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You should never leave your printer unattended... but you do.  This device will cut power to your printer when it senses smoke or fire.
You should never leave your printer unattended... but you do. This device will cut power to your printer when it senses smoke or fire.
125 backers pledged $8,969 to help bring this project to life.

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$8,969

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What is Smoke Signal?

Smoke Signal is a "spot" smoke detector that perches over your 3d printer - when it senses smoke it will disconnect power to the printer within seconds.

How does it work?

You just plug your printer into Smoke Signal and position the sensor unit as close as you can to your printer's electronics or extruder.  

Printer fires are frequently caused by poor electrical connections that overheat and catch fire.  By detecting the smoke emitted before an actual flame breaks out, Smoke Signal may be able to prevent a full fledged fire by removing the power source.

$10,000 Stretch Goal!!

  • If Smoke Signal reaches $10,000 in total funding, I will include a USB connection on the relay box that will signal an attached computer and perform the action of your choosing when the device is triggered!  
  • You don't have to use the USB connection if you don't want to. 
  • I will supply a Windows app that will respond to the connection by launching the application of your choice when the alarm is triggered - this can be 3rd party software that sends an email, or a text message, or ... anything you want. 
  • The hardware inside Smoke Signal be Arduino-compatible so you can change the firmware to your liking.
  • The firmware and Windows app will be open source for you to modify as you see fit.

Why would I need this?

No 3d printer should be left printing unattended - a requirement that is at odds with the extreme duration of longer prints.  Even the most conscientious operators, from time to time, leave their printer unsupervised.

Sadly, 3d printers do catch fire, sometimes with tragic results:

http://www.soliforum.com/topic/6608/beware-your-3d-printer-they-can-cause-fires/

http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,294850

http://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/2gccqf/my_3d_printer_almost_burned_down_my_house_today/

But I already have smoke detectors in my home...

Absolutely, and they're designed to save your life in the event of a fire while you're home.  But a smoke alarm does nothing to prevent a fire in the first place, and cannot save your house if you're not at home.

Smoke Signal may be able to stop a fire before it occurs or spreads.  A conventional smoke detector requires the entire room to fill with smoke before it will be trigger - the fire may well be out of control by this time.

Smoke Signal does not replace your home smoke detectors.  And in some cases Smoke Signal may not be able to prevent a printer fire.  BUT it does provide an additional layer of security and may well prevent a disaster.

Does this mean I can safely leave my printer unattended?

No.  Smoke Signal may make it safer to leave a printer alone, but no safety system is foolproof.  

Where should I place the sensor?

This depends on the design of your printer.  Fires on 3d printers tend to start wherever there is a connection between two wires or elements - for example at the electronics connectors or the hot end resistor/heater.  

Fans or airflow may make it more difficult to detect early or small wisps of smoke, so plan accordingly.

Putting the sensor in the top of a printer enclosure may produce the best results.

Can I use two Smoke Signals to monitor two parts of my printer at the same time?

Yes, you can.

However be aware that your locality may have codes or regulations pertaining to interconnected/"daisy chained" power strips or extension cords - Smoke Signal may fall into these categories.  

How is Smoke Signal designed?  What are the maximum ratings?

Smoke Signal is designed to safely run and switch printers (or other loads) up to 1000W (a typical printer uses perhaps 300W).  The load relay is sealed and the power line is protected with a fuse (replaceable). 

How long is the sensor cord?

6 feet.  You can replace it with any standard ethernet cord should you desire a different length.

Is Smoke Signal certified or UL listed?

No - UL listing is too expensive.  Smoke Signal's PCBs and electrical design comply with IPC-2221, an industry accepted standard for circuit board design.  The smoke detector module uses an IC designed to comply with UL217 and UL268 standards.  However no Smoke Signal-specific certification has been obtained.  

Smoke Signal is supplied as a kit and should be treated as such.

What is the money going to be used for?  Why Kickstarter?

$7,000 allows me to order PCBs and components for just over 100 units - this quantity lets me hit substantial price breaks at every stage of the process (parts, PCBs, and assembly).  

Without support from the Kickstarter community, the loss of volume price breaks and the increased share of tooling/setup fees would make Smoke Signal impossible for me to produce.

Risks and challenges

This project is relatively low risk - the design is complete and the supply chain is already prepared. I have a working prototype, including prototype PCBs, and quotes from all of the required suppliers.

A potential risk is the availability of parts: depending on the number of pledges received, we may deplete the stock of the AC-DC converter currently available from major US distributors. This would result in a delay to some shipments, but does not pose a threat to the project as a whole.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    Maybe you don't need a Smoke Signal, but want to support the project and/or post in the comments section - this reward is for you and comes with my gratitude!

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    13 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    So you're interested in smoke and fire, but don't want to own a Smoke Signal... this reward gets you access to the project comments like all backers, PLUS I'll send you a nice thank you card made by myself, and a can of aerosol smoke you can use to test your own smoke detectors.

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    Ships to Only United States
    2 backers
    $
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    A limited number of Smoke Signals at a special price for early pledgers! You get fully assembled and soldered PCBs for both the relay box and the sensor unit, plus all required the cables and fasteners. All you need to do is print yourself a housing (I'll provide the models, ready to print) and pop in the PCBs. Shipping included.

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    Reward no longer available 30 backers
    $
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    One Smoke Signal device. You get fully assembled and soldered PCBs for both the relay box and the sensor unit, plus all the the cables and fasteners. All you need to do is print yourself a housing (I'll provide the models, ready to print) and pop in the PCBs. Shipping included.

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    46 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    One complete Smoke Signal as above, but INCLUDING the printed housing. All you have to do is put the PCBs into the housings and assemble with the included fasteners. A good option for people who's printers have already burned to the ground, or who want to use Smoke Signal on something other than a printer.

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    18 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    A two-pack of Smoke Signals at a slight discount. Great for two printers, or for monitoring two parts of the printer at once! Housings not included, but shipping is!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    9 backers
    $
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $645 or more About $645

    A ten-pack of Smoke Signals. No housings. Great for Maker Spacers with lots of printers to outfit.

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    1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)