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A sturdy, customizable 3D printer that is easy to use and affordable for all. 3D print almost any object. There are no limits!
1,952 backers pledged $1,092,098 to help bring this project to life.

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Monday Update #45

Posted by Michael Lundwall (Creator)
37 likes

Hello Everyone,

It has been a very exciting week.  The first five printers deliverd last week have been beta testers. They have been assigned to assemble the kit based off of our Instruction manual and start printing.  They are starting to complete their kits and print parts.  Two of the five beta testers have the dual extruder option and one has started to print parts in two colors.  Way cool!

For a less formal - more often update on the RigidBot - please follow us on instagram @rigidbot 

http://instagram.com/rigidbot

Tons of pictures! - from beta testers - 

Backer A - Getting ready to assemble
Backer A - Getting ready to assemble
Backer A
Backer A
Backer A - Frame assembled
Backer A - Frame assembled
Backer A - His Kid loved helping!
Backer A - His Kid loved helping!
Backer A - Connecting belts before installing heated bed
Backer A - Connecting belts before installing heated bed
Backer A - RigidBot in its new home.
Backer A - RigidBot in its new home.
Backer B - All put together and ready to print.
Backer B - All put together and ready to print.
Backer B - Printing first print
Backer B - Printing first print
Backer B - Print Finished - .2mm layer printed in PLA
Backer B - Print Finished - .2mm layer printed in PLA
Backer C - Almost done finishing assembly
Backer C - Almost done finishing assembly
Backer C - Dual Extruder assembled and ready to install onto RigidBot
Backer C - Dual Extruder assembled and ready to install onto RigidBot
Backer C - First Print
Backer C - First Print
Backer C - First Dual Extruder Print!
Backer C - First Dual Extruder Print!
Backer C - Mid-Print dual extruder
Backer C - Mid-Print dual extruder
Backer C - Almost done
Backer C - Almost done
Backer C - Finished Print
Backer C - Finished Print
 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Here is a video of the RigidBot printing with dual extruder.  We will continue to post more videos  of the Rigidbot in action.

Questions and Answers:

Technical and Production: 

 1. Some who are new to 3D printing (aren’t we all, really?) would like to know what slicer and host software you use on the RigidBots at Invent-A-Part. I seem to recall at the beginning that you were using Slic3r and Repetier Host; any change?

We have used a lot of different programs to test the RigidBot.  We originally starting using Slic3r in connection with pronterface.  It is a great open source software, however recently we have been using Cura.  The Cura software is very easy to use to generate gcode and you can easily manipulate your part by rotating and scaling.  We then import the gcode into pronterface to actually interface and use the printer. 

Could you share some recommended settings sometime prior to shipping? 

Yes of course we will!  The most common settings are the print speed (75mm/s) however we will provide a recommended settings for the RigidBot and RigidBot Big.  Also after we ship RigidBots we would love feedback from everyone if they find even better settings.

2. An astute backer just pointed out that the RigidBot extruder has no object cooling fan (i.e. a fan to cool PLA as it is printed). I see that the extruder breakout board has a “Fan2” connector (J4). Is “Fan2” PWM-controlled so that we could add an object cooling fan? 

Yes, that is exactly what the Fan2 connector is for.  It is PWM-controlled through the slicer settings and can be completely controlled by the software.  

3. Some, including myself, are interested in printing with nylon. Can you tell us what, specifically, the "polymer sleeve" is made from (PEEK, PTFE, other?) in order to determine the max temperature for the hot end? 

The polymer sleeve is currently made from PTFE.  We recommend not exceeding 250 degrees celsius for this extruder design.

 Manufacturing: 

 1. Has the packaging for the assembled printers been finalized/shipped to you? You had written that it was still in the works some time ago. 

We are almost done with the assembled printer packaging.  We have decided to use styrofoam corners placed on the bottom and top of the RigidBot. These corners utilize the solid frame design of the RigidBot and protect the printer very well.  The packaging company sent the corners however we feel they are too small.  (See attached picture)  We have ordered larger corners however it has changed the size of the box, so we have ordered new boxes to accommodate the larger corners. 

Smaller Corners
Smaller Corners

We have not shipped the kits yet….  We keep getting pushed back from the cable company, so the kitting factory doesn't want to kit until they receive the missing cables.  It is very annoying!!!!!!!  We have rescheduled for Thursday and hope to receive those missing parts.  If not we are going to kit and air ship the cables so we can get the printers on the water.  

 Delivery to Backers: 

 1. Have you decided about sending an email with tracking numbers once an assembled printer leaves Invent-A-Part? 

Yes we will provide the tracking number of your shipment :-)  (Some areas may not have a tracking number, however most will).  We will email the tracking number as well as post it on the online tracking system.   

Other:

 1. Any work on the online store? We’re hoping to have access to parts and accessories after this madness is all over and, quite frankly, your current online order system is not well designed. 

You are completely correct on our online store… it sucks!  We will build an easy to use online store once things slow down a little.  We have focused all of our time and energy on RigidBot manufacturing, however once the shipment of kits is on the water we will be able to focus more time on the website and store.  We will offer all of the parts on our online store including, bearings, belts, motors, plastics, metal bar upgrades, heated build plates, dual extruders, RigidBoard, cables, extra tips, our awesome thermistor, head kits, and so much more. 

2. Some of the international backers are planning build parties, but lack the advertising reach to contact backers who have not joined our G+ community. Would you be willing to list these initiatives and contact info for the organizers in your Monday update(s)? 

No problem, we can also post them on the Invent-A-Part website.  Contact Kae ks_support@inventapart.com with any announcements.

3. Is there a chance to get some technical details, such as smooth rod diameter and structural tubing size? 

Yes, we designed the RigidBot to be easy to modify (hack).  The smooth rods are 8mm in diameter and use lm8uu bearings.  The structural steel tubing is a standard .75inch / 19mm bar stock.  It is available at any HomeDepot or hardware store in steel or aluminum.  

Thank you for all of your support!

Michael and Team.

Monday Update #44

Posted by Michael Lundwall (Creator)
33 likes

Hello Everyone,

It has been a very busy week!  We would like to thank each of you for all of your supportive and kind comments.  

We have been busy organizing and testing the shipment of 300 kits from China.  So far the testing is going very well.  On Friday we contacted the kitting factory in China to start kitting.  Late that night I had a very productive video chat with the factory quality department and we went over again the procedures and requirements for kitting.  On Saturday they sent a sample kit of the RigidBot and RigidBot Big based on our conversation and I am scheduled to receive it tomorrow (Tuesday).  They said they can start kitting as soon as Monday and it could take up to a week to finish the order.  

We have started to ship machines!  We have selected a few local backers from the very first early bird special ($299) to assemble their machine and get it printing.  They have taken delivery of their machines and will hopefully report back as soon as possible with some pictures of assembly and prints that we will post on our next Monday update. (We provided prototyped cables for the ones that are missing).

Below are some pictures of the dual extruder plate and assembly.  

single extruder plate / dual extruder plate
single extruder plate / dual extruder plate
Devin and Cole - These guys are awesome and work very hard with the rest of the team to get the RigidBot out the door.
Devin and Cole - These guys are awesome and work very hard with the rest of the team to get the RigidBot out the door.

Answers to Questions 

Technical and Production: 

 1. Will the RigidBoard (main board) design be available so that we may modify/add functionality? (okay, we mean ‘hack it’.) 

The RigidBoard is based on the Arduino Mega2560 and RAMPS 1.4 boards. The firmware running on the RigidBoard is based on the popular Marlin firmware. Because of this, the RigidBot is as hackable as any other open source 3D printer. In addition to this we have added easy access to the I2C bus to allow future expansion or hacking. (LEDs, Sensors, etc.)

2. Are spare processor pins accessible (specifically, PWM-capable pin(s))? (You were going to check with your EE on this one.)   See above for spare processor pins.

3. Have you had any time to work with the dual-extruder setup? Is the beta design working well? Is the power supply sufficient for two extruders?

We have not spent a lot of time with the dual-extruder setup as we are very busy with fulfilling the RigidBot :-)  However the mechanical design works very well.  The power supply has plenty of power for both extruders.  

Delivery to Backers: 

 1. As usual, any updates on the main RigidBot shipment? 

See above in main message - We are working around the clock to get RigidBot's out the door.  As of right now we have scheduled with the kitting factory to start the kitting process.  They have us on their production next Monday and they should finish in about one week.

 2. Would you verify a broad outline of the shipping plan? I seem to remember the plan was that the non-USA shipments would be direct-shipped from China when the USA-bound containers hit the water (or some time close). Printers going to USA backers were to go by container to Utah, then be re-shipped from there. Does this still sound like the broad plan? 

That is still the plan.  There are a few exceptions, Canada and Mexico shipments will also come to the USA on the container.  The only concern I have at the moment is making sure the kitting factory adds all of the right upgrades / add ons (material, dust cover, extra tips etc).  So logistically, I might make another trip to China to prepare / ship international shipments from China to final destination.  

 Other: 

 1. Can we see a video of a production RigidBot printing (maybe with some attention to the extruder)? 

Absolutely, we will focus some time to get a video of the production RigidBot printing.

2. Several in the community have asked if there is any way they can help. Some have done business in China, and offer references to shipping services they have used. Others have offered help with translations. Let us know; we have a big community of people willing to volunteer.

We would love some help with shipping references in China as well as translations - please email Kae at ks_support@inventapart.com if you are willing to offer help.  This is a great community and we truly appreciate all of your help!

Thank you!

Michael and Team

Update

Posted by Michael Lundwall (Creator)
139 likes

Backers,

We have had a lot of toxicity and complaints in the comments section lately and I just wanted to follow with this update.

The RigidBot is a base price $299 - $335 dollar printer that we’re trying to manufacture. It’s complicated with many components that have to be precise for under that $299 price point. There is a tremendous amount of energy that we have put into making a quality “Made in China” product instead of a cheap “China” knockoff product. There is a big difference. There are many “China” products that are cheaply made and break in a matter of hours or weeks. There are many products in our homes and all over the world that are extremely high quality that are “Made in China” ex (This Apple MacBook Pro that I am typing on right now, many iPhone models, Sony products, many more that I don’t want to take the time to list) The RigidBot is a solid design that we have spent countless hours improving and making better so that we can make it quality. If we would have manufactured this in the US our cost would have been well over $600 per unit.

Build Parties

I have spent more time diffusing your interpretation of a build party and how it has wasted and ruined the project, than I have ever spent planning and thinking about them. There are many international shipping costs that exceed the cost of the printer and we are trying to be creative and figure out a way to deliver your Rigidbot without adding additional cost to you.

Quality

I have spent 30 days in China working on quality issues as well as thousands of hours devoted to the production and manufacturing of this machine. My team and I are committed to making this an amazing product for the low price that we promised. Never once have you ever heard us complain about the price (and we’re not complaining now). By adding the heated bed it’s added a tremendous amount of complexity. We’re excited for that. At the same time we don’t want to sacrifice quality to make up the difference for the added cost and complexity. We want to produce a quality Made in China printer, not a “China” printer. We could have produced and shipped out a China printer after my last October trip, which probably would have started shipping in December. However, while visiting China we discovered for the second time that the quality levels were not up to par. We had to do some major quality control and adjustments to factories. Had we shipped in December, you would have already received your printers and the comment boards would be going crazy with quality and production problems.

Kickstarter is a place where loyal backers come and back your project and take an awesome idea and product like the Rigidbot and make it come to a reality. The rigidbot hadn’t already been tooled. We had major engineering challenges (especially with the heated bed) including more aggressive wiring, bigger power supplies, changing our buildplate from acrylic to aluminum, all while maintaining the quality at the low cost. Kickstarter is not a sales avenue where you simply put a product on that can ship in the next month or two and sell to the masses. My interpretation of Kickstarter is taking an amazing idea or prototype and throughout the help of your backers and the support they provide to create an amazing product like the Rigidbot. We’re not a huge corporation with tens or hundreds of workers, but we’re a strong company that through the help of Kickstarter is able to manufacture a low cost amazing machine.

Get me out of here!

Some people don’t see the vision of Kickstarter and stop becoming backers/supporters of the project and have started to create a toxic environment. In my experience, once a situation goes toxic, it is hard to get back to the exciting adventure we are going on, and reduces the morale of everyone around. We understand that there are questions or concerns and we are always happy to answer them, but for some backers Kickstarter may not be the right place to understand the difficulties, excitements and challenges that come with developing a complex kickstarter project. If this is YOU, and you feel that you do not want to take part of this amazing RigidBot adventure, we have created the “Get Me Out of Here” option. If you feel you want to exercise this option, you will lose your place in line, and we will refund the amount that you pledged (minus kickstarter and amazon fees). Refunds may take up to six weeks from cancellation date. 

For this to occur, you must send an email to getmeoutofhere@inventapart.com with the subject line as “Get me out of here”. 

You must then state in the body of the email.

Your full name:

Your Kickstarter email:

And the following message: “I understand by using the “Get me out of here” option, I will lose my place in line and will not be offered the same pricing I took advantage of through Kickstarter. The moment that I send this email, I cannot get back in, and that my refund may take up to 6 weeks.”

----end of message---- 

We as a company are completely focused on getting our supportive backers their printers out the door. The reason for the 6 week time frame is we want to focus on getting printers out the door, not processing refunds. We will offer the “Get me out of here” program until 11:59 pm MST Sunday March 16, 2014. 

Toxic

Recently there have been a lot of complaints, and this is turning into a very toxic environment for myself, my company, my family and all the other backers. As many of you know through our many open (71+) updates, I am a very optimistic person. I don’t allow for challenges and difficulties to bring my company down when we are faced with a very difficult situation (negative backers, manufacturing problems, time delays etc). We move forward with a good attitude as excited as ever. We LOVE what we do. I understand that everyone’s personality is different and some people thrive in questioning authority. This is not how we operate. It makes it a lot more complicated when we have to take our time to put fires out that are based off of assumptions and misinterpretations. When it comes to predicting when your shipment is going to hit based on numbers, the answer is we just don’t know. We are trying our hardest, and we certainly don’t want to delay it any more than we have to. We want to get you a quality low cost printer, and unfortunately it is taking a lot more time than we expected because we refuse to cut corners and give you nothing but the best. 

We are a small company, but we are a strong company. We are experts in 3D printing and have been doing it extensively for 9 years. We are committed to making our RigidBot a reliable, affordable and amazing printer and brand. We will not let these challenges bring us down. 

 I know this update might frustrate some of you, but we felt we needed to clear the air and try and make this a positive environment for everyone. 

 In all, we are doing things the way we feel best for the project. It may not be in alignment with how you think it should happen. We are grateful for suggestions and ideas, but we can’t always be critiqued because the opinion of one backer is not the same opinion as another backer, and as you know there are 1952 of you. 

We are in the final hour and we are getting so excited. We hope you are too. We cannot promise specific dates, but just know that printers are arriving, and we are working tirelessly to get them out the door. 

36 RigidBot Bases
36 RigidBot Bases

Now that we have gotten through that, let’s post a picture of what we actually enjoy doing. As you know, we have received our first 300 printers. We are starting to go through the boxes and having a lot of fun. We have timed that the base portion of the Rigidbot is taking about a minute and 10 seconds to assemble. We are grateful we haven’t published our assembly instructions yet because we knew that we would learn a lot through mass assembly, and we have already. Even though we’ve already put many kits together in past updates, we’re finding techniques that make it easier and more efficient, and we didn’t want tons of instruction versions out there to confuse everyone. 

We have setup an Instagram account with the username @rigidbot so feel free to follow us there. We will post pictures of our assembly process, and other things happening around the shop in a less formal manner. 

 Thanks again! We can’t do it without all of your support. 

 Michael and team

First 300 Units arrive!

Posted by Michael Lundwall (Creator)
32 likes

Hello Backers,

I am excited to report that the first 300 machines arrived from China today!  To be more exact there are 200 RigidBot and 100 RigidBot Big machines.  It took the shipping company forever to get in contact with us, and they tried to delay it another day, but I made them come to our facility anyway.  We finally unloaded the last box at 8pm and I spent the last hour and a half going through the shipment.  We received a total of 12 pallets. So far all looks great.

Loading pallets into our warehouse.
Loading pallets into our warehouse.

We will continue to inspect the parts and prepare for our Utah build party.  

I know there are a lot of frustrations around the RigidBot deliveries.  We are literally doing everything we can to get them out as soon as possible.  We want to deliver machines!  We can't wait to deliver machines.

We also recognize that there is a lot of frustration related to international build parties.  (We obviously have not spent any time preparing snacks and lunch for the parties).  We only want to make the process smoother for distribution, including customs and final delivery.  Invent-A-Part is doing its best to have all of the documentation in place for all of the countries we are exporting to.  We have applied for CE certification a long time ago and still have not received approval.  The second we get information we will let you know.  We are working with several shipping specialists to find the best path to get machines to our international backers.  In some scenarios the shipping cost can be over $350 per kit to international countries.

There have been a lot of complaints about us not being transparent enough.  We want our backers to know that we are completely committed to getting the RigidBot out the door as soon as possible.  It is my top priority.  We HATE delays from China especially when they don't make sense.  We try to predict shipment dates based on when China communicates that information to us.  What they tell us, and what they do, are typically different then what actually happens. 

We are very excited for this shipment and the progress we are making.  We thank all of you for your support and we will continue to answer your questions.  Sometimes we may not have the answers you want to hear.  We will continue to do our Monday updates if that is something you appreciate.  If not, we will just update when we have new information.  

Over the next couple of days we will go through these 300 kits and start preparing for assembly.

Thanks!

Michael and Team

Monday Update #43

Posted by Michael Lundwall (Creator)
25 likes

Hello,

I received confirmation from the shipping company that the two containers have been released from customs and have arrived at the Salt Lake City, Utah distribution point.  They are scheduled to be delivered to Invent-A-Part between 8:00am and 3pm tomorrow (Tuesday the 11th).

I will post some pictures of the shipment tomorrow.  This is a somewhat short update.  I will answer some of the questions I have received this week below.

Technical and Production:

1. Will the RigidBoard design be available so that we may modify/add functionality? (okay, we mean ‘hack it’.)  - 

Yes, we will release most files in STL format and they will be available for download along with assembly instructions / videos on the online system.

 2. Are spare processor pins accessible (specifically, PWM-capable pin(s))?  

I will check with our EE to see what he as accessible on the main board.

 3. What color is the rigidbot cover going to be? It will be the darker gray color as seen in the unboxing video.

 4. How is the documentation going? Is it ready to share with the world yet? 

We are on some of our last tweaks.  We have designed a paper version that will also direct the user to online videos for each section.  So for example if you are assembling the extruder on page 3 of the instruction manual, you can go to inventapart.com and watch a video on the assembly of the extruder.  

 5. The target was 100 micron layers; what is the capability of the production RigidBots? 

We can achieve 100 microns with the production RigidBot.

 6. Have you determined a max print speed yet? 

We typically print at 75mm/sec.  However the RigidBot can print faster depending on the specific part being printed. 

 7. You mentioned at the end of February that this initial production run was large enough to cover all orders, including preorders, with some left over. Are there any left unordered? (Sounds like some in the G+ community want to order!)

We are almost completely sold out… however we have about 30 regular and 22 Big machines left from the initial order.  So if someone is interested in getting in the first order it would be a good idea to jump in quick.

Manufacturing:

1. Standing Question: Can you give a quick update each week as to kits/assembled printers status? The kitting factory in China would like us to wait until we inspect the initial 300 products arriving tomorrow (Tuesday the 11th).  We should have the 2200 kits on the water in a week or two.

 2. Have you received the air-shipped missing cables for the assembled printers?

Not yet, however the factory told us that it is shipping this week and should arrive by Friday.

Delivery to Backers:

1. As usual, any updates on the main RigidBot shipment?  

See above - The kitting factory in China would like us to wait until we inspect the initial 300 products arriving tomorrow (Tuesday the 11th). We should have the 2200 kits on the water in a week or two.

Other:

1. Many are asking for more details on local build parties.  We are still planing on having a build party in Utah.  We wanted to wait until all of the cables / shipments arrive before we set a date, so we can actually build printers:-).  We would still like to host international build parties, however they are a little more complicated.  We are looking into all of the advantages and problems and hope to have more information soon.

a. What role would Invent A Part play? If Invent-A-Part is hosting the build part we will provide everything needed to assemble the printer and have a great time.  We will also provide some snacks and lunch.

 b. Is there a way to communicate with backers in a given area? We currently do not have geographic specific communication set up.

 c. Would the RigidBots be shipped to individuals, or in bulk to the build party site (this brings up customs questions)? Those not interested in attending, or unable to attend, a build party are concerned that a bulk shipment will delay them receiving their RigidBot.  

We are still working out the details on the international build parties.  When we have more information on them we will let you know.  I have been working out the quickest method to get product with our shipping partners.  We want to make sure that the individual orders don't get held up in customs.  

 2. Can we see a video of assembly of a production RigidBot? Some have suggested a video build party that we will record and post online.  This will assemble the RigidBot and cover questions people have during assembly.

 3. Can we see a video of a production RigidBot printing (maybe with some attention to the extruder)?  Yes, we would love to post some videos.  We have been so busy getting the facility ready for assembly and storage of the all of the units arriving.

Thank you everyone for your support.  I can't wait for the shipping containers to arrive tomorrow so we can get going.

Thanks!

Michael and Team