Perhaps one of our most exciting announcements to date – CEL Robox has partnered with ColorFabb, the Dutch producer of high quality filaments, to bring its range of new filament colours to CEL customers as Robox SmartReels.
The partnership means Robox customers can print with a rainbow of colours in ColorFabb’s co-polyester filament ‘colorFabb_XT’, made from Eastman Chemical Company’s Amphora™ 3D Polymer. The colorFabb_XT filament is available from 30th September 2015 in the full range of colours, including Red, Orange, Yellow, Light Green, Dark Green, Light Blue, Purple, Pink, Black, White and Clear.
ColorFabb_XT is made from Amphora™ 3D Polymer, a product of the Eastman Chemical Company, and has a number of advantages over both PLA and ABS materials. For example it is less brittle than PLA, and because of its extremely low shrink rate it is dimensionally more accurate than other materials and has good bed adhesion, with strong inter-layer bonding.
ColorFabb extrude their blend of Amphora™ 3D Polymer in the Netherlands on their high quality manufacturing suite which is specially designed to maintain high dimensional accuracy.
CEL Robox is the first 3D printing manufacturer to have this world famous filament spooled onto directly their SmartReels.
Chris Elsworthy comments: “The CEL Robox project is to build an eco-system around an extremely user friendly piece of hardware and to do this we want to bring together industry leaders to benefit 3D printer users.
“In this case we have the first resin ever developed for 3D printing from Eastman, ColorFabb’s high quality blending and extrusion and Robox’s user friendly SmartReel system.
“ColorFabb_XT is another high quality material that we bring to our users to ensure their 3D printing experience is the best it can be.
“We are particularly interested in using this material in education applications as we feel it improves the reliability of printing and the strength of the end results.”
Ruud Rouleaux, CEO at ColorFabb said: “I first saw the Robox printer in action in 2014 and was immediately taken by the ease of use that Robox offers consumers.
“So when we began looking for a 3D printer to partner with we naturally reached out to Robox to see how we could work together to make 3D printing in a range of different materials more accessible to everyone.
“In Robox we have found a partner that we can work together with to achieve our goal of allowing people to create functional and aesthetically beautiful prints.”
Alex Dudal, market development representative, Eastman Chemical Company, remarked: “Collaborations such as the one between CEL and ColorFabb are why Eastman is involved in the 3D printing market. Working with these leaders in the hardware and filament markets allows us to bring the benefits of Eastman Amphora™ 3D polymer to a wider audience.”
Eastman Amphora™ 3D polymer is a low-odour, styrene-free choice that is uniquely suited for 3D printing applications.
With Amphora, items can be created that are more functional, more durable, more efficient, and attractive.
Hi I’m Jack and I would like to share my experience of using my Robox, with regard to a component I designed and am now selling online. The guys and CEL were happy to hear my story and suggested I write a blog. Below is a short story of how I came up with the idea and what I did with it:
I first had the thought of the product when I was a passenger in a brand new Ford Fiesta, having a brainstorm of what things around the cabin I could 3d print. I knew that the vehicle was the U.K’s most sold car, and so there could be real demand If I came up with something significant. I initially focussed on a phone adaptor, located near the handbrake, but soon after noticed this very large gaping hole, situated just behind the handbrake lever. Essentially the plastic handbrake had a flange at the back, instead of a leather gaiter, which in the downwards position covered an opening. However in the upwards position this flange lowered into the car, leaving a ~5x3cm opening. This opening was situated approximately just down from the driving occupants top left hip, meaning if an item, such as car keys fell out of the persons pocket then it would fall down into this hole. Recovering items that were lost could not be done at short notice, requiring the centre console to be partly removed using specific tools, to gain access to the lower regions of the car. Imagine losing your car keys, what would you do!
At that point I had my Eureka moment! I could design a cover to stop this from happening. The next step was to confirm no one else had thought of the solution by having a look on the internet, using the car club forums. I came across a page, containing circa 100+ comments from people having lost valuables. Items from keys to lighters had been said to have been lost, causing real aggravation to customers. The section of the website had been viewed over 12,000 times, so at that point I knew there was demand for a solution.
Around work commitments I developed a concept over a 7 month time frame, using friends to trial my designs. I think to date I produced around 30 prototype designs, all designed on my home computer using a professional level cad program. This is where I really got to know my Robox and appreciate its capability. I opted for a third party filament, based on comments from the Robox community, choosing Colourfabb XT black and was impressed how easy it was to optimise through the Automaker software. I spent a long time making tweaks before coming up with a specific architecture, just optimising it around the printer, such as print time and material costs. Finally after some additional trialling I finalised my design and had a product ready for launch!
Though initially intending to sell the product on eBay I opted to create my own website. After coming up with a suitable name; strongshapes, FYI my surname is Strong, I set about creating a website that had a professional image to potential customers and also support them after purchasing. I’m really happy with the results and am continually developing it further. The website went live in July and I am happy to report it is a success, people are actually buying my product! I am currently looking at ways of advertising as I find sales are relative to social media. Ultimately though I think when I make the costs back from purchasing the printer I will have reached a personal milestone. I don’t think it will be too long and additionally I have a local university offering to 3d print my design, moving up from prototyping, all possible thanks to my Robox!
Finally just to say that if you know anyone who has a Ford Fiesta 2012+ to have a look at my website and see if they could use this product. Also If at least I could ask readers who are on social media to share my website, and help support this Robox enthusiast!
A modification which will allow Robox users to print with flexible filaments such as Ninjaflex. Bowden tube printers struggle with flex materials but the patented needle valves on Robox give excellent results.
In future we will produce extruders with this part as standard, this mod is for reference only. We are working on the details of an upgrade service which when purchased will allow your Robox to be updated with the latest available parts.
WARNING! This mod is not supported by CEL or it’s resellers, any changes to your Robox or changes which affect it will not be covered by warranty.
WARNING! Never remove or connect any plugs or covers while power is supplied to Robox via the mains plug or by USB.
This mod prevents flexible filament (tested with Ninjaflex) from distorting in the gears of the extruder. Details of the mod are deliberately sparse as this should only be attempted by skilled people familiar with the required tools and with Robox.
Do not open any casing or remove any cables while power is present. Leaving Robox completely unplugged – including USB and mains cables – for at least 30 mins will allow capacitors to discharge and reduce the chance of a shock.
It requires printing of the small part shown above (flex_material_part.stl – print some spares before removing your extruder) which fits between the 2 filament drive wheels without stopping the filament from being driven by these wheels. To fit the part some of the extruder housing needs to be cut away from 2 parts of the extruder housing.
Above: Top part is modified, bottom is original.
Below: It is very important that the filament is not trapped by the new part. Use a piece of filament put through the central hole to keep the new part in place while marking prior to cutting.
The depth of the cut is equal on each side. Take care to keep cuts square and neat, we used a grinder similar to a Dremel.
Remove small amounts of material and test the assembly often to ensure the fit is good.
Images below left for reference.
An excellent resource and introduction to the BBC micro:bit by our partners Kitronik
See the article here: https://www.kitronik.co.uk/blog/bbc-microbit-cad-resources/
This Kitronik University resource is part of the BBC micro:bit partnership and features FREE downloadable CAD files in relation to the BBC micro:bit. These downloadable files are available in three different formats and have been made using Autodesk’s Inventor Professional.
The BBC micro:bit CAD Files
The team here at Kitronik have created a CAD model of the BBC micro:bit. We will be using this model to produce many of the resources we will be creating for the BBC micro:bit. We’re sure these models will be useful for lots of applications so we are making them available completely free of charge, as we feel this maintains the spirit of what the BBC are trying to achieve with the BBC micro:bit project.
Students and teachers (and home users) alike are sure to find them a fantastic starting point for projects based around the BBB micro:bit.
The files are available in the following formats (see bottom of page for download links):
- .iam (Autodesk Inventor)
- .stl (which can be used in most CAD programs and for 3D printers)
This render was created using Autodesk Inventor Professional and shows the kind of images the files could be used to create.
Autodesk – FREE Educational Design Software
Clearly to use these files you will need some CAD software. Autodesk provide their professional software free of charge to Education and Home user which makes it an ideal choice.
Autodesk gave the following reason for providing such easy access to it’s products:
‘Closing the skills gap starts in education. Autodesk are tackling this by providing schools with common access to the same advanced technology being used by industry professionals today. Autodesk provides schools, students and teachers with free access to its professional 3D design software. This will enable educators to introduce design thinking into our classrooms allowing students to imagine, design and create a better world. Using these tools to learn how to solve real-world challenges in new creative ways will be the perfect preparation for our the next-generation workforce. Equipping them with 21st century skills to meet industry demands and advance economies worldwide.’
You can get a number of Autodesk software products for free, for both educational institutions and home use, check here for more information.
The above images are renders of the CAD files using Autodesk 3DS Max and Autodesk 360
How Kitronik Are Using The Design
We’re using this design to create a few resources which we thought you’d find useful.
One example is this cool poster highlighting the features of the BBC micro:bit (A4 download available below):
Another is this useful mechanical datasheet (download available below):
Using The Files When Creating 3D Printed Case Designs
Having the BBC micro:bit as a CAD object is incredibly useful when creating 3D printable (or laser cut-able) case designs. It means you can create your design with the knowledge that when you come to manufacturer the final design the BBC micro:bit should fit perfectly!
An example use of this would be when designing a case, like this one designed by Chris Elsworthy from CEL Robox to create this great 3D printed case design.
Having the renders available makes this job much easier, and ensures an accurate result. We will also be using the files in our own models and case designs.
- .iam file (AutoDesk Inventor Professional – Zipped).
- .stl file (Outside shell only – For 3D Printing – Zipped).
- .sat file (3D ACIS Modeler – Zipped).
- Mechanical datasheet.
You can see the full BBC micro:bit – Kitronik University Course here.
Welcome to the Robox newsletter! Communication has always been important to us at Robox HQ, but it’s easy to get wrapped up with in-house developments and forget to tell everyone what we’ve been working on.
So from this point forward we’ll be making the effort to communicate with you on a monthly basis about our hardware and software developments, company changes or progress, what’s in the news, staffing updates and so on.
HARDWARE UPDATE – Dual Material Head
A couple of weeks ago we reported on the delay of the dual material head, as we want to be completely transparent about how things are developing. The response from our resellers and end users was overwhelming positive, with most happy to wait for a reliable and tested design.
Progress since this point has been good, tooling for the dual material reel holders is about to start after several rounds of prototypes (which were printed on the Robox of course!).
We have received the first samples of the X-carriage cable and Bowden tube management system. This will improve bed homing and stop larger prints from interfering with the cables. This is especially important as we move to dual material printing as the weight and force that the Bowden tubes apply to the x-carriage may affect the sensitivity of the bed probing. So far things are looking good and tests are well underway.
The design for the Dual Material Head has been approved with both the factory and the designers and a larger sample set is now being made. The manufacturing of these samples will test the new assembly and ensure that the assembly is easy and will be consistent. These heads will then be divided to do a range of tests, including life, functionality, quality of printing and performance testing, and some of them will add in the development of the software.
HARDWARE UPDATE – other developments
Design work has started on a Drag Knife Cutter and plotter pen holder; these are just being finalised before we start preliminary testing.
The extruder has been improved and we have added an additional internal part that allows the printing of flexible materials – early testing is extremely positive and the ability to print flexible parts will expand the possibilities for Robox even further. These changes are relatively minor and upgrade parts will be made available for users to buy and upgrade their extruders, we will also offer an upgrade service as I expect will our affiliated resellers.
We’ve been working hard to incorporate the new features required for dual-material printing. The post-processor has been completely re-written to improve speed, quality and to integrate new dual-material features. You’ll be able to choose which material is used for support or which colour to use for each component. Grouping of objects is being added so that composite dual material objects can be constructed from ordinary single material models. Dual material mode is of course automatically available when a second extruder and dual material head are present.
We’re going to release another version of AutoMaker before that though. Version 1.02.00 is just about to enter beta testing and includes lots of new features to make printing easier. Some of the highlights are:
- Raft support
- Filament and Print Profile libraries – a much simpler way of managing print data that can be accessed from any screen
- Lean, twist and turn model rotation – we’ve retained snap to ground but these controls will help with precise positioning of objects
- Time, Weight and Cost display – this is automatically calculated for the standard profiles and the currently selected custom profile
- Undo/Redo of commands
- Inclusion of the latest version of Slic3r (1.2.8) which is much faster than the old version
We’ve also introduced the first set of UI changes that will simplify and enhance print progress information and have made many small modifications based on suggestions from our users. 1.02.00 is going to be a great upgrade that we’re sure you’ll enjoy.
IN OTHER NEWS…
Affiliated Reseller Scheme
We are delighted to welcome Le Comptoir 3D on board as a registered Affiliated Reseller for CEL Robox in France – visit http://www.lecomptoir3d.com/ for more details.
Last month has seen significant coverage appear across 11 international news sites, from the likes of 3DPrint.com, Tech Digest, 3DPrintNews, Microfabricator, Shiny Shiny and 3DPrintingIndustry.
Our biggest news stories focussed on Robox inventor Chris Elsworthy and his struggle with dyslexia growing up, and how he sees 3D printing as another way to showcase the creative talents of dyslexic children.
We also had great success with our ‘Dad Bod’ story – one of our incredibly talented service technicians designed an up-to-date version of the David’s Michelangelo by giving him a ‘dad bod’ – a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.
This month has already seen some fantastic coverage dropping in, with Education Dive picking up on the educational opportunities presented by 3D printers – http://www.educationdive.com/news/stem-expands-pathways-for-students-with-disabilities/401668/
EdSurge illustrates how 3D printers can help dyslexic people – https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-07-04-how-3d-printers-help-learners-overcome-dyslexia
While Machine Design is a feature on the internals of the Robox – a great read if you want to know how our printer is put together – http://machinedesign.com/3d-printing/3d-printer-offers-filament-recognition
We’re tryng to supply our resellers and customers with as much information as possible for the Robox, so have introduced a new video which highlights some of the product’s key USPs, such as the unique HeadLock™ system, AutoMaker™ software, bed-levelling technology, and so on.
To watch the video on our website please visit:
To share the video amongst your own customers please use the following link:
To download the video for yourselves use the following embed:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/gKkfbfxrSDU?rel=0&showinfo=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
INTRODUCTION TO THE CEL TEAM
Each month we’ll be introducing you to a member of the CEL Technology team – we’re keen for you to get to know us, and feel it’s important that we work together to take the Robox project forwards.
This month we’re featuring TWO key members of the team – TWO because it’s hard to talk about one without the other, as together they founded the CEL name and launched the Robox 3D printer.
Introducing our very own COO Kenneth Tam, who heads up operations in Hong Kong and China, and oversees all internationals sales, and CEO Chris Elsworthy, who heads up operations in the UK and oversees all design and production of the 3D printer and associated products.
Kenneth and Chris have been business partners for 8 years, after first joining forces to launch the successful POWER8workshop.
Prior to forming CEL the pair had been business acquaintances for a number of years while working for other companies, before a taxi ride together led to Chris sharing his design ideas with Kenneth, who, as an experienced businessman immediately recognised the potential. Further discussions led to a very firm friendship and trust in each other’s capabilities.
Kenneth’s background is in marketing, manufacturing, sales and distribution, while Chris is an inventor and design engineer by trade. Since partnering, the pair have gone on to sell power tools internationally, win awards for their innovation, appear on television shows, and are now trying to secure their place within the 3D printing industry.
Each has a passion for creating innovative items which are fun to use and fulfil a gap in the market.
3D printing made easy, Automated calibration, Low maintenance, Wide range of materials, Fast heat up, Unique safety features, Intuitive software, British design backed up by a 2 Year Warranty
Another CEL designed pebble watch strap printable on the Robox. Some Assembly Required!
Resolution: Normal or Fine
We recommend 94 links to start with. Your watch strap may require more or less links depending on the size of your wrist. You will always need 1 x link latch and 8 x link blanks. The original spring pins from the Pebble were used to connect the straps to the watch itself. The links are held together with ABS filament fed through them. We recommend using 2mm bar for the part the latch clips on too.
Yesterday our very own Chris Elsworthy attended a speaker panel at the TRMW Conference at the IP EXPO Conference Centre in Manchester, along with other panel members Chris Thorpe, founder of @icanmakehq, James Bruton of XRobots Guy, XRobots.co.uk, designer Brendan Dawes, and Professor Brian Derby, a lecturer at University of Manchester
The purpose of the panel was to discuss “Material World: A Printed Future? – Why make a thousand units a thousand miles away, when you can make exactly what the customer wants, on the spot, from a standard set of raw materials. New materials and advanced manufacturing are set to disrupt every aspect of production from extraction to consumption. Or are they?”
An hour of discussion crossed a multitude of topics, but here are some of the questions, and Chris’s replies:
Why hasn’t 3D printing caught on so far in the home?
- “The main reason is a lack of understanding about the technology and what it is capable of. And in particular, what we would need a 3D printer for. There will be a slow social change as more and more people become makers and adoption of consumer 3D printers increases as a result. Also important is the difference between children and adults – children get 3D printing straight away but it can take a while to convince many adults about the technology.”
What are the problems with 3D printing and 3D designs?
- “Too often, people just want to recreate objects which already exist. They say that they want to replicate that glass or that toothbrush, but these designs were made for different manufacturing processes. In the future, there will be more designs made specifically for 3D printers and as a result users will get much better and more satisfying results as the technology matures.”
What is the far future of 3D printing?
- “3D printing with more and more types of materials will make 3D printing more and more useful. Imagine being able to 3D print an entire combustion engine, complete with everything you need including the oil. Once this can be done efficiently, manufacturing processes will change dramatically.”