Automaker 2.01.02 – New Feature! – Support Material Gap

As we start to key up CEL and Robox for dual material printing we have introduced a lot of new concepts. Most of our users will have seen some of these multi-material features creeping into AutoMaker over the most recent few releases. Today we’ve added another new feature with AutoMaker 2.01.02 Download here.

We think that one of the most useful features of multi-material printing is the ability to use one material for your part and the other as support structure. This means with the correct choice of material, support can be greatly improved. One of the Materials we been testing is PolyMaker’s PolySupport, we’ve found it to print well in a wide range of temperatures and have consistent structural and functional properties. PolySupport is designed to be a support material for PLA and we found that although its a PLA based material it delaminates easily from PLA and other materials making it very easy to remove. It has elastic and flexible properties which mean its a joy to peel from your model, infinitely easier than using any other Peel-able support material we’ve tested, in-fact its so good we’ve added a this new support gap option.

To further improve the support that an easily peel-able material can give your part we can remove the gap between the top and bottom surface, this gap was necessary when you needed to break-away support structures of the same material. We semi-automated this option, when AutoMaker sees that you are using a different material for support than the one chosen for your parts it will automatically deselect this option.

Support Gap OptionI hear some of you say “Why peel-able, why not focus on dissolvable support?”, well, we thought the same when we started to print with multiple materials but quickly discovered that dissolvable material solutions are messy, take a long time and are often difficult to process and store. Peel-able support can often be removed in a few minutes, where dissolvable support material can take hours if not days to disappear and often require some peeling as well. One thing you might have read about on the internet is the use of limonene to dissolve HIPS away from ABS prints, this is not a reality, after only a few tests we found that limonene does dissolve HIPS, but it also damages the ABS beyond usefulness. The other thing is that unless you LOVE the smell of oranges you quickly grow tired of all your parts, the office, your finger and pretty much everything you own having that pungent smell. Don’t misunderstand me, dissolvable materials will have their place, but for a large majority of support applications we feel easy peel-able is the way forward right now.

We’ve also exposed some of the controls around the generation of support structure to you so that you can tune your profiles to get more perfect parts.

Support Gap Options Profile

 

Version 2.01.02

  • Autoupdate now uses port 80 rather than port 8001
  • Added Support Gap function
    • This controls the vertical distance between the support material and model material which affects how easily support material can be removed
    • Disabled automatically if support material is different to model material (useful when using specialised peel-off support material)
    • Horizontal (Support XY Distance) and vertical (Support Z Distance) offsets are configured in the Print Profiles page
    • If Support Gap is enabled the system will introduce a vertical gap between support and model material
    • If Support Gap is disabled there will be no gap between support and model material
  • Improved filament saver function for dual material printing (automatic heater control during prints)
  • Grouped advanced mode controls onto an Advanced Mode menu on the Preferences page
  • Automatic selection of correct head type on profile page
  • Modified status display to make use of Material 1 and Material 2 clearer

When AutoMaker updates are available your system will usually find and offer an update automatically. If you are behind a firewall or some other system which prevents this, please visit www.cel-robox.com/downloads/ and download the most recent AutoMaker package.

AutoMaker sometimes needs to update the firmware on your printer. Please allow the firmware to update as requested by AutoMaker. If you do not allow the firmware update to take place, AutoMaker may not be able to communicate with your printer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: a firmware update will power cycle your printer so ensure no operations such as a print or calibration are running at the time of the firmware update.

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

6 Comments

  • Enginwiz says:

    Stratasys SR-30 works really well as a soluble support material
    for Colorfabb nGEN. Dishwasher powder dissolves the support
    material in a jar of hot water. Nice and easy.

    When will the dual material upgrade kit be available
    in your webshop?

    • Pete says:

      We have some DM kits being installed now from the first batch of orders, more are on the way to us to fulfil all the pre-orders. More are in production which we intend to have as stock but are expecting these to sell out before they arrive. If you pre-order now you should get a DM kit before Christmas but if you wait until stock is available for immediate shipping it may be later than that.

  • Edward says:

    is that a Robox knife plotter attachment I spotted?
    can’t wait! ^_^

  • Paul Battram says:

    How does the gap distance feature in AutoMaker fit in with Poly support? If Poly support uses an adhesive like material to adhere to the model, is a gap distance still advisable? For a single print head Robox I assume that it works as though it uses one colour, does Poly support come in different colours or is it just white? Can a model printed in Poly support be painted?

    • Pete says:

      Polysupport is really only intended for dual material printing as a support material. The key feature of polysupport is that it de-laminates very easily so is easy to peel away from a model, it is not an adhesive. It currently only comes in Pearl White and is unlikely to be useful for painting, it was designed purely as a support so has no useful mechanical properties apart from this.
      The gap between generated support and the main model is there so the 2 shapes are not bonded together. In single material prints the model and it’s support are the same material so they bond together and require a gap. When polysupport and a compatible material are used the gap can be removed as the 2 materials de-laminate easily. The benefit of this is that the supported surface is more accurate as it is less likely to sag onto a gap while bridging. The surface of supported areas is better and the support is still easy to de-laminate and remove.

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