There are more 3d printers being announced all the time, it’s not surprising to see comments such as
–“Another day Another Printer” Jack @ 3deas.com.
So I’d like to tell you more about CEL and why we will be able to design and manufacture the best consumer 3d printer.
In 2006 Chris Elsworthy met Kenneth Tam in a taxi in Hong Kong on the way to discuss a manufacturing process for another project where Chris was working as a Design Engineer. They got talking about power tools and a design Chris had started that would allow a case of tools to have a huge amount of additional function – POWER8workshop. Kenneth’s manufacturing connections are extensive, a massive resource of manufacturing and component acquisition, he saw the value in the POWER8 and both he and Chris left their jobs and started CEL together.
POWER8workshop is a tool box with a set of cordless 18V power tools inside that each have additional functions. The drill detaches from its handle and fits onto the case to create a drill press/pillar drill. The circular saw flips and attaches to the lid to create a table saw. Other tools combine in different ways to create a huge range of functionality and it all packs away into a compact and portable case. The design of this product has been applauded by everyone who has seen it and represented a lot of design hours and millions of pounds of investment into tooling and electronics design. Several patents protect the design or POWER8workshop and its components. This high standard of mass manufacturing allowed CEL to continue through a tough recession to keep designing upgrades and making great tools.
In 2006 we had a single product, around 10 items making up the POWER8workshop. In 2013 we have several hundred products which we have designed and manufacture in several factories. These products are distributed all over the world where they are promoted, sold and serviced. Our UK site www.cel-uk.com is a showcase of our design and manufacturing capabilities.
We have close contact with our customer base and design tools to meet specific needs. Feedback and suggestions have allowed us to improve designs, components, accessories and even the combinations we sell the tools in. We intend to continue and improve this feedback system into the development of Robox. Your input will help us to make the first release of Robox a success, following this first release your suggestions and stories will help us to further improve the design, to add extra features or to make changes that improve productivity, reliability and the whole user experience.
So we have all this experience in design and manufacturing, why do we need your help?
Robox is a simple machine but it has a huge range of variables, there are more variations in all aspects of this device than we could ever test alone. Variation in what goes into the machine such as consistent thickness of filament, it’s water content, the quality and purity of the material. Then there are all the types of material that can be fed into the machine and the additional variation in those. The extruder feeds the filament to the FFF head the temperature needs to be set to match the speed of extrusion so that the pressure is maintained to the print nozzle, again this varies based on the material and is affected by ambient temperature and humidity. Next the bed needs to be suitable to accept the melted filament. Which material is best? Which temperature is best?
With the material melted correctly the head pressurised, the bed set up and at temperature we can begin laying down material. But how fast should the nozzle move, how far from the bed should it be? When should the nozzle close and how fast? When the nozzles swap from large to small should we wait while the outer perimeter hardens, how long? What is the best speed/temperature setting for a bridge or overhang of 20°, or for 45°? How should the printer be set for multi-colour or multi-material prints? What if the ambient temperature is extreme? What is going to happen when the bed is used 5000 times or more?
The list of variable conditions and settings we need to test is immense, we will simplify what we can into an easy to use program but need a test base of users to really nail down a set of instructions that can get the best from our printer and materials. Automaker™ is the name of the software, we are lucky to have some brilliant programmers on board but this new software needs just as much testing as the physical parts and consumables of the printer.
We have the first parts from our factory scattered around the office in various states of assembly and our first samples of the best filament we could find have just arrived (it prints beautifully!).
CEL is not just another startup that had a good idea, we are more than capable of reaching our goals and delivering on our promises. There are a lot of other printers competing in the race for your interest and ultimately for you to invest in. Robox will be the first to arrive at the finish line ready to use and complete. We know this because we have done it before, CEL is not just “Another Printer”.
Praise for CEL power tool products from the Dragons Den program broadcast on BBC in 2010 –
Absolutely some of the best products I've seen come into The Den, you are a product genius. Its very impressive, you've got really good product there. I thought that that box was amazing. Really good. You're a great designer, it's a great product. To design something like this, which is practical, that is great British know how. Its fabulous.
Absolutely some of the best products I've seen come into The Den, you are a product genius.Peter Jones - BBC Dragons Den
Its very impressive, you've got really good product there.Deborah Meaden - BBC Dragons Den
I thought that that box was amazing. Really good.James Caan - BBC Dragons Den
You're a great designer, it's a great product.Duncan Bannatyne - BBC Dragons Den
To design something like this, which is practical, that is great British know how. Its fabulous.Theo Paphitis - BBC Dragons Den