Robox vs Competitors
MakerBot Replicator™ 2X
|External Dimensions||370 x 340 x 240mm
14.5 x 13.4 x 9.4″
|258 x 258 x 440mm
10.1 x 10.1 x 17.3”
|440 x 279 x 330mm
16 x 11 x 13”
|260 x 260 x 340mm
10 x 10 x 13”
|490 x 420 x 531mm
19.1 x 16.5 x 20.9”
|Build Volume||210 x 150 x 100mm
8.3 x 5.9 x 3.9”
|150 x 100 x 120mm
5.9 x 3.9 x 5.9”
|150 x 150 x 150mm
5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9”
|140 x 140 x 140mm
5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5”
|246 x 152 x 155mm
9.7 x 6.0 x 6.1”
|Best Layer Resolution||20 microns||100 microns||50 microns||200 microns||100 microns|
|Nozzle Diameter(s)||0.3mm and 0.8mm
0.012” and 0.031”
|Automatic Bed Levelling|
|Automatic Material Recognition|
|Pause / Resume Prints|
|Heated Build Platform|
|Replaceable Print Head|
|Internal Lighting||Full RGB||6 Colours|
|Material Compatibility||PLA, ABS, HIPS Nylon, PC, PVA||PLA, ABS||PLA, ABS, PVA||PLA, ABS||PLA, ABS|
|Software||Robox® AutoMaker™||Based on Octoprint||Based on Meshlab/Slic3r||Cube® Software||MakerWare™|
|Supported Operating Systems|
|Price||£849 ($1,399)||£430 ($699)||£430 ($699)||£950 ($1,532)||£1,725 ($2,799)|
|Build Volume||This is the maximum size of object that can be printed in one build.
Although a large volume is desirable a smaller print will always have a higher accuracy.
|Best Layer Resolution||The thickness of each printed layer. Thinner layers mean more detail and accuracy.|
|Extruder Support||Additional extruders allow secondary print materials or colours.|
|Nozzle Diameter(s)||The size of the material that is extruded from the nozzle effects accuracy and print time.|
|Automatic Bed Levelling||Bed levelling is a fiddly and time consuming problem for most 3D printer users.|
|Automatic Material Recognition||This allows the printer to set a huge range of print parameters without the need for user input.|
|Pause / Resume Prints||Vital to user sanity. If a print takes 3 hours and runs out of material in the last few layers
a resume feature allows the print to continue where it left off.
|Heated Build Platform||Some materials require a heated bed to ensure they stick to the surface
and do not cool too quickly for good lamination.
|Draught-blocking Enclosure||The temperature of the extruded filament is vital for layer lamination and controlled material shrinkage.|
|Replaceable Print Head||Swap for an upgraded or replacement head, or perhaps another type of material manipulation.|
|Internal Lighting||Watch your design appear in front of your eyes and get visual feedback from the printer.|
|Material Compatibility||What can I print with? Why would you limit yourself?|
|Assembled||Some printers need an engineering degree and a pot of luck to assemble and configure.|
|Software||Included software, makes the printer print. Should be dedicated and tuned your specific printer.|
|WiFi/Remote Connectivity||How the printer communicates.|
|Supported Operating Systems||Will it run on your system?|
|Price||Obviously some printers are seriously overpriced.|
Robox® combines the best features of all the market leaders at a fraction of the cost.
More for less; Welcome to the future of micro-manufacturing!
Robox® Key Features
Frame and Case Design
The quality of printing is predominantly dependent on the resolution and accuracy of the motion axes. The printer must be capable of laying down accurate slices of plastic material layer after layer to produce a usable part. We have designed Robox® from scratch, ensuring the frame and motion systems are extremely rigid and accurately positioned. All motors and axes are attached to a single stainless steel frame which is a reference surface for all motion; this is rigidly attached to injection moulded parts which form the body of the printer to create a super-stable platform.
Speed – Dual Nozzle System
Robox® includes a proprietary dual-nozzle system which can improve print speeds by up to 300% when set against our competitors. A single material feed can be directed out of one of two nozzles – with a 0.3mm or 0.8mm extrusion diameter. This means Robox® can produce highly detailed exterior surfaces for the surfaces you can see, and then quickly fill the object using the larger nozzle multiple layers at a time without affecting part strength or detail. This combined with a needle-valve system stops ‘ooze’ and ‘stringing’ from the nozzles – a problem commonly found in other printers. So now you can finally have the best of both worlds – a perfect high quality exterior finish with much faster print times!
All of the motion axes are coupled to a single sheet metal part, reducing the need for factory calibration and ensuring that your Robox® is perfect for printing straight off the production line. The use of injection moulded parts combined with sheet metal components produces a very rigid structure, while allowing for a stylish consumer product.
By using a ‘Bowden tube’ extruder, we are able to keep the weight of the printing head to a minimum, allowing for much faster extrusion and travel speeds without affecting print quality.
Large High Torque Stepper Motors with High Resolution Axes
We have over-specified the stepper motors for all the motion axes, meaning Robox® should be able to cope with all future head developments without a hitch. We have used 2mm pitch belt drives for X and Y axes and our own custom machined 0.5mm pitch Z axis screw. All of the motors are custom designed for the printer. This gives us the highest theoretical accuracy on the market, and allows us to achieve super-fine layer height.
Separate Build Chamber and Electronics Enclosure
Due to the heated build platform, we can maintain approximately 50°C ambient temperature in the build chamber. This stable environment helps to maintain part accuracy and print quality by preventing uneven cooling. The problem with this feature is that this ambient temperature can be too hot for the motors and electronics which control the printer. These are all therefore outside the build chamber and actively cooled by outside airflow to keep everything running smoothly.
Automatic Build Platform Levelling
One of the major problems with almost all available 3D printers is that the bed must be manually levelled to ensure the first layer adheres correctly. This is be a fiddly process which has to be regularly repeated – a source of frustration for other 3D printer owners! Well, we’ve solved that. Robox® uses a proprietary bed probing mechanism which can measures the location of the bed before every print. As both Z motors are driven independently they can be adjusted to ensure the X axis is always parallel to the print bed.
Extruder Construction and Feedback Loop
The Robox® extruder contains the world’s first dual-pinch-wheel extrusion system. This allows for very consistent and reliable extruder operation with excellent resolution and control. The filament is fed to the head by two indexed contra-rotating feed wheels which are powered by a worm & wheel gearbox. This arrangement virtually eliminates the possibility of ‘stripping’ your filament, causing a loss of extrusion and poor print quality.
Pause and Resume!
The filament extruder incorporates a closed-loop feedback system which monitors the motion of filament as it enters the extruder, giving it the ability to instantly recognise extrusion issues. The software can pause the print if any error is found, allowing the user or firmware to rectify the problem without ruining the entire print. A long awaited feature on 3D printers is ‘resume’ – the user can restart the print and it will continue from where it left off. Another first for Robox®!
Nozzle Valve System
Another problem that we have solved is ‘ooze’ -the stringing and over extrusion at the end of a section of printing. This happens due to the low viscosity of molten plastic. In most printers, this is solved by what is known as a ‘retract’, where the filament is rapidly reversed in conjunction with a very small melt chamber, however this is not always effective. Robox® overcomes this problem through the use of a needle-valve system which completely closes the nozzles at the point of extrusion, removing all stringing and ‘blobs’ from the part – resulting in an amazing surface finish.