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Grant Mackenzie

“Superb” 3D printing with Robox at King Edward VI Community College

By | Education, News | No Comments

King Edward VI Community College

Our Robox 3D printers and the CEL UK-based support team have been superb. Students of all ages, from our primary school partners to Post-16 students, have all been able to access and use the Robox software and hardware systems effectively. They have inspired students and led to numerous STEM Big Bang competition wins. Further to this, our work as a community Fab Lab has allowed organisations and individuals to develop ideas on a personal level or commercially.

The Robox technical support team are second to none and offer excellent training materials to ensure systems are kept up and running. CEL are always keen to support users with emerging applications of their machines and illustrate their forward and positive principles.

I would recommend Robox to any educational establishment looking at purchasing 3D printing systems.

David IrishHead of Design & Technology

Low-Volume Production of Formula 1 Parts with Robox

By | Stuff and Things | No Comments

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

Prototyping F1 Brake Bells

By | Stuff and Things | No Comments

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

Manufacturing real Formula 1 parts with Robox

By | News | No Comments
 

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.

Tour De Force
Motorsport power test, calibration and development services
www.tour-de-force.co.uk

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 launches at Bett 2018

By | News | 13 Comments

CEL is the manufacturer of a range of low-cost power tools and the hugely successful POWER8 Workshop, an award-winning cordless benchtop power tool innovation originally featured on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. As a manufacturer, we did all the CAD work but, like most, would outsource the manufacturing of the prototypes to 3D printing service bureaus or contract manufacturers.

After growing increasingly frustrated with the high costs and delays experienced with outsourcing, we made the decision to bring prototype manufacturing in-house by developing our own 3D printer with help from open-source RepRap designs from the University of Bath. We developed and added new technologies and features to work with these designs, sourced the highest quality components, and, after many design iterations, we decided to bring the 3D printer we developed to market as a new product itself: Robox.

As a small, resource-limited manufacturer, we certainly didn’t want to develop a 3D printer that was time-consuming to start, operate or maintain. To us, a 3D printer isn’t a gadget, novelty or toy; it is a manufacturing tool whose sole purpose is to bring virtual designs into physical reality. Since deciding to bring the 3D printer we initially developed for ourselves to market, we’ve spent a great deal of time and effort streamlining the software workflow and developing automatic hardware calibrations in our efforts to make the 3D printing process as simple and fast as possible (Robox 3D printers have won several awards for their user-friendliness).

We’ve benefited hugely from taking the decision to bring both the design and manufacture of our prototypes in-house. 3D printing technology has dramatically reduced our costs while improving our rate of innovation and, ultimately, the quality of our products. With Robox, we wanted to show other manufacturers that they too can take full control of prototyping and reap these same benefits.

Beyond business, we have a stake in British education as a British manufacturer. We can use the Robox brand to help the next generation become world leaders in design and manufacturing, by empowering young people to think creatively and not be afraid to make mistakes through the iterative design process. Anticipating Robox being used in education, we included an interlocking mechanism in the door as a safety feature in the original Robox model. Astonishingly, Robox 3D printers are still the only desktop 3D printers that include this critical safety feature.

We use Robox 3D printers in our work with the James Dyson Foundation and partner schools around the country to help improve learning outcomes in STEM. We want to do what we can to play our part in helping Britain grow as a world-leading source of innovation and inspiration for young people.

Since launching the original Robox model, we released an upgraded dual extrusion version, RoboxDual, in early 2017. RoboxDual can print with two colours or materials at the same time while still running on the same award-winning hardware and software platforms. We’re now excited to be launching a new, ground-breaking 3D printer, RoboxPRO, at Bett that offers considerably more advanced capabilities. We look forward to showcasing RoboxPRO and the other 3D printers in the Robox family at Bett 2018 and invite visitors to come to stand B470 to learn more. The show takes place in ExCeL London between 24-27 January and is free to attend. Visit our exhibitor page to find out more:

We’re taking pre-orders now for units from our first production batch, so get in touch if you’d like to be among the first to get your hands on this new Robox 3D printer.

Robox in East Ayrshire Primary Schools

By | Education | No Comments

“I selected Robox 3D printers to go into all our Primary schools after extensive research. The locking door ensures that the printing area is a safe environment and hands cannot make contact with hot components, the ease of printing and easy removal of the printed models are very user friendly.”

Martyn Hendry
STEM Coordinator
East Ayrshire Council

Dual extrusion 3D printing

By | Education, Stuff and Things | 2 Comments

Coinciding with the glowing RoboxDual review (click here to read) published recently by All3DP, RoboxDual is fast becoming the leading dual extrusion 3D printer in schools, colleges and universities.

Whether it’s in a leading university like Imperial College London, where they’re using more Robox and RoboxDual 3D printers in their new 3D printing lab than any other model including MakerBot, LulzBot, BCN or Ultimaker, or the scores of primary schools in Scotland where Robox is the 3D printer of choice in a number of council-wide digital learning schemes, the award-winning Robox platform is offering new opportunities to enhance STEM learning as the safest and easiest to use 3D printer for all stages of education.

For a start, RoboxDual represents incredibly good value for money at £1,499 when compared to its closest competitors, Ultimaker 3 and BCN Sigma, which retail for £3,354 and £2,263 respectively. Indeed, many in the industry have commented on the poor value for money Ultimaker 3 represents, especially when you consider the fact that dual extruder prints on Ultimaker’s most advanced 3D printer now take double, triple or even quadruple the time to complete (I’m not exaggerating – read a review here). Ultimaker 3 is almost twice the price of its predecessor but it’s clear from the reviews it’s received since launching that it’s far from twice the value. Reviewers also point to the Ultimaker design starting to look quite dated now.

How much longer do dual extruder prints take to complete on RoboxDual? Well, this is where our patented needle valve flow control technology comes into its own. Single and dual extruder print times are virtually identical on RoboxDual thanks to these needle valves (click here for more info on this critical tech). I’d highly recommend you compare the elegant nozzle changing mechanism of RoboxDual with the clunky and time-wasting mechanism adopted by Ultimaker to get an idea of how valuable these needle valves are. You can watch a great video of RoboxDual in action on our last Kickstarter page.

It’s also worth mentioning that Ultimaker 3 does not support a 0.8 mm nozzle whereas RoboxDual is compatible with the Robox QuickFill head, which includes both a 0.8 mm and 0.3 mm nozzle. In fact, RoboxDual comes with the dual material head (2 x 0.4 mm nozzles) and QuickFill single material head as standard in the box.

In terms of speed, aesthetics and certainly value for money, RoboxDual wins hands down, every time.

Take a look at the new Robox Education page on our website where you can read reviews and testimonials, download literature and watch a great new video we’ve put together:

Robox, the #1 3D printer for education

By | Education | No Comments
 

Learning about insect anatomy

10-year-old pupils at Blackfield Primary School use Robox to model and print insect anatomy.

 

Getting to grips with 3D design using free software

Martyn Hendry at St Andrew's Primary School takes a group of 10-year-old pupils through the process of designing custom name tags using Autodesk's browser-based Tinkercad software.

 

Working in partnership with the James Dyson Foundation

Gears are 3D printed on Robox in a Year 10 James Dyson Foundation project.

 

Designing and making a more inclusive society

15-year-old students discuss their GCSE James Dyson Foundation projects aimed at aiding people who experience physical disabilities.

 

Engaging young people in STEM

9-year-old pupils at Blackfield Primary School learn to combine multiple models for printing in two materials.

 

Understanding the additive manufacturing process

Students of all ages at King Edward VI Community College and its feeder schools use Robox in combination with other manufacturing processes such as cold casting.

 

Complexity made simple

Robox can print in two materials at the same time, allowing more complex geometries to be printed with ease using dedicated support materials.

 

Inspiring a new generation

8-year-old pupils in Blackfield Primary School use free Tinkercad software and Robox to create stationery organisers for a school project.

 

Mendip Studio School

Year 11 students discuss their GCSE projects.

 

Ashlyns School

A student upgrades his A-Level project with Robox.

 

Safety and Security

Robox is the only 3D printer with an interlocking safety door to prevent accidental injury.

 

FAWE School, Rwanda

Students from Writhlington School provide 3D printer workshops to Rwandan students.

The safest and easiest to use 3D printer for education, Robox delivers professional results with an award-winning user experience.

  • Needle valves ensure only desired material is printed with no need to retract or wipe nozzles
  • Hassle-free build plate with no glue, toxic sprays or tape required
  • Only desktop 3D printer with an interlocking safety door
  • Rapid head (<1 min) and bed (<4 mins) heat-up times
  • Compatible with 3rd party filament – no vendor lock-in
  • Automatic material recognition with no setup required
  • Fully automatic bed levelling and easy calibration

“If you’re looking for a quality desktop 3D printer for the home, office or classroom, then there’s little not to love about the formidable CEL RoboxDual.”
ALL3DP.com

“Features like automatic bed leveling, easy-to-use software, filament auto-load, and SmartReel filament technology made setup a breeze and very beginner friendly.”
Make Magazine 3D Printer Guide 2017

“I selected Robox 3D printers to go into all our Primary schools after extensive research. The locking door ensures that the printing area is a safe environment and hands cannot make contact with hot components. The ease of printing and easy removal of the printed models are very user friendly.“
Martyn Hendry, STEM Coordinator, East Ayrshire Council

“We assessed Robox against a number of other popular 3D printers and it came out on top in terms of portability, ease of use, safety, design and print quality.”
Scottish Library & Information Council

New Robox Kickstarter Project Launch Today

By | AutoMakerNewsflash, News | No Comments

Kickstarter offers early access to exciting new Robox tech to improve 3D printing workflow and productivity

 

We’re excited to announce the launch of a brand new Robox Kickstarter campaign today, Wednesday 11th January, centred around three new accessories: Root, Tree and Mote.

 

Why are we developing these new accessories?

 

Wireless access and control devices have been common feature requests since Robox launched in late 2014. In fact we hinted at control devices for Robox as part of our first Kickstarter campaign but deliberately chose not to include control hardware and a user interface built into Robox hardware to prevent that hardware from limiting the potential of the basic functions of Robox’s XYZ motion frame.

By keeping control hardware separate, we’re able to alter and improve it without disrupting that simple and robust system. This separation helps to reduce cost, keeps development simple and fast, and allows great flexibility.

Robox’s AutoMaker software can already be used to connect multiple Robox units to a single computer via USB, but with the Root update users will now be able to connect to multiple Robox units remotely opening up new opportunities for productivity.

 

What are Root, Mote and Tree exactly?

 

Root is a small device which, when connected to Robox, allows control and monitoring of prints via a wired or wireless network. Root also includes a web service which can be accessed via a mobile device.

In a business environment, or where there are multiple Robox units available, these new systems will make prototyping and development much more efficient. Root will allow designers to connect remotely to multiple 3D printers, empowering them to be more creative and progress through design iterations faster. Each Robox connected to Root can be visible to others on the network, so an office full of individually controlled printers is also a networked print farm.

Tree is a compact furniture system to house multiple Robox units in a small footprint and improve productivity though enhanced workflow and throughput. This configuration of 3D printers running in parallel allows Robox to outperform larger, more expensive systems in terms of speed and reduces the risk of total part failure with RAID-like redundancy. Tree utilises Robox’s compact form factor to deliver maximum efficiency. Printers working in this parallel configuration means much faster printing while also adding redundancy and increased flexibility. Choosing Robox keeps cost low and productivity high.

The final piece of this system is a simple, dedicated, low cost, touchscreen interface for Root. We call this Mote and it can be integrated into the Tree hardware to act as a control panel.

Together, these three new Robox accessories will allow Robox users to share hardware more conveniently and carry out multiple jobs faster with increased reliability.

Visit the Kickstarter campaign page for the full story with graphics and photos:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robox/root-tree-and-mote-for-robox-micro-manufacturing-p

 

Partnerships to strengthen the campaign

 

We’re partnering with local makers and services globally to produce and distribute Root, Tree and Mote. We’re also partnering with global electronic parts supplier RS Components and 3D printer material specialist Polymaker to ensure the best quality components for these new accessories.

Using Polymaker’s innovative new PolySmooth materials and PolySher product in the production of the Root accessory, we will be using Robox to produce production-grade parts from our UK head office. And with RS Components providing the hardware for all of these new accessories, users can feel supremely confident in their finished quality.

 

RS Components is the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. With operations in 32 countries, RS offers more than 500,000 products through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters to over one million customers, shipping more than 44,000 parcels a day. RS products, sourced from 2,500 leading suppliers, include electronic components, electrical, automation and control, and test and measurement equipment, and engineering tools and consumables.

RS Components has also created an online community for engineers, DesignSpark, which is a repository of free tools and technical resources to help designers to make those big ideas happen. The community has already assisted a few tech start-ups like PiTop to quickly bring their ideas to prototype and proof of concept.  In addition to using the suite of free professional CAD packages, the RS DesignSpark community gives start-ups access to thousands of technical articles, including reference designs and product reviews.

 

Polymaker is a company committed to innovation, quality and sustainability in the pursuit of producing safe and clean materials for the 3D printing industry.

With an eight-step quality control process, Polymaker’s filaments are not only guaranteed to have the best quality standards but also provide innovative properties that help yield a better overall printing experience, ensuring the efficiency of 3D printers and empowering consumers to create strong, functional 3D printed products. With a rapidly growing portfolio of materials, Polymaker will continue to bring new performance enhanced materials to the 3D printing community.

 

Why should you pledge?

 

This Kickstarter campaign offers an opportunity for you to gain early access to new technology that’ll improve your productivity and 3D printing experience. You’ll be joining a community of backers able to offer direct feedback to us and help steer the direction of this technology’s development. You’ll also be gaining access to all of these new technologies at a huge cash discount!

Our last Kickstarter campaign was a huge success and we hope you can help us make this one a success too. Even if you don’t back us, you can help spread the word by sharing news of the campaign with your friends. After all, it’s 3D printing we’re talking about! Who won’t be interested?