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AutoMakerNewsflash

Investing in the future

By | AutoMakerNewsflash, Chris Elsworthy Design Blog, News, Press | No Comments

As an engineering design and development company we are never content to leave the fruit of our work alone, there is always the inevitable “if we had designed it this way…” and “if only…”. These thoughts often lead to lengthy discussion about new and exciting projects we could embark on, but more often than not one of us puts on our commercial head and refocuses the team on the day-to-day work. Well not this time – we’ve developed some really exciting concepts that could take additive manufacturing platforms to the next level and we want to make sure they become a reality.

We believe that our concepts are too good to put in the ‘Big ideas’ folder and if we really want to make this industry leap forward we need to drive through these new ideas into commercial products. To ensure that we are one of the pioneers of the additive manufacturing evolution we’ve teamed up with a few complementary organisations, lined up potential customers, shared our ‘Big Ideas’ and have started to build a platform on which to base the next round of development.

We are close to gaining UK grant funding for these initiatives but we need additional investment to ensure we can staff these projects properly whilst maintaining the Robox product.

This is a very exciting opportunity for CEL-UK and we can’t wait to get our teeth into the project. We’ve already designed the cost-effective, technically advanced Robox 3D printer and our experience in the UK additive manufacturing industry is unique.

We are looking for like minded investors to join us on this incredible journey to see the UK establish itself as a leader in innovation and forward thinking within the additive manufacturing sector.

If you are looking to invest in the future of the UK and this growing sector please get in touch so we can share in detail what we have set out to achieve over the next two years.

Initially please contact us using this form, or call us on: 01275 846459

Kickstarter launch of Root, Tree and Mote is now live!

By | AutoMakerNewsflash, Design, Kickstarter, News, Prototype Build | No Comments

For the next 30 days we ask that everyone shares our project with as many people as possible. These new tools, particularly Root, make the use of Robox even easier and more flexible.

Root™ adds network access to Robox. The way this has been implemented can allow a huge range of web based tools to provide alerts, control and much more. Put Root in your garage and connect up to 9 Robox units to it or share multiple Robox so your colleagues can also use these resourses. You will still control Robox via AutoMaker in the same way, loading models, choosing settings and pressing Make! The slicing will happen locally on your powerful system, the sliced code is sent to the selected Robox via Root. AutoMaker will find and allow connection to any Root devices on a local network and any Robox which is directly connected to that computer.

Root can run on a lot of hardware, we have designed it to run on a Raspberry Pi 3. Our partners RS Components are supplying hardware packages for the pledges which include hardware to keep cost as low as possible and supply certain. The case for Root is by Robox designer Chris Elsworthy and will be printed on Robox using materials from our other partner in this campaign, Polymaker. We intend to print the cases using their Polysmooth material which can be smoothed using their Polysher IPA print smoothing system.

Tree is a racking system for Robox. There are 3 shelf and 5 shelf systems which are available in raw Birch ply or Laminated Black ply. These have a small footprint for desktop of floor setup and allow full access to Robox while keeping everything neat and tidy. Root can be mounted to Tree to provide control and network sharing of attached Robox units.

Mote is a simple touchscreen interface for Root. You can control Root via AutoMaker, your smartphone or tablet. We found that having a dedicated control device ready and waiting right next to the printers allowed us to work more efficiently. This was particularly useful in our office where several printers are shared for when the printers on each persons desk are busy.

Please share this project with anyone interesting 3D printing, considering a purchase or who perhaps decided not to buy Robox because it did not have wifi.

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.

 

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

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?

 

e-NABLE – the most inspiring 3D print project I’ve seen

By | AutoMakerNewsflash, Design, Education, Printables | 3 Comments

I was recently introduced to the e-NABLE project by our friends André and Guillaume at Le Comptoir 3D

This is an awesome venture that aims to get functional 3D printed hands to people around the world.  Heard this before? Well e-NABLE takes a different approach… Anyone with a 3D printer can make a difference thanks to the network of e-NABLE volunteers around the world.

These hands don’t replace expensive, highly functional natural looking prosthetic hands – but they’re not meant to. Children who have limb differences can’t always get prostheses (partly because they’re growing) so these hands can make a real and immediate difference to their lives.

Take a look at this video from e-NABLE to see what I mean.

Now tell me you don’t want to use your Robox to make a difference.

Visit http://enablingthefuture.org/ for more information on how to help.

And if you’re a student or teacher reading this then please take a look at http://www.handchallenge.com/ and involve your school in this amazing project.

The story of e-NABLE is inspiring – you can be part of it too.

Here’s my first print of a Raptor hand produced on a Robox – I’ll add more pictures when it’s assembled.

Raptor 3D printed prosthetic hand

Thanks for reading!

Ian

 

Automaker 2.01.02 – New Feature! – Support Material Gap

By | AutoMakerNewsflash, Design, Materials, News, Software Updates | 6 Comments

As we start to key up CEL and Robox for dual material printing we have introduced a lot of new concepts. Most of our users will have seen some of these multi-material features creeping into AutoMaker over the most recent few releases. Today we’ve added another new feature with AutoMaker 2.01.02 Download here.

We think that one of the most useful features of multi-material printing is the ability to use one material for your part and the other as support structure. This means with the correct choice of material, support can be greatly improved. One of the Materials we been testing is PolyMaker’s PolySupport, we’ve found it to print well in a wide range of temperatures and have consistent structural and functional properties. PolySupport is designed to be a support material for PLA and we found that although its a PLA based material it delaminates easily from PLA and other materials making it very easy to remove. It has elastic and flexible properties which mean its a joy to peel from your model, infinitely easier than using any other Peel-able support material we’ve tested, in-fact its so good we’ve added a this new support gap option.

To further improve the support that an easily peel-able material can give your part we can remove the gap between the top and bottom surface, this gap was necessary when you needed to break-away support structures of the same material. We semi-automated this option, when AutoMaker sees that you are using a different material for support than the one chosen for your parts it will automatically deselect this option.

Support Gap OptionI hear some of you say “Why peel-able, why not focus on dissolvable support?”, well, we thought the same when we started to print with multiple materials but quickly discovered that dissolvable material solutions are messy, take a long time and are often difficult to process and store. Peel-able support can often be removed in a few minutes, where dissolvable support material can take hours if not days to disappear and often require some peeling as well. One thing you might have read about on the internet is the use of limonene to dissolve HIPS away from ABS prints, this is not a reality, after only a few tests we found that limonene does dissolve HIPS, but it also damages the ABS beyond usefulness. The other thing is that unless you LOVE the smell of oranges you quickly grow tired of all your parts, the office, your finger and pretty much everything you own having that pungent smell. Don’t misunderstand me, dissolvable materials will have their place, but for a large majority of support applications we feel easy peel-able is the way forward right now.

We’ve also exposed some of the controls around the generation of support structure to you so that you can tune your profiles to get more perfect parts.

Support Gap Options Profile

 

Version 2.01.02

  • Autoupdate now uses port 80 rather than port 8001
  • Added Support Gap function
    • This controls the vertical distance between the support material and model material which affects how easily support material can be removed
    • Disabled automatically if support material is different to model material (useful when using specialised peel-off support material)
    • Horizontal (Support XY Distance) and vertical (Support Z Distance) offsets are configured in the Print Profiles page
    • If Support Gap is enabled the system will introduce a vertical gap between support and model material
    • If Support Gap is disabled there will be no gap between support and model material
  • Improved filament saver function for dual material printing (automatic heater control during prints)
  • Grouped advanced mode controls onto an Advanced Mode menu on the Preferences page
  • Automatic selection of correct head type on profile page
  • Modified status display to make use of Material 1 and Material 2 clearer

When AutoMaker updates are available your system will usually find and offer an update automatically. If you are behind a firewall or some other system which prevents this, please visit www.cel-robox.com/downloads/ and download the most recent AutoMaker package.

AutoMaker sometimes needs to update the firmware on your printer. Please allow the firmware to update as requested by AutoMaker. If you do not allow the firmware update to take place, AutoMaker may not be able to communicate with your printer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: a firmware update will power cycle your printer so ensure no operations such as a print or calibration are running at the time of the firmware update.