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2014

Hardcotton’s much anticipated Kickstarter campaign for their revolutionary pressure controlled stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer has launched.

 

Hailed as one of the biggest innovations seen from the consumer side of the SLA 3D printer market, Elemental is a desktop SLA 3D printer with a difference. Like other SLA printers, Elemental utilises a laser system to cure photosensitive resins. Unlike other SLA printers though, Elemental uses a pressure control system to control resin levels when an object is being built.

Scott Pobihun, Hardcotton Co-founder and CEO said “Elemental achieves high quality 3D prints at an affordable price. Early supporters of our campaign are able to secure their very own Elemental for $950 (AUD).

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Elemental—key points:

• Simple design that is attractive and functional

• Multiple printing modes with resin only or resin suspension

• Quiet when printing and simple to use

• Minimal calibration required

• Patent pending technology

• Reduced dependency on support structures


This revolutionary technology fills the gap between low-end hobbyist machines with limited resolution and high-end printers that cost tens of thousands of dollars.

System specification:

• Very large build area for SLA - up to 200mm x 200mm x 200mm (7.87in x 7.87in x 7.87in)
• Z control accurate to 1 micron
• 24-bit XY control resolution (variable through software)
• Variable output 405nm laser
• Pressure control of layer heigh

Stand-alone SD-card printing

• Bluetooth functionality

 

A high quality 3D printer capable of being mass produced

No longer limited to low-end FDM machines, users can now affordably print parts with the complex geometries and intricate detail necessary for professional quality design and digital fabrication.

"Whilst Elemental will be attractive to consumers, it will also be attractive to industry and is the ideal device to sit on desks and workstations everywhere" says Pobihun.

Hardcotton has turned to the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to finance full production. Pobihun also said "A sizeable campaign goal has been chosen so as to distribute the significant set up costs involved in the manufacture of Elemental across a larger number of pledged units. Our purpose behind manufacturing Elemental by mass production is to keep the pledge point values as reasonable as possible."

Elemental has been designed from the ground up to enhance the creativity of individuals, so it is only appropriate that early adopters are the key to launching this revolutionary printer.

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To get behind this local business head to the Kickstarter page where you can pledge your support.

Cel and Element14 have been at Electronica 2014 this month showing people Robox printer.

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Photo credit doctorcdf

 

I'm looking forward to it arriving but have been thinking about the Roadtest.

 

One of the tasks we are asked to do for a Road Test is to mention what comparable products you've looked at.

In the Kickstarter project Robox suggested the following list for comparison.

 

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Given that even the most basic printer starts at more than £500 I'd not actually considered buying a printer before as I don't have the budget. However, now that I have a printer on the way I've been looking at what it's capable of doing and what other similar printers exist. The problem is that there are so many other printers around that it's difficult to know how to compare. I decided to use the following criteria to pick some candidates for comparison.

 

  • Ready assembled
  • Enclosed build space
  • Can use PLA or ABS
  • Price < £1500

 

Based on this and the help of some 3D printing stores I came up with the following list.

 

  • Zortrax M200
  • Flashforge Dreamer Dual Extruders
  • Ultimaker 2
  • Cube 3

 

The technical specs of these printers are similar too although you do get more bang for your buck with the Robox. Specifically for the price it has a finer Z resolution than the competitors, supports a wider variety of materials. There are more expensive printers such as the Leapfrog Creatr HS that matches the resolution but that was out side of my hypothetical budget.

 

I don't plan to do a detailed chart comparison to these other printers but they might get mentioned again in my later blogs. If you have one of these printers let me know and we might be able to do a comparison test once the Robox arrives.

DAB

Another DAB update.

Posted by DAB Top Member Nov 11, 2014

I finally leveled my printer bed and verified that my tape covering had the proper clearance.

 

So I made a test print of a 3D mars map.  At this scale, it was less than impressive, but I wanted to see how well it could be printed.

 

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Now I noticed that the layers did not melt together.  Does anyone have an idea as to why?  I am using PLA that came with the printer, so I wonder if it is just too old or possibly absorbed too much moisture.

 

So now I can move on to designing my neck brace and see if it can be printed by the printerbot Jr.

 

More to follow.

 

DAB

DAB

Quick Update.

Posted by DAB Top Member Nov 5, 2014

Hi all,

 

I adjusted the bottom stop and things looked good, but then I found that the bed was not level.

 

I did try the plastic postal tape and it worked ok, but the ejector caught on it and ripped it up.  That problem should go away.

I also noticed that the heated bed started making bubbles under the plastic tape.  I am not sure if it was due to the heat interacting with the glue, residual moisture, or just the tape itself.

 

I will retry the plastic tape after get the bed leveled.

 

More later.

 

DAB

A big thanks to Element14 and CEL for letting me road test this printer, it's not arrived just yet so here's a video from the IET about the printer.

 

Gears, shafts and clock parts

 

I plan to use the CEL Robox 3D Printer to print gear wheels and components for electric clock mechanisms. The fine resolution print head should allow the detail needed to print gears, screw threads, shafts and hands and other parts. The higher print speed should allow different versions to be made quickly and for larger components to be made. I'm interested in dimentional accuracy of the print so plan to use a digital camera and scanner to test that along with some digital calipers.

 

Specific features of this model to test are:

 

  • Speed of printing
  • Quality of finish
  • Ease of deployment and packing up
  • Thin items such as the clock hands to check for warping
  • Moving parts such as bearings and concentric shafts to check for accuracy and surface finish

 

I've also been warned by Nate about issues with the Bowden tube coming out of the housing for which there is a known fix. I'll check that is in place and retrofit it myself if necessary.

There are also some users who have had blocked nozzles which is something I'd like to avoid.

 

Software

Using the provided software Automaker is a key part of the roadtest as it controls the setup of the printer. I will likely need other software to create and manipulate models before they are printed.

 

OpenJsCad is a scriptable STL generator a bit like OpenSCAD but written in Javascript. I've found a gear generator written for that which looks useful.

I've had a quick look at STLView and www.3dvieweronline.com to review files before moving them over to Automaker.

 

Models

Richard Gain a 3D printer enthusiast has pointed me at some some really challenging prints. Richard printed me some flywheels the other year and I met him briefly at the IMakr London store opening.

 

Light bulb is a good test of printing overhangs

Temple needs good cooling when it gets to the point at the top

Double helix tests bridging capability

 

I've also found a nice selection of gears on Thingverse so I'll likely start with those for my test prints before moving onto creating some of my own.

 

There are also some 3D site which may also provide some models to prints

 

Yobi3D

Yeggi

3D Shapes

Thingverse

 

One less obvious source is https://market.renderosity.com a site which is more focused on the 3D artist than the 3D printer enthusiast. However they have many files in OBJ format which should be easy to convert to STL. I also have some of my own models from the time when I was making a Flea Circus film which I may try out if I have time.

 

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