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Maxifab is a project to develop a 3D printing framework. Build a 3d printer your way. No Limits.
Maxifab is a project to develop a 3D printing framework. Build a 3d printer your way. No Limits.
61 backers pledged $24,393 to help bring this project to life.

New stuff in the pipeline and some general news......

Hey guys, just a quick update so you know where we stand. We are still waiting for the laser cutter but it should only be a week or so longer I hope. It has arrived at the Port of Newark on Friday and neds to be "decontainerized", then a full inspection by customs and then delivery. That machine opens a lot of things up for us. We'll be able to get the cases cut and that'll be great but thats not all. I just heard from the motor supplier and those should be here shortly since the custom order was received on friday and they shipped them out on Monday, so they will be here shortly. While we sit and work on printing all the plastics which is a major time consumer I've been working on a few interesting things.

One of the things I'm working on is adapting the 3D printing framework to a laser cut design. Essentially I'm working on a way to translate the design to a laser cuttable design. This accomplishes 2 things. It'll allow us to keep all the existing geometries and parts the same with a few exceptions. This will still allow the building of a custom sized printer and it'll cut down time it takes to produce the parts. The time taken to produce the parts would drop drasticlly, from over a day or more to print a single kit, to under an hour to have a full set that includes assembly. As it is, a few printed parts are going to get replaced with laser cut equivalents in the shipping kits. Mainly the electronics carrier, the bearing covers, and the filament feed drive large gear.

We are also working on a complete laser cut printer design. This will make it nice and fast to produce a complete machine. The caveat though is this printer isn't based on the framework pieces, it'll use the same geometries and drive mechanisms but will be a ground up redesign incorporating all the lessons learned through out the course of the framework development. Thought the majority of this machine will be laser cut there will be several items that can't easily translate to a laser cut design like the print head rod ends, filament feed drive, and the belt drive gears.

This will open us up to a few printer designs. The standard printed kit with laser cut walls, A nearly identical kit includeing mostly laser cut 3D framework parts instead, and a ground up redesigned laser cuttable printer with a few printed parts.The ground up printer design is an XL sized printer. The XL printer is a big machine as the last update can attest. But we are working on yet another shop printer that is a full sized XL and it makes the previous printer seem much smaller by comparison and the prototype printer positively tiny. It looks much more like the final product you will recieve if you ordered a XL.

Here's what I want to know from you. I'm working on the 2 different designs concurrently (laser cut framework and ground up redesign laser cut printer) and would like to know which you guys think I should focus on. I'm of the mind that thinks the build volume is priority over the scalability aspect of the design since most of you ordered XL kits. I would like to substitue the Lasercut framework pieces for the printed parts (they will come assembled so the building of the machine is almost exactly the same). If anyone does not want laser cut pieces, or is more interested in the XL build volume as opposed to the scaleability of the design and wants the ground up redesigned printer instead of a 3d framework based machine please let me know in the comments or better in an email to me here.

Please be aware though that the lasercut framework parts, will allow us to get the kits out sooner and into your hands that much faster.

As always you guys are great and here are some pretty pictures for you.

Ryan

Comments

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    1. Aron Braggans on

      Any update on when the standard size kits are going to ship?

    2. Missing avatar

      Joseph James on

      I would vote for a mix of wood/plastic parts.

    3. Missing avatar

      Brian Cramer on

      Richard, Sorry about that. Ryan and I have been spending long hours in the shop so he might have gotten distracted. I'll admit that Ryan's update was a little muddled, and the pictures he added were not of the new laser cut parts so that makes it even more confusing. But the basic choice that we are asking our contributors to make is this:

      All the core components of the printer were originally designed as printed plastic parts. In the interest is saving time (3D printing of large solid parts takes quite a long time), Ryan has made an alternative version of most of these parts that can be made out of laser cut wood. None of the parts are laser cut metal, although there are some milled aluminum parts in the hot end (extruder). The cases have always been designed to be laser cut wood, and that is what they will continue to be. The gray printer in the update is just painted wood and is one of our shop printers / prototypes that we are using to make the other parts with. In fact, it isn't laser cut at all, just hacked out by hand. We will be posting another update with pictures of these new wooden parts and the final laser-cut cases in the next few days. Actually, if you look at our facebook page, there should be some posted already.

      So the question is do you want the core framework parts that we send you be totally 3D printed plastic, or would you accept a mixture of 3D printed plastic and laser cut wood. They are functionally identical, and the wooden parts will come painted black, the same color as the plastic parts. The upshot is that you will receive your parts faster. The downside is, well, I'm not sure of the downside unless you are apposed to having wooden parts out of preference. either way, you will still be able to modify the shape / size or the printer by changing the size of the rods, belts, and case

      I apologies for the confusion. I know it's hard to make a choice when you are not familiar with the design. We are confident in both versions and they are mechanically the same and can be swapped one for the other, so it simply comes down to your preference of materials. And don't forget that if you go for the wood initially, you can print your own plastic versions at your leisure if you so desire. We will also be offering these parts piecemeal on our website, so you can order replacements of either type later on.

      I hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Brian

    4. Missing avatar

      Steve Walsh on

      Richard: If you look at the second and third photo's, you'll see the motor sticks out the top in both original designs as well.

    5. Missing avatar

      Richard Benn on

      I'm confused. I ordered the XL printer. My hopes where to be able to print things as well as change the size or the printer to something bigger I desired. I thought I would be able to change the size by changing out the basic structural parts that the motors and printer head run off. I like the professional look of the laser cut metal and it looks stronger /more stable.
      What exactly are you offering me/wanting me to decide and what are the trade offs?
      Also I see that the motor or platsic feeder sticks out higher then the frame in the first picture. Shouldnt this be recessed in the frame to protect it?

    6. Missing avatar

      jon blaylock on

      having ordered the plastic parts for the maxifab platform, I don't care if my parts are laser-cut or not. I would like to get my parts as soon as possible along with detailed documentation on how to build the printer from those parts. Thanks for your work.

    7. Ryan Reece on

      Are you still utilizing the corner brackets that mount the guide shafts or is this being redesigned as well? Also, wat kind of laser cutter are you using?

      Im sure you have observed tweaks along the way that would improve the machine and I would like a solid, dependable printer. That being said whichever would give this I trust your judgement!
      Keep up the great work!

    8. Adam Hack on

      I agree with them as well, 3 is ok with me.

    9. Kevin Bruckert
      Superbacker
      on

      Yeah, I'm fine with option 3. I'm planning to print things, not judge the machine based on how it was built. Make it better, I'm ok with that. ;)

    10. Missing avatar

      Roy Eltham on

      I like option 3, because it sounds like it will be the best overall for an XL printer.

    11. Ryan Robinson Creator on

      Exactly Bart. The expandability is not at all compromised with the lasercut framework parts. And yes it is also available on the standard size kits. I can't believe I neglected to mention that in my update. Sigh.

      So Here are the options.

      1 Printed framework Kit (regular and XL)
      2 Lasercut Framework Kit (regular and XL)
      3 Laser Cut redesigned XL (non framework based)

      If there is enough interest later I'll also do a regular sized kit that's not framework based but will still resemble the standard Maxifab printer.

      Hope that clears it up for everyone.

    12. Missing avatar

      Bart Yzewijn on

      Great to see updates!

      Lets see if i understood... As I have ordered a standard size Maxifab the options are limited to either full 3D printed framework pieces or laser cut framework pieces. Either way, expandability is not compromised.

      If you can guarantee the laser cut option is as rigid and strong as the 3D printed version it really doesn't matter if i get 3D printed or laser cut parts. Hell, I can print the parts out for myself on my laser cut maxifabber :)... If anything i believe the laser cut version will be more precise and durable. The filament drive gear especially could really benefit from this.

      Keep up the good work Ryan!

    13. Missing avatar

      sean on

      I'm also confused by the options. I went for the XL because I wanted the huge build volume. Don't really plan on making any changes or tearing apart the printer to mess with the size, so whatever option gets me the XL 8 x 18 x 8 print size. (Unless you are saying you are working on an even bigger size in which case i want that lol)

    14. Missing avatar

      TheGentleman on

      Is it my understanding the laser cut frame negates the use of the joints you use for the expandable building?

      So... Options are XL + Laser Cut modular parts or Redesigned XL with integrated non-modular joints?

    15. Kevin Bruckert
      Superbacker
      on

      I'm completely confused by the options. I went for the XL, and don't intend to modify it to be any bigger, if that's the limitation. I figure its already big enough for anything I'd want to print...

    16. Missing avatar

      sean on

      are there drawbacks/benefits to the printed parts vs lasercut parts?

    17. Ryan Robinson Creator on

      I will try to take a few screen shots and post them soon. The main differences are this. One kit is laser cut walls and printed framework parts, the other is identical but the framework parts are assembled from laser cut pieces, the third option is a machine based on the geometries etc of the framework but it is a singular non expandable design (similair to the Ultimaker, Thingomatic, etc) but it will have the XL sized build volume.

      Hope that clears it up.

    18. Ryan Reece on

      Ryan - This is really exciting and appreciate the update. Is there a way you could illustrate or pictures of the 2 options you are proposing? It gets slightly confusing with the two options and the features they offer/limit.

      Thanks!

      Ryan