Coinciding with the glowing RoboxDual review (click here to read) published recently by All3DP, RoboxDual is fast becoming the leading dual extrusion 3D printer in schools, colleges and universities.
Whether it’s in a leading university like Imperial College London, where they’re using more Robox and RoboxDual 3D printers in their new 3D printing lab than any other model including MakerBot, LulzBot, BCN or Ultimaker, or the scores of primary schools in Scotland where Robox is the 3D printer of choice in a number of council-wide digital learning schemes, the award-winning Robox platform is offering new opportunities to enhance STEM learning as the safest and easiest to use 3D printer for all stages of education.
For a start, RoboxDual represents incredibly good value for money at £1,499 when compared to its closest competitors, Ultimaker 3 and BCN Sigma, which retail for £3,354 and £2,263 respectively. Indeed, many in the industry have commented on the poor value for money Ultimaker 3 represents, especially when you consider the fact that dual extruder prints on Ultimaker’s most advanced 3D printer now take double, triple or even quadruple the time to complete (I’m not exaggerating – read a review here). Ultimaker 3 is almost twice the price of its predecessor but it’s clear from the reviews it’s received since launching that it’s far from twice the value. Reviewers also point to the Ultimaker design starting to look quite dated now.
How much longer do dual extruder prints take to complete on RoboxDual? Well, this is where our patented needle valve flow control technology comes into its own. Single and dual extruder print times are virtually identical on RoboxDual thanks to these needle valves (click here for more info on this critical tech). I’d highly recommend you compare the elegant nozzle changing mechanism of RoboxDual with the clunky and time-wasting mechanism adopted by Ultimaker to get an idea of how valuable these needle valves are. You can watch a great video of RoboxDual in action on our last Kickstarter page.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ultimaker 3 does not support a 0.8 mm nozzle whereas RoboxDual is compatible with the Robox QuickFill head, which includes both a 0.8 mm and 0.3 mm nozzle. In fact, RoboxDual comes with the dual material head (2 x 0.4 mm nozzles) and QuickFill single material head as standard in the box.
In terms of speed, aesthetics and certainly value for money, RoboxDual wins hands down, every time.
Take a look at the new Robox Education page on our website where you can read reviews and testimonials, download literature and watch a great new video we’ve put together:
early comparisons against the UM3 show that the RoboxDual’s dual extrusion system is far quicker.
The quotes keep coming, we read the comprehensive review with glee!
If you’re looking for a quality desktop 3D printer for the home, office or classroom, then there’s little not to love about the formidable CEL RoboxDual.
Quality-wise, single extrusion prints are as good as you can get from a fused filament fabrication (FFF) printer, and ABS print quality is almost identical to that of the Ultimaker 3. Dual extrusion prints are equally impressive, mixing materials and colors well.
Filament from any manufacturer can be fed into Robox, either directly from the source reel or wound onto a SmartReel with a custom profile written to the EEPROM memory on the reel. This gets around the initial worry that you’ll be locked to high priced filaments and any limitations of range.
If you’re looking for a quality desktop 3D printer for the home, office or classroom, then there’s little not to love about the formidable CEL RoboxDual.
Unlike many competitors such as Lulzbot and Ultimaker, CEL have from the outset aimed to create a printer that could be used by anyone safely and without the need to tinker. The Lulzbots and Ultimakers are fantastic class-leading machines, but the RoboxDual offers something a little more refined.
For this reason the RoboxDual is a very different machine from others in its class, as it utilises custom electronics, extruders and hot-ends. These components aren’t designed to be tinkered with, which makes that RoboxDual one of the few printers out there that really should find wide appeal in workplaces and schools rather than just the maker community.
Ultimaker, Lulzbot and Makerbot might be better known brands, and there’s no doubting their abilities and quality when it comes to printing. But the RoboxDual and Robox have both been designed as a usable mainstream printer, much in the same way as any 2D printer of old.
From the outset, everything about the CEL RoboxDual shows that this is the work of engineers rather than hobbyists, with a set of design and development features that are not slapdash but carefully considered.
What did they think about the price?
Why block up one large printer when you can print on multiple? The downside is of course the cost; more printers means a greater outlay, but then the Ultimaker 3 is more than double the price.
The filament is also provided by some of the best known filament providers in the world, including ColorFabb and PolyMaker, and there’s a good selection available. If you want to use your own filament then you can, either by feeding it in and telling the software which filament profile to use, or by loading it onto an empty SmartReel and updating the circuit info through the AutoMaker software. The system is open and easy to experiment with.
In a busy design technology classroom, the noise from the RoboxDual at full print speed is unnoticeable, and even when printing in the office the noise is perfectly bearable.
Print extraction from the platform is the fight that folks least enjoy about 3D printing, whether that’s trying to extract a model from the perforated base of the Zortrax M200, lever a print from the glass base of the Ultimaker 2, or dunk a resin-coated masterpiece from a Form 2. With the RoboxDual (RBX02), however, is a print platform that we can learn to get along with.
Stop! You are embarrassing us…
It’s been designed by engineers as a tool, something to be used on a daily basis without issue. In those terms we would say that this is the first 3D printer that truly mimics the ideology of a standard paper printer. It sits there in the corner of the room and prints without any fiddling or calibration, it just gets on with it.
As innovations go, the RoboxDual is packed with features that constantly reveal themselves the more you delve into settings and options.
Dual extrusion 3D printers are becoming more prevalent, and the market in this sector is rapidly expanding. At this point in time, the RoboxDual offers a printer that is cost effective, reliable, and offers great quality beyond any other dual extrusion printer on the market at this price.
Factor in the pricing, innovation and future modular expandability, and it’s difficult not to recommend the RoboxDual.
No Christmas is complete without a mad dash for presents in the final few days. If you’re like me and have left shopping to the last minute, there’s really no alternative to an exhilarating, stressful day of retail shopping to guarantee you can deliver on the big day itself.
But this doesn’t have to be the story. In fact, why buy presents at all? If you have a 3D printer, why aren’t you making them? You don’t need to design your own presents. That’s far too much effort in the run-up to Christmas. Instead, you can download any number of free gifts from online libraries like MyMiniFactory or Thingiverse. You can even personalise the models you download with free software such as Microsoft’s 3D Builder to make your gift even more personal.
The gift you make doesn’t even have to be good. The fact that it’s been 3D printed will be enough to blow the recipient away. And isn’t it the thought that counts anyway?
If you own a 3D printer, let it help you de-stress your Christmas and save a packet in the process. 3D printing your own gifts is fun and extremely cost-effective. What kind of bracelet could you buy for 47p?
And if you don’t own a 3D printer, perhaps you should consider making one of your New Year’s resolutions to involve yourself in this exciting, liberating technology. Robox recently won 3D Hub’s award for best “Plug ‘N’ Play” 3D printer in the world for the 2nd year running. Anyone can become a maker, especially with Robox.
I wanted to post up some feedback from a Robox user and share some of the amazing work he has been doing to make robots imitate life.
Jason from Mechanimal emailed us this very watchable robot.
Not only is he walking, he’s using his arms to help balance, like he should, and he’s using his tiny little eyes to detect obstacles. That’s no wind up toy, that there is an autonomous robot, tiny baby version.
It has 8 independently controlled servo motors, an IR sensor for eyes, 2 microphones, a speaker, and all of the control circuits are in it’s wee little head. A total of 18 pieces in two colors, all from my Robox, and he stands but a few inches tall. Not bad for my first project using the Robox, super excited to make more complex parts with the new dual material head.
And a HUGE thanks once again, this is the machine I’ve been waiting 15+ years for.
Check out some of Jason’s other work, Tiny Timbot will lead you into a whole world of mechanical animals. You can even get involved by becoming a patron here.
If you’ve downloaded the latest version of AutoMaker then you may have noticed that we’ve activated Spiral Printing for you to play with. Robox is particularly good at spiral printing as it offers the highest ranges of wall thickness without having to remove and replace the nozzle.
Below is a quick guide on how to best use this new feature.
There are a number of things that you should be aware of when trying this feature.
Only place one object on the bed at any time.
Because of the nature of spiral printing the flow of material from the nozzles does not stop and start. Placing more than one object on the bed means that the models would be impossible to print in one continuous extrusion.
Ensure that your print has only one continuous island from bottom to top.
This is for the same reason – multiple islands on any layer means that the flow of material has to stop and start. Spiral printing is designed to avoid this.
Consider how thick you want the base to be
This is one of the few controls Automaker has for spiral printing, the number of layers you choose and the layer thickness will equate to your base thickness before spiral printing starts. The first layer is always 0.3mm and as a guide I would ensure that this is the minimum filament width to ensure good adhesion to the bed. The sequence layers heights are controlled by, yes you’ve guessed it, ‘layer height’. So for example if you’ve chosen a layer height of 0.2mm and 5 base layers your spiral print with have a 1.1mm thick base. (0.3mm + (4 x 0.2mm))
Think about what wall thickness you want
After the base of your part is completed the system moves to the spiral printed section, continuously moving up as it orbits the perimeter of your design laying down a single line of filament. The wall thickness is controlled by the perimeter width and because its only going to be done in one pass you may want to increase it and use the larger 0.8mm nozzle to create wall thickness of up to 1.2mm. As a guide I’ve found that the ratio between layer height and wall thickness should be between 2:1 – 5:1, the thicker the wall and the smaller the layer height the more likely overhangs will be printed perfectly.
The part must be solid, not hollowed out with a wall thickness
Because we are using ‘Solid layers at Bottom’ and perimeter thickness to control the thickness of your part the part needs to be a solid to start with. If you want an inner and outer shell, and don’t mind a hollow centre you can use an idea I had when designing the is thermal mug: add a very thin cut down through the part to make each layer a single perimeter again. On the photo below, you can see that the sequence of printing is outside surface of the bowl -> half the handle -> inside surface of the bowl -> half the handle -> outside surface of the bowl… and so on… 6 . Your design is less than 99mm tall
Robox has a 100mm Z-build height, but because of the way Cura adds the Z move to every move on the layer sometimes the sliced part will come out slightly above 100mm. The post processor will throw this out as impossible print, so to avoid this scale your part to ensure it is less than 99mm high.
You can download the cup above from this link. robox_spiral_mug.stl
Or the Vase with Support engineer Lee’s face on it by clicking the image above. LeeVase_Mk2.stl
A key driver of desktop 3D printing technology adoption over the last few years has been the proliferation of completely free 3D modelling tools that are, crucially, user-friendly and extremely high quality. Since these tools are such powerful enablers of 3D printing technology and, during meetings with customers, I often end up sharing my thoughts on the merits of various 3D modelling software tools anyway, I considered I should offer a short summary of tools I use personally and would recommend for use with any 3D printer.
Each tool listed here performs distinct tasks in the 3D modelling process so there’s no overlap of functions between them. The purpose of this list is purely to inform of the tools that I use personally, not to offer any kind of comparison. Some more advanced users may scoff at my 3D modelling arsenal, but I’d ask that they bear in mind my non-engineering background. Despite my novice experience and skills, I’ve found that the following tools work very well together to do pretty much anything I want to do – from designing high-precision mechanisms to personalising Xmas gifts. All of these software tools are free to use because, like most people, I don’t like spending money when I don’t have to.
I use this tool from Microsoft all the time to edit 3D models as it has the cleanest, most user-friendly interface of any 3D modelling tool I’ve used. It looks and feels great, especially when I use it to demonstrate how easy it is to customise and personalise any one of the thousands of free 3D models available from online repositories such as Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory (the latter is integrated into Robox’s AutoMaker software). While 3D Builder is in its element when used to emboss text, logos and other images, it’s equally superb in other areas such as splitting and resizing large models into smaller parts.
This is another free tool that I use all the time, but for creating 3D models rather than editing them. 123D Design is made by Autodesk and, as a result, it’s clean, simple and easy to use with a range of features that satisfies virtually all of my modelling needs. While it lacks most of the advanced features found in 3D modelling software tools such as SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor, it does boast a key feature not found in most expensive 3D modelling tools – the ability to save to the cloud.
I frequently recommend 123D Design since it’s completely free and offers versatile, powerful functionality with an interface suitable for novices and professionals alike. Its high quality is thanks to it being made by one of the best 3D software development companies in the world, which also happens to make the next 3D modelling tool on this list.
Meshmixer is my tool of choice for touching up 3D models. The thing I like most about Meshmixer is the way that models can be sculpted naturally by pulling and pushing on surfaces or cutting parts of a model away. Packed with a wide range of versatile, powerful features which perform extremely useful functions such as smoothing and distorting a surface or hollowing out a model, Autodesk’s Meshmixer is an essential tool in my box of freebies.
An important point to note is that Meshmixer is used to edit organic, rather than geometric, models. An organic model consists of natural, flowing curves and shapes whereas a geometric model is one that comprises perfect, uniform shapes that don’t often appear in nature. The model created in 123D Design above, for example, from geometric shapes such as rectangles, triangles and circles wouldn’t edit well in Meshmixer. However, models captured from 3D scans, such as the duck below, are perfect for editing with this tool, which brings me to yet another Autodesk product…
The final free 3D modelling tool on this list is, without a doubt, the most accessible 3D scanning tool out there. Again, it’s completely free but, unlike the other software listed here, it’s designed to be used on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet computer. 123D Catch is an extremely cost-effective (free!) and convenient alternative to dedicated handheld 3D scanning equipment, which starts at around £300 and typically looks like something airport security would get out if you set off a metal detector. I’ve used the app to scan people, objects, buildings, you name it. The app is easy to use and can produce good quality scans, which can be improved further and touched up using Meshmixer. The only drawback to this app is the length of time it takes for photos to be uploaded to Autodesk and processed. It can be a little frustrating – especially if you have poor mobile phone signal! – but I understand frustration to be a feature of all current handheld 3D scanning technologies to a greater or lesser extent.
I did consider adding a fifth 3D modelling tool to this list since 4 is an unusual number to end a list on, but since these four tools take up around 95% of my 3D modelling time I didn’t feel it was appropriate to add another. Tinkercad would most likely have been the fifth free tool , which you can see in action below:
The combined value of this small collection of tools is considerably more than the sum of its parts. When used together, these apps can transform any 3D printer from a novelty to magic. Although I’m currently experimenting with more heavy duty 3D modelling software such as SpaceClaim (I’ve received a free trial) and may end up adding more software to this list, for now I think I’ll be sticking with the free stuff.
Please note: CEL has no commercial ties with Autodesk. They just so happen to make a great suite of free 3D modelling tools.