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October 2014 Competition

By | Competitions | 5 Comments

Post your best Halloween themed print to us to enter our October competition to win a selection of SmartReels. Entries must include a completed entry form for each submission. Creative ideas will get extra credit, think outside the box (but print inside Robox). Send us photos, or links to photos of the items being used or in position ready to scare as well as the printed item.

Entries must be with us before Halloween!

The image above is a print from one of our beta testers – Mark Strahm

Entry form for October 2014 print competition

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 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.

September 2014 Print Competition

By | Competitions | 6 Comments

Post your best Robox prints to us to enter a competition to win a selection of SmartReels of your choice and credits to use on
Enter as many models as you want, everyone who submits a valid entry will receive a discount code to use in our shop, so even if you don’t win it is still worth entering. We will display the prints during trade shows and feature them in our gallery and in promotions.
Enter before the 19th of September, conditions are on the entry form here September 2014 Print Competition Entry Form

Robox press coverage August 2014

By | Press | No Comments

27.09.14 – Six of the Best: for 3D Printing
Droitwich Advertiser
27.09.14 – Six of the Best: for 3D Printing
Bromsgrove Advertiser
27.09.14 – Six of the Best: for 3D Printing
The Shuttle
24.09.14 – 3D Printing – Expensive Fad or Opportunity Knocking?
23.09.14 – 3D Printing can Inspire
22.09.14 – Gadgets: Six of the Best
Western Morning News
22.09.14 – Gadgets: Six of the Best
Jersey Evening Post
22.09.14 – Gadgets: Six of the Best
Shropshire Star

AutoMaker available to download – More rewards shipped

By | Kickstarter, News | One Comment

Just a quick one.
AutoMaker 1.00.10 is available to download, it has very limited functionality without a Robox attached but you can still load and manipulate .stl files and test our installer for us!
If you have any problems downloading, installing, opening, running, loading files or any other issues with the software please report the problem with your computer and OS specification here

Also, the £1000 reward levels have shipped!

Don’t tell me about problems, give me solutions

By | Kickstarter, News | 4 Comments

In most of our updates we talk about the difficult parts of the Robox project and we thought that it would be a refreshing change to talk about some of the great things we’ve achieved and why we still believe the Robox will be the best FFF 3D printer solution in the world.

Pause and Resume

The pause and resume feature is functional and allows a lot of control in the middle of a print, it can be triggered by the software, hardware or firmware. At any sniff of a problem the firmware can pause the print and let you know what’s up, the button in the centre of the reel can pause and park the filament on a quick press or auto eject the filament on a long press. This function will enable loads of cool things, there is the obvious changing of colour but alongside this is the possibility of placing parts into the print part way through such as captive nuts n’ bolts, wires and electronics, mechanisms and actuators; the possibilities are endless.
The video above shows a quick print at a 0.3mm layer height (300 microns), our draft setting, just to show how easy it is even in this early state. Coding in a “Pause at x layer” function will be a nice easy job for the software team now that the base code is in place.

Extruder Feedback

The feedback loop we added to our extruders gives us lots of extra functions, the main reason we added it was to give information to the printer that the filament was moving as expected, but the actual applications are much wider. We’ve invented a new type of extruder move which uses the feedback to detect when it’s fully loaded or un-parked and further to this we can control the power of these moves. Knots, snaps, tangles, tightly wound reels and end of filament on any of your favourite materials can be detected and resolved before they cause a problem. A day long print job doesn’t need to be scrapped just because the reel jammed or the filament ran out.

Gantry and Bed Levelling

The firmware can handle bed levelling in both directions perfectly, with no input from the user. The video above shows a fairly extreme example with the X axis on a crazy angle but it can deal with even worse than the example shown. In the X direction the firmware can independently control the two Z motors to level the gantry to the bed. In the Y direction the Z motors can be driven during a print to ensure that the bed level is the reference plane. This has led us to think about some other exciting possibilities – we could potentially map the topography of a build surface without any hardware changes, allowing printing on uneven surfaces – all very exciting! Watching the level gantry video, you can see the nozzle touching down in several places – it detects the surface and records all the data ready for printing. The start of each print has a quick XYZ test – another great feature that lets you concentrate on designing rather than printing.

Filament Recognition

This we’ve had up and running right from the start and it has become such a part of daily printing that we don’t even think about all the benefits any more. We change filament types willy-nilly and the software and firmware automatically sort out how to tweak the print settings. A couple of cool extra features that we added to the reels are filament and speed multipliers; these variables allow us to change the amount of material being extruded and the speed of the printer mid print. You can see the filament change colour within AutoMaker in the first video, this is more than just a graphic, it is reading the temperature and extrusion speed settings particular to this reel and recording the usage back to the reel so it can tell how much is left!

Auto-Filament Load and One-touch Eject

One of the reasons we can change the filament so easily and often is the awesome eject and load mechanism, entirely powered by the firmware and extruder feedback system. We are able to eject the filament without any delay on both the screen and reel button. The load is automatic too, just feed in the start of the filament and the extruder grabs it and does the rest. Again this is visible in the first video, just feed the material in and once detected the extruder will send it all the way to the head. Once loaded you can just press print!

User Manual

Please check out a draft version of the Robox user manual and other supporting documents here

3D Mockup

These are just a few of the things we’ve got working on Robox right now, every day we see new features and functions that we promised get added, it’s tough work but extremely rewarding.
We are just about on track to deliver the first of the full production Roboxes to the Kickstarter backers; we built in a little bit of contingency at the start but have used this up with a late change to the extruder’s gearbox. We found that if we used an acetal (POM) worm wheel against the steel worm gear we gain a significant efficiency percentage. We made the decision to stop production and reworked every ready-made Robox to include the new part. The extruder’s output power is now 150% what it once was with the same input power… that said we are now out of contingency so fingers crossed nothing unexpected comes up.
So all in all, we’re happy to say we’ve made some really positive changes to the Robox at the last minute, which might have meant a slight delay but also means a better product!
In other news, we’re also really excited to report that we are moving to larger premises, ready to stock the next few shipments of our Robox units, and to house the growing Robox team as we take on more staff in a bid to keep our new customers happy and speed up future development.