3D Printed future: Designing for Spiral Printing

A quick espresso cup design that can be spiral printed - haven't had time to test the design yet, the Robox sample is being used by Peter at the moment!

Over the weekend, between taking the kids to birthday parties (Happy Birthday Addy!) and clubs, I experimented with Robox and spiral printing. Having downloaded the obligatory vases and sliced them using the Slic3r experimental spiral print function, it was really quick to get some good results and I was pleased with the performance of Robox. After getting bored with vases, I CAD’ed up a Robox version and printed it, which was good but left me thinking there must be more to spiral print than vases…


Vases 100mm tall, 0.15mm layer height, 1mm wall printed using the 0.8mm nozzle.

The quality of prints were fantastic, in-fact some of the best surface finishes I’ve seen from a 3D printer, but what I was most impressed with was the speed and ease they were produced. One of the benefits of Robox is that due to it’s large nozzle (0.8mm), we can print a single outside perimeter that is 1mm thick, meaning great quality rigid prints, fast.

Why can’t everything be this easy to print?  –  We need to start designing products and parts that take advantage of this new manufacturing technique – I don’t just mean orienting them in the build chamber and slapping a flat bottom on so the part will stick to the bed, but really designing things that can be better if made with a 3D printer. One of the things we’ve been printing a lot in the office is a whole lot of espresso cups (don’t ask why, you’ll find out later) which are taking ages… but spiral printing could not only make them quicker to print but also have a better surface finish and introduce more features. Why not design the cup so each layer has a single profile, handle and all, and vary the wall thickness where needed? You could even have an inner and outer wall like a Thermos flask to keep your coffee hot and the outer surface of the cup cool.

About Chris Elsworthy

CEO, Design engineer, Family man, started product development company, best known for pitching CEL in BBC Dragons' Den. Robox and POWER8 workshop inventor. Portishead, Bristol · cel-robox.com


  • Kester says:

    Those do look like fantastic prints – are they ABS or PLA?

    Could you do a post about your software? i.e. what differentiates it from the others out there, how quick is it for a beginner to use, etc.

    Can’t wait to see the Robox being offered for sale – any news on likely launch dates?

    • Chris Elsworthy says:

      Hi Kester,
      The prints are in ABS, we’ve only just had the first fulls sample set of PLA and ABS turn up this week and are very busy testing them now.
      I’ve told Ian our software guy to write a post so when he’s got 5mins you’ll know all about it..
      Retail units will be available 1st qtr. 2014, but if you want to get involved in out beta testing program watch this space for news..

  • Kester says:

    Thanks Chris – I’ll be in touch shortly on behalf of our Dept. to talk about testing a beta version.

  • roee shachnai says:

    is the purple cup a render or photo ?

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