1. Can I design things in AutoMaker ?

AutoMaker is our software for controlling the robox hardware; it allows you to send your design to the printer and set any parameters you need to get your design made. You can change the size, quality and strength of the print you’re about to start but currently you can’t design an object from scratch.  AutoMaker in also integrated with the world’s largest library of proven 3D printable designs – ‘My Mini Factory’.  You can download and place some of the millions of objects contained in the library and even customize some of them before printing in the material and colour of your choice.

  1. What will I print ?

Anything you want or desire!! I know, this doesn’t really help when you’ve been given a space age box of tricks. We would suggest browsing one of the online libraries to see what kind of things other people are printing – this can give you inspiration about how you can use your 3D printer to fix problems around the home, make toys, fashion items, decorations, replacement parts and so much more… 3D printed parts can be practical or just plain fun, the material is cheap so don’t be scared to have a play and print something just for fun.

  1. Where do I download things to print ?

There are lots of online libraries of parts to download and print, some these can be customized before you download them and all can be tweaked when you’ve got them. Our favourite repository is ‘My Mini Factory’ because they print all the items before uploading to make sure they are printable.  Not all libraries do this so there will be some downloads which aren’t specifically designed for 3D printing.

  1. What setup is required out of the box ?

To get 3D printing with Robox all you need to do is install the AutoMaker Software, unpack and connect the Robox to your PC and install the filament. Everything else will be done by the hardware itself. (a short video here)

  1. What ongoing maintenance is required ?

For normal users there is no maintenance other than keeping the Robox clean and tidy. For heavy users we include some high temperature oil that should be applied to the Y and X rails if the Robox makes an unusual noise while moving.

  1. How much does it cost to print ?

There is nearly no wastage when using Robox,  apart from a very small purge before a print, when swapping types of material and if you elected to use support material to make difficult shape objects. Cost is dependent on the type of material the Robox is consuming but typically it costs around £0.042 per gram and the cost of an object can be measured by the weight of material used. For example, a print case may use 18g of material so its cost to make is 18 x £0.042 = £0.77. The cost of electricity is less than a light bulb so even long prints will be extremely low cost. (all the different types of filament)

  1. Why do I need a 3D printer ?

If you are someone who enjoys making things rather than buying stock items, or if you want to find a solution for something you really need, 3D printing is for you. With a 3D printer you can easily realize all the designs you’ve been storing in your mind. Unlike all other skilled ways of making objects because the design is created on a computer using computer Aided Design(CAD) software you can improve your design every time you make it.  And unlike any other process, there are no additional costs involved so you can change and improve designs as many times as you want.

  1. What can a 3D printer make ?

You will often hear that “3D printers can make anything!!” and this is true, but the easiest things to print are those that have been designed for the process. Like any manufacturing technique the thing you want to make has to be designed in such a way as to take advantage of the process. There are things that 3D printers can make that some other manufacturing processes find impossible and there are aspects of designs that 3D printing struggles to do, with this in mind it’s important to understand the process so your designs aren’t restricted by your tools.  But to give some tangible examples of what desktop 3D printers can make, you could print door hinges and knobs, cutlery and cake cutters, pen pots and school homework accessories, bespoke decorative items for the house, gifts for loved one, the list is endless.

  1. What if the thing I want doesn’t fit onto Robox’s bed ?

You will be surprised what will fit into a Robox.  And most things around the house can fit into the palm of your hand, and will therefore fit onto the Robox bed.  A good way to find out what you can print inside a Robox is to make a cardboard box with the internal dimensions of 210 x 150 x 100mm.  Place any object you imagine you’d like to print into the box and you’ll discover that most things will fit.  If you do find something that won’t fit it’s very easy to cut the model into several parts and print each part next to each other or in separate jobs. Free software such as Microsoft Builder can easily cut up your models. We are soon going to include this function into our AutoMaker Software.

  1. Why isn’t it sticking to the bed ?

Prints that don’t stick to the bed are the most common reasons for failed prints. Even though we have a revolutionary ThermoSurface to remove the need for any preparation, if the head height isn’t calibrated correctly the type of bed surface can’t help. There are a few steps you can take to make sure your prints stick; use the supplied wipes to remove any finger prints or debris from the bed; ensure you head is calibrated; and the filament you are using is kept dry and in the sealed bag when not being used. If you still have trouble with first layer adhesion there are software options to increase the contact area of your part with the bed.  Brim, raft and support will add material to the first layer and thus improve adhesion. (more info. here)

Not the right order I’d say, but they are definitely the questions I get asked a lot…

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

One Comment

  • Roth Hinkle says:

    I am struggling to get my robox to use both reels, I want to print a part with support but it wants to print the entire thing in polysupport and I can’t seem to figure out how to get it to print the object in PLA (sunset orange)? I guess it can’t figure out how to toggle which material it uses. I am using Automaker 3.00.00

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