One of our Beta testers is planning to sell Robox in Australia, here are some dates for checking out his Beta Robox in action over the next few weeks.
20th -21st June 2014-
Melbourne at DATTA Vic (Design and Technology Teachers Association – Victoria) Conference.
24th June 2014-
Canberra ACT, Australian 3D Manufacturing Association event in, at the Canberra Institute of Technology, the following day we will be exhibiting inside the Australian Parliament House, where we will showcase the Robox 3D technology and have discussions with Members of Parliament, their advisors and other Government officials. Media coverage has been organised through both Channel 9, the Canberra Times, and other associated agencies.
30th June & 1st July 2014-
Brisbane at ConQEST the Queensland Education Science Laboratory Technicians Association conference.
6th – 9th July 2014-
Adelaide at the University of Adelaide we will be exhibiting Robox at CONASTA 63, the Australian Science Teachers Association national conference.
Title image from Wikipedia
We’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this week. We found 3 tiny components (1.0×0.5mm) on the extruder daughter PCB that were missing a connection to ground. After applying a minuscule amount of solder to bridge the gap between the capacitor (C7) and the ground via next to it, the extruder breathed new life into Robox.
You may think the diagnosis of this fault to be easy, but for many reasons we’ve been looking elsewhere to find out why our earlier machines have performed better than the BETA build machines. It was actually our factory pointing out that the C3 capacitor was missing its ground that brought our attention to the missing link.
Our new software engineer, Tony Lynch, along with Ian, is ploughing through the most urgent of the feature updates and bugs to give us our first public release of AutoMaker which we are hoping to have with you next Wednesday (28th May).
After opening all the boxes, gently unpacking and amending the extruder PCBs on all the BETA machines we hope to have them shipped the following Wednesday (4th June).
These are the dates we are aiming for, and we see no reason why they aren’t realistic, but we can’t predict the unforeseen. We’re feeling pretty positive now, but if anything changes with the dates you will be the first to know.
21.04.14 – How 3D Printing Appeals to the Everyday Consumer
10.04.14 – Five Gadgets for Small Businesses
10.04.14 – Robox: The evolving 3D Printer
08.04.14 – 5 Stars of Next Week’s Gadget Show
08.04.14 – Previewing the Robox 3D Printer
So………they’re ready to ship!
For some of you, the wait is finally over! This morning the factory have shipped 60 printers and they are soon to be winging their way to our beta backers all over the world. They’re currently moving from the factory in China to Hong Kong where they will be air-freighted either direct to backers or to CEL HQ in the UK for distribution within Europe.
We intend to have the first release of AutoMaker available to Beta Backers before their hardware arrives. A link for download will appear in the private Beta section of the forum.
We’ve ironed out most of the hardware and software issues, and it’s now down to you guys to help us get this product to market in it’s finished form and to make it the best fused filament printer in the world. If any beta backers haven’t joined the forum, please do so ASAP at http://www.cel-robox.com/groups/robox-beta-phase-1/forum/
We’ve also given them a good shaking to make sure you guys get them in one piece – all drop tests passed! (don’t worry this isn’t your printer!)
I know a lot of you have been disappointed with the frequency of updates from us as we’ve been going through these final stages, but we would like you guys understand, we are currently only a small team of four full time staff in the UK that are responsible for the Kickstarter campaign. We are also responsible for the mechanical and electronics design, software engineering and UX design, production issues and specifications, graphic design and packaging, the website, forum, social media / PR, exhibitions, procurement, user manuals, safety testing and EMC, responding to the emails and messages we receive every day, research and testing of hardware and software (plus the complications that come with all of them, especially as we are manufacturing Robox 1000s of miles away).
We’re pretty sure you’d rather we spent our time working as hard as we can on those issues rather than issuing an update to inform you of minor details.
Over the past few months our sales team has also been trying to set up distribution agreements with interested vendors all over the world to bring Robox closer to you. Once all of our Kickstarter pledges have shipped, we hope to have stock on the ground and on display in retail outlets and online in all major international markets.
One last reminder – Betas – Please try to keep all correspondence within the forum so that we can keep track of who has done what – we currently have a lot of contact points, and we’d like to try and keep you all in the same place. We look forward to hearing from you guys once you receive your Robox!
21.03.14 – Five Questions with the Robox CEO
20.03.14 – Chris Elsworthy of Robox 3D Printers
19.03.14 – Market for 3D Printers could be worth £2.9billion
19.03.14 – 3D Printing in the Home
18.03.14 – 3D Printing Market in the UK
14.03.14 – York named as 3D printing hotspot
12.03.14 – 3D Printing set to be worth £2.9billion
04.03.14 – 3D printers: A tour of the top models Tech Republic
03.03.14 – Robox 3D Printers now shipping Softpedia
01.03.14 – Next steps with Robox 3D printer 3D Printer World
AutoMaker™ is software developed by CEL to control Robox® and the slicing engine. From the start we have intended that our system is easy to use but has the ability to satisfy the most experienced users.
The most basic operation is:
Load model, choose print quality, print.
It really is simple.
The left pane in the first image shows “Ian’s Robox”, in this pane you can display other Robox units attached and give them names and a colour, the colour you choose here will be replicated by the internal lighting of Robox. If you have a bank of Robox you will quickly be able to identify each using this lighting. Other info like which head is fitted and what nozzles it contains are shown below.
The lower left pane shows temperature monitoring for the Head (purple) the bed (yellow) and the temperature inside the build chamber (green). Also shown are the heater controls.
The main window has visual indicators of the status of Robox such as if the door is open or closed, the colour of the filament loaded and the amount remaining on the reel. You also get simple buttons to switch nozzles and open and close them, turn lighting beside the nozzles on and off and move the head and bed on their axes.
Right now Robox uses GCode at the core of it’s print engine so we’ve added a slide out GCode panel that allows you to interact directly with the printer.
The slide out panel also contains macros for bed-levelling and setup as well as the SmartReel™ programmer and basic printer diagnostics.
The diagnostics tab shows the result of various checks within the printer and the unique serial number of your printer and the head that is fitted.
Settings control – pick from a standard profile or roll your own. Control over all key slicing parameters is built in to AutoMaker. Right now we run a modified version of Slic3r from within AutoMaker – we chose it for it’s flexibility during the development phase. As we move forward with the Beta team we have retained the option to use other slicing engines and are considering how we can become slicer agnostic. This would allow you to use virtually any slicer and post-process the output to become Robox compatible.
Because Robox has additional mechanical control over the way filament is passed through it’s systems and the feedback that is available we have been able to include extra control via AutoMaker settings. Off the shelf and open source software is not able to manage all these extra functions. We have already seen the benefits of needle valves and dual nozzles and now that we have control over all these aspects of the print process we can start to create print profiles for the many materials available and the many situations where the manipulation of these materials is different.
Also enabled in AutoMaker is filament and print profile sharing. Upload your profile and filament settings to the Robox site and share the love.
Create your own print profiles and write them to file to share as a project or to re-use on future prints. As you can see below, there are a lot of settings for those who want to delve into the depths. If not, let someone else do it and use their shared profile, or just use our Draft, Normal and Fine presets – easy!
Features that will follow soon:
- Auto slice – slice a model into Robox sized pieces if it is too big for the bed.
- Snap to ground – pick a surface and the model realigns so the surface is face down, up till now you would need to align the model within your 3D modelling software.
Interesting things in the pipeline (when we get breathing space)
- Testing on the Raspberry PI – The platform we have used for AutoMaker is quite capable of running on a Pi
- Black box – A control interface for Robox, a large touchscreen with wifi as a dedicated controller.
- Cloud slicing (mainly for mobile devices – but depends on the demand)
- Multiple material control – Dual Material Printing, this will include support for multiple colours on the same layer (we can already do multi colours on separate layers via the pause/resume function) and also support for multiple materials, eg PLA dissolvable support
- Multi-profile printing – choose a different print profile for each object on the bed
- Remote control – Print on the bus! Well, from the bus. Have a warm printed slipper waiting for you when you get home.
- Print notifications – Print done! Out of Filament! Keep Robox working without having to watch it.
- Printer status – Know what is going on at anytime via an app or a web connection. If you are a print provider you could allow your customers to watch their print happen in real time with notifications of completion.
Once the software is available for download we’ll be looking for feedback. We’ll work on bugs first and keep you guys up to date on the roadmap features.
Beta rewards are nearly ready, the next update will be very exciting!