X-Winder: The World's First Desktop Filament Winder
Make carbon fiber tubing and other composite parts at 80% less cost. An affordable, small scale filament winder for the desktop.
The X-Winder is the World's first small scale, desktop, affordable filament winder. Build custom carbon fiber parts at a fraction of the cost of commercial products. Filament winding is a proven manufacturing technology that has been around for decades - but it has never made It to the desktop level - until now.
The X-Winder builds custom parts from raw materials in their most basic form: filament and epoxy resin glue - without costly molds or complicated layup methods. Building parts from raw materials provides huge cost savings. For example, a 1" diameter carbon fiber tube typically costs about $20 per foot when purchased from a commercial vendor.
This same tube built with the X-Winder costs about 80% less - or about $4.00 per foot.Here's the cost breakdown:
Cost of Filament: One pound of 6K carbon fiber filament, which is 0.125" wide, costs about $65 and is 3,750 feet in length. A 1" diameter, 1 foot long tube with 2 winding layers and a typical wall thickness of 0.040" requires about 180 feet of filament, or about $3.50 of carbon fiber filament.
Cost of Epoxy Glue: Epoxy resin glue costs about $25 per quart and this tube requires about 1.0 cubic inch (0.017 quarts) of epoxy which costs $0.43 cents. Thus, total cost of this 1" diameter, 1 foot tube made with the X-Winder is:
Thus, total material cost of this 1" diameter, 1 foot long tube made with the X-Winder is:
$3.50 + $0.43 = $3.93 / foot
(CF filament) (Epoxy Glue) (Total)
"Savings that would pay for half the value of the Kit": The X-Winder kit includes a 2 lb (7,500 ft) 6K carbon fiber reel which can make 7,500/180 = 42 feet of 1" diameter tube: that represents a savings of 42 x ($20.00 - $3.93) = $675 USD. This $675.00 represents "savings that would pay for half the value of the kit".
The X-Winder kit ships with everything you need to start making parts right out of the box. You can get started building all kinds of high performance light weight parts for all kinds of applications:
The X-Winder ships with a roll of heat shrink tape that can be used to create surface finishes that rival commercial products (heat gun not included in kit). In addition to a glassy smooth finish, the heat shrink tape compresses the winding during the epoxy curing process and "squeezes" out any excess epoxy or spatial voids making for a lighter weight and more compact end product.
The X-Winder comes with simple, easy to use software that runs on a PC. The software is comprised of two programs, the Designer and the Executor: (1) The Designer is used to design and specify parts for custom windings. The Designer creates industry standard G-Code files. (2) The Executor executes the G-Code. The Executor physically operates the X-Winder mandrel and carriage stepper motors as specified by the G-Code to build the final parts. You have complete control over all the build parameters, including: number of layers, winding angle for each layer, length and position of each layer, wall thickness, winding style (mandrel or carriage shift), carriage speed, and mandrel speed for each layer, skip width, filament sequential overlap (if any), end offsets, and other parameters.
As a software developer, you can participate in several different ways: (1) Write your own industry standard G-Code and have the Executor run that G-Code to produce parts or (2) Write your own programming code that interfaces directly to the X-Winder stepper motor drivers and completely bypass the standard Designer and Executor software programs that ship with the X-Winder.
If you are writing your own G-Code, you can do so using a simple text editor or you can use any number of other G-Code 'generator' type programs, many of which are freely available on the internet. The Executor program that ships with the X-Winder can then run these G-Code files to build parts. Note that the Executor program implements only a pertinent subset of all possible G-Code commands and there are additional commands specific to the Executor. A complete glossary of commands with examples is included in the documentation.
If you want direct access to the X-Winder stepper motor drivers and thus completely bypass the Designer and Executor software programs, a software developers kit (SDK) is included which specifies the coding required to operate the X-Winder stepper motors directly from your native code. To get you up and running quickly, actual coding examples are provided in the following languages:
We expect to showcase and distribute (with developer's permission) useful software programs written by X-Winder software developers on our homepage in the near future.
The X-Winder mandrel can be operated up to 80 RPM, and the carriage speed up to 10.0 inches per second (254 mm/s). At these rates, typical duration to complete the winding process (not including epoxy curing duration) is: 1” diameter 48” long = 25 minutes, 3” diameter 48” long = 38 minutes, 6” diameter 48” long = 1 hour, 20 minutes, 6” diameter 96” long = 2 hour, 10 minutes.
We hope to be able to implement these stretch goals as we pass each dollar level. This is what we'll add to each kit if we reach the designated backer level:
$100,000: We'll add in a hand held tension meter which you can use to accurately measure and adjust the filament tension prior to each winding. This will ensure consistency in each of the parts you build.
$500,000: We'll replace the bolt on linear rail system with a custom extruded aluminum linear rail for the moving carriage. This will reduce assembly time of the X-Winder and provide for smoother movement of the carriage.
$1,000,000: If we make it here, we are really cooking. We expect to ask the X-Winder backers for suggestions on this landmark stretch goal.
You'll be one of the X-men (or women) and showing your support for the X-Winder wherever you go - we can't thank you enough for your gracious support of our project. Just before shipping, we'll send you an email and you can choose black on white or white on black styles.
Risks and challenges
We've been working on X-Winder for over a year and had intended to launch in July 2013- but We waited to ensure that the prototype was working flawlessly and that we had backup supply chain vendors ready to go. With those concerns addressed - we are now ready to launch in mid-September, 2013.
There are still some remaining challenges that we'll need to address in the coming months, including: (1) As with any product whose constituent parts are sourced from a dozen or more suppliers, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link and we've gone to great lengths to flush out such weak links - and in those cases where supply problems may occur, we've lined up back up supply chain vendors to provide additional security in order to deliver the X-Winder on a timely basis, (2) The X-Winder has passed all engineering and software critical reviews to date, but that's not to say that additional engineering or software related issues won't arise in the near future;however, with a seasoned team of engineering and software folks, we've overcome all previous issues and expect to do so timely and efficiently as we move toward machine production and delivery to our backers in the coming months.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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