NZ$ 945
pledged of NZ$ 8,000pledged of NZ$ 8,000 goal
10
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, June 12 2015 9:44 PM UTC +00:00
James McVayBy James McVay
First created
James McVayBy James McVay
First created
NZ$ 945
pledged of NZ$ 8,000pledged of NZ$ 8,000 goal
10
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, June 12 2015 9:44 PM UTC +00:00

About

Motivation

Having used a multitude of the UP Mini printers day in and day out for work, it was hard not to notice the varying degrees of performance by each of the heated beds. In short, big objects have a habit of lifting away from the bed due to uneven heating, and low bed temperature, resulting in poor or failed prints wasting material and time.

UP themselves provide a feature for "1 hour preheat", and it is well known by users of the printer that preheat is crucial for good prints. Issues between different printers range from cold corners of the bed, to not even reaching 50 degrees celsius, and even as bad as the temperature switch failing due to it only being rated for 1000 cycles (which can be exceeded in just a few days of use) and the bed no longer heating at all. Out of the eight UP Minis I've used, only one had what would be considered satisfactory performance for the heated bed. 

The UP Mini Bed+

Having studied the printer and reversed engineered its electronics in search of viable options for a new heated bed design, I opted for a plug and play replacement bed - the UP Bed+ presented here, which features:

  • A higher power, better heater element design for faster warm-up and more consistent bed heating
  • User-selectable temperature, with a 30 degree higher maximum temperature of 80 degrees Celsius
  • Visual indication through LEDs of heater element status, current temperature, and selected temperature 

This is all supported by a digital temperature sensor with 0.5 degree Celsius accuracy, an ATTiny to control the bed, and clever power supply circuitry to reliably leech power for the electronics from the existing less than desirable heated bed power supply design of the UP Mini.

Installation & Usage

The UP Bed+ has been designed to ensure the electronics on the underside of the board do not collide with existing parts during insertion, and is the same thickness and dimensions as the original bed. Installation is as simple as turning the printer off, removing the two screws from the existing bed and sliding it out, and connecting the new bed before sliding it in and replacing the two screws. That's it! 

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Demonstrated in the video, operation is a breeze. The tactile button allows selection of target temperature in 5-degree increments represented by four flashing yellow LEDs, and is remembered between power cycles of the bed. When not in selection mode, these same four LEDs are solid lit in a combination that represents the current temperature.

The Difference

So what difference does it make? Here's an object with base dimensions of 9 cm x 9 cm printed on an UP Mini using the best original heated bed available after an hour of preheating:

Lifting caused by the standard UP Mini heated bed
Lifting caused by the standard UP Mini heated bed

And here's the same object printed in the same printer with the same configuration but with the UP Mini Bed+ set to 80 degrees and only a 5 minute preheat:

No lifting with the UP Mini Bed+
No lifting with the UP Mini Bed+

In this example only a 5 minute preheat was allowed for the UP Mini Bed+, with longer preheats further reducing warping on larger prints. While I can't guarantee the UP Bed+ solves all lifting and warping issues, it makes an astounding difference as shown. This is especially true for those unfortunate enough to have one of the particularly bad original beds.

Risks and challenges

So what are the risks? Well, the design has been kept as simple as possible to minimise potential issues, and the first revision has been tested on a day-to-day basis for the past month with minor improvements identified for the second and final revision that will be the reward for backers. There are no collaborators to deal with, and following successful funding I have the resources to ensure the boards are produced even in a worst-case scenario (including myself becoming incapacitated and someone else taking over to fulfill rewards).

In terms of funding, 100 boards must be produced for each board to be priced reasonably, and is reflected by the funding target. Supply and costing for components and boards has been researched thoroughly, while the population technique is dependent on whether the initial funding target is greatly exceeded. For up to 100 boards, each will be hand SMD pasted, components placed, and soldered 8 at a time in an IR reflow oven. If the project greatly exceeds 100 boards, board population will be outsourced.

Finally from New Zealand where I am based, shipping the boards is a pricey affair. This is one challenge I am still working on to try and reduce the cost, however as it stands I am confident in shipping the UP Bed+ boards to backers wherever they are in the world!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 1 or more About $0.65

    A big thank you, and your name included on the list of supporters (wherever that may end up being!)

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    Pledge NZ$ 5 or more About $3

    Same as the $1 reward, with the added bonus of getting to pick one of the songs to go into the playlist I'll be listening to during production! (Max 7 minutes each)

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    Pledge NZ$ 69 or more About $45

    Early Backer Reward!

    One plug and play UP! Mini Bed+ shipped to wherever you are in the world.

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    Pledge NZ$ 79 or more About $52

    One plug and play UP! Mini Bed+ shipped to wherever you are in the world.

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    Pledge NZ$ 89 or more About $58

    One plug and play UP! Mini Bed+ shipped to wherever you are in the world.

    (Delivery Estimate is Conservative)

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Funding period

- (30 days)