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Kickstarter

SEPTEMBER COMPETITION WINNER

By | Competitions, Exhibiting, Kickstarter, News | No Comments

Opening the post has never been so exciting for us as it has been this past month. The very first Robox Print Competition, open to BETA backers only, has been a roaring success, so much so that we have decided to run a monthly competition as the Robox gradually gets rolled out to more and more people.

September’s competition was a real test for us, as it was the first time we could witness prints made by people who didn’t work for CEL, and didn’t know the Robox inside out.

We were relying on our BETA testers to get to grips with the first Robox units which rolled off the production line, to produce as high quality prints as possible. Tellingly, the first round of Kickstarter backers rose to the challenge, with some people entering several prints rather than just one.

And so… the winner is…. drum roll please…. DAVID MUSSAFFI!

David entered several models into the competition, but it was the Woman’s Torso Sculpture which really impressed us, and which has been selected as the overall winning entry.

torso behindwomans torse

To try and replicate David’s work visit this source http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:151251

And to watch the Robox creating the Woman’s Torso have a look at the You Tube video:

David will receive a filament pack as his prize, and we can’t wait to see what he enters into October’s competition!

However, David’s entry wasn’t the only one to impress us, so we have decided to create a runner up position, and this will be awarded to ROB HARWOOD for his beautiful Scripted Vase.

scripted vase 2

To print the vase yourself visit www.thingiverse.com/thing:104694

Rob will also receive a little goodie pack for his troubles, and we hope to see more entries from him in future competitions.

Thank you to all BETA testers who took the time to print and enter our very first completion – some of these entries will be on display at the TCT Show at Birmingham NEC between 30th September and 2nd October, so come and visit us on stand B40 to take a look.

And watch this space for news and details of our next competition, which will be launched on 1st October 2014.

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 http://robox.freshdesk.com. 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.

Final Kickstarter backers – Units have shipped!!!

By | Kickstarter | 2 Comments

Hello world and fellow Robox users 🙂 I’m Peter aka Pyropetepete. My new role at CEL-ROBOX is Service Manager. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s ideas, creations made on the Robox.
Feel free to contact my self with any issues you have. Hopefully we all can help each other out. Just remember I am human at the end of the day please.

PS …… We’ve shipped the final units for the Kickstater backers!!!! Check your mail boxes for tracking info and look out for man in the big yellow van.

Have fun and share your creations

PPP

KICKSTARTER UNITS ARE ON THEIR WAY…

By | Kickstarter, News | No Comments

This is the news everyone has been waiting for… the final batch of Kickstarter units are now on their way to our very patient and loyal backers.

We can confirm that all units are currently being air freighted worldwide from Hong Kong as we speak, which means backers will start receiving their units over the next two weeks.

Shipping times will differ depending on where backers live, but on writing this post we’ve already been made aware of a happy backer in Australia opening their door to a Robox unit this morning.

All we would ask is that if you are expecting your unit, please be extra vigilant looking out for couriers, or delivery notes – we wouldn’t want a Robox to go unaccounted for at this final stage.

We can’t wait for our backers to receive the very first units from the production line – all dressed in limited edition Kickstarter colours and supplied with two taster reels of filament.

RBX-01KS_SIDE

Don’t forget this might be the end of the Kickstarter campaign, but it’s only the beginning where the Robox is concerned.  The hardware has reached a point where we’re happy with the build quality and print quality, but there will be constant updates with software which everyone will benefit from automatically.

Please do sign up to the Robox forum as when you are in receipt of your unit we would welcome your feedback and shared print and material profiles.  You can join our community via this link www.cel-robox.com/community

At times you may also need help using the Robox, so please visit our support portal where we will try to help you with all technical enquiries as quickly as we can http://robox.freshdesk.com

And please continue following both the blog www.cel-robox.com/blog and forum, as we’ll soon be posting details of a new print competition in which ALL Kickstarter backers can participate.

Finally, a massive THANK YOU for sticking with us, and being so patient.  As we’ve tried to communicate, this is a brand new project and so there were bound to be teething problems along the way.  Any delays have been because we’ve tried to ensure you receive units which are as near to perfect as possible.

We hope you enjoy using the Robox, and please do remember all helpful feedback will benefit us all going forwards.

Kickstarter Training Day

By | Chris Elsworthy Design Blog, Kickstarter, News | One Comment

Friday (26th August) was a special day for us here at CEL, as a few of us had the privilege of meeting with the select people from our Kickstarter campaign who bid on the ‘Robox® 3D Printing Starter Pack’, which included a visit to meet us in Bristol, UK and the opportunity to own an early Limited Edition Robox® in the Kickstarter colours, as well as a day’s training. Oh, and lunch as well.

Excitingly the day went pretty much to plan, with only one slight change in the lead up to the event as we realised that with an office and warehouse move, perhaps a visit to HQ wasn’t the brightest of ideas. So a quick change of venue later, and we found ourselves in a dust-free, rubbish-free, clean and tidy office just around the corner.

Our backers brought their own laptop computers with them, and much of the day was spent unpacking the brand new Rob units – the only ones in the world with limited edition plaques – installing the software and testing the prints. Happily, all of the Robox units worked well and it was amazing to actually see the reactions of people as they got to grips with the new technology. The fact they were printing pretty quickly after discarding the packaging was very reassuring.

c1

c2

It was also really great to spend the day with some like-minded people…. These are the guys who understand or love 3D printing so much they’ve waited patiently for the best part of a year to receive the unit they truly believe will be the difference within the 3D printing industry.

But contrary to our expectations, a real mix of people attended the day – it wasn’t just geeky tech-types who know everything about additive manufacturing; normal people attended too! We were pleased to meet home users, retailers, engineers, and even children – all of whom managed to get their machines up and running quickly despite having no previous experience. Our aim with the Robox project has always been to make 3D printing accessible to everyone, and the training day proved this is really possible.

We all got a real buzz from the day, and are now making plans to run similar training days in the future, so watch this space!

 

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 http://robox.freshdesk.com

www.cel-robox.com/downloads/

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 www.cel-robox.com/downloads/

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.

Where is my machine?!

By | Kickstarter, Prototype Build | 2 Comments

Quite understandably we receive many enquiries every day of the following nature:

  • I pre-ordered my Robox back in March, but where is it?
  • I’m a backer on Kickstarter, but haven’t yet received my machine?
  • I would like to order a Robox, can you tell me when it would arrive if I do?
  • We are interested in becoming a reseller / distributor for the Robox, when will a sample become available?
  • We are journalists and we’d like to review the Robox, when can we have a unit?

And so on…

Enquiries of this nature both excite us, and terrify us at the same time.  Why?  Because it is very hard to give definitive answers and expectations are so high, and it’s so fantastic having people so keen to get their hands on the final product.

What we can say for sure is that our first level of Kickstarter supporters now have their BETA machines and their feedback has been somewhat amazing.  Not necessarily because all of the comments have been positive, but because even the ‘constructive criticism’ has helped us to make further developments with the machines.

So what can we tell all the other people who are waiting so patiently?

Well, Chris Elsworthy, the brains behind the operation, has just landed back in the UK after an eventful and productive trip to China.  The aim of this recent visit was to iron out all remaining niggles to ensure that when he gives the nod to mass production, the whole team are confident about the products we are sending out.

The Robox units are currently undergoing essential emissions testing – to make sure they cannot cause interference with other electrical or electronic equipment and communication networks.  The good news is that the units passed the initial tests once a few tweaks were performed by our electronics expert Mr Sing and we’re hopeful the final tests will be performed and passed later on this week.

Much of the time Chris was in China the team were performing electrical safety tests such as continuity testing, high potential testing, double insulation testing, drop testing, life testing and so on. Currently we have several machines which have been running for over 400 hours, without any major faults!

And once all of these tests have been completed and passed we can finally let all our patient supporters have their products.

So let’s talk DATES…

Until this point, we’ve not wanted to promise dates as things are always changing, and with any new products there can be unforeseen problems which lead to delays.

But we’re finally confident that we can start talking about realistic delivery dates, and we’re hopeful that the next two stages of Kickstarter backers will be in receipt of their goods by the middle of August, and our valuable customers who have placed pre-orders will be opening up their brand new Robox units early September.

So things are getting exciting now; not only are we just about to unleash the Robox on the world, we’re also moving to bigger offices soon to accommodate our growing team, and we’ll shortly be advertising for more staff – so watch this space!!

Blood, Sweat and Progress..

By | Kickstarter, Prototype Build | No Comments

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.

Standard Fine profile - 100mu layers

Standard Fine profile – 100mu layers

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.