with the dual nozzles (and dual material upgrade kit coming soon), as well as the ability to print in a wide array of different materials. It is the only 3D printer in our range that has been designed from scratch to be a platform, which will be upgradeable across its life, instead of being replaced by a new model.

Unlike other resellers, you’re even selective about your customers, making sure they really buy something which suits their needs, why is this?

There is not a one-size fits all 3D printer. Like with many technical products, there are differing machines with differing capabilities, and which give different outputs. We consult with our clients in the first instance to understand what they are trying to achieve, and then we provide buying advice for which printers may best suit them. Ultimately, our customers are not buying a 3D printer, they are buying what the printer produces.

Another thing which sets you apart from many other 3D printer resellers is that you often ask customers to send you details of what they want to print before deciding which 3D printer is right for their needs, have you found this reduces the number of unsatisfied customers as they’re then able to make a more considered purchase?

Absolutely! We focus on providing excellent customer service, and there is nothing worse than a customer being in the wrong machine for the job. Customers can send us a test print for a particular printer, so they can see the result before they commit to a purchase.

If people visit you in Caversham, can they have a little play with some of the technology on display?

Of course! This was one of the main reasons why we opened a 3D printer store. Many people have heard of the technology and may have seen it online, but few get to see it in action in the flesh, so we open up our store to allow people to see it, touch it and understand it.

In addition to your reseller status, you are rather unique in that you offer technical support to all of your customers after they have bought a product, have you found this to be necessary due to the ‘newness’ of the 3D printing industry?

Yes, we offer a number of different training and installation options that greatly benefit our customers. The technology at this level is new and it does require an understanding of the whole 3D printing process, from designing for 3D printing, through to how to operate the machine and even how materials can have an impact on the end result.

Have you seen a shift in the types of people wanting to purchase a 3D printer over the past 12 months?

The Robox has been really popular with both individuals and businesses due to its price point and capabilities.

What would be your one piece of advice to anyone considering buying a 3D printer?

Talk to us first! Make sure you are in the right printer for the right job. Let us walk and talk you through the options so you can make an informed decision. Trying to compare 3D printers based on stats like the layer height or resolution, doesn’t work!

To get in touch with the CREAT3D team:

Tel: 0800 689 1011

Email: info@creat3d.co.uk

Web: www.desktop3dprinter.com

Or visit their showroom at 38C Church Street | Caversham | Reading | RG4 8AU