About this project
3D Printer World: "We typically don't write about crowdfunding projects ... but this novel idea is genuinely useful and warrants an exception."
As seen in...
Fabbaloo: "Get one and get one early!" 3D Printing Industry: "...users will not need much further convincing that this device will prove ... useful." Geeky Gadgets: "...make a pledge and help Retouch3D become a reality." 3DPrint.com: "Without a doubt this is a tool that has been missing from the desktop 3D printing space." SlashGear: "...makes cutting away support or errors in 3D prints as easy as a hot knife cutting through butter.” Gizmag: "Retouch3D uses heat to melt away those imperfections … allows for much more precise control.” 3D Printer World: "...the community has been waiting for this kind of solution ... a more detailed post-processing method."
Until you own a 3D printer, what you don’t realize is that removing supports and getting rid of printing errors sucks! We figured that if heat created a 3D print; then heat would be the best way to clean-up a 3D print. So, after experimenting with soldering irons, heated wax tools, blow torches, powered grinders and other scary equipment; we arrived at Retouch3D:
The world’s first heated tool for finishing 3D prints; with variable heat control and interchangeable heads designed for specific 3D retouching tasks.
What is Retouch3D?
Forget snapping, scraping, and sanding; Retouch3D’s variable heat control system and interchangeable heads mean you finish-off all your 3D prints like a pro.
Retouch3D’s ergonomic handheld design combines comfort and precision, allowing makers to clean-up 3D prints with the assistance of heat which is matched to the melting properties of their printing material. Compliment the hours you spend 3D modeling with a hi-tech tool that helps make your models look perfect!
Retouch3D will work with the materials used in mainstream 3D printing: PLA; ABS; and Resin-based processes. Heat is a key component of the Retouch3D solution; we have tested various materials, at different heat settings, using off-the-shelf products such as soldering irons (which are sub-optimal). You can review our testing videos here.
How Retouch3D works
Retouch3D will make finishing 3D prints fun and easy. Simply power-on the tool, input your selected temperature level (based on the material you are working with – we will provide a look-up chart via our website which will be updated as new materials emerge) and in no time, get ready to remove all the unwanted material from your 3D print; like a hot knife through butter. If you wish to adjust the temperature while working you’ll simply use the up/down arrow buttons to run Retouch3D slightly hotter or cooler.
Need to take a break? Simply select the cool down button and rest the tool on a flat surface (or use your own 3D printer to print the 'stand' file we'll provide). When you're done cleaning-up your 3D print, press the power button to turn-off the device.
After experimenting with various off-the-shelf heated tools we soon learnt that to successfully create Retouch3D there were a number of different factors that came into play when building a complete solution:
A control system for accurate and efficient temperature heating
The Retouch3D control system has been specifically designed for finishing 3D prints. The heat range has been designed to accommodate ABS, PLA, resin, wax, and other materials with higher and lower-end temperatures (to account for future materials). The finer temperature adjustment settings allow users to +/- heat by smaller increments for dealing with thicker and thinner print structures.
Interchangeable heads to take-on the bigger jobs and finish finer details
After user testing, the team at Retouch3D has identified five tips, each designed to remove, refine, or blend unwanted material from 3D prints. The materials used to make, and the coatings of, these tips will be tested for heat conduction and material removal. Beta testers will be provided with a wider selection of tips so that we utilize crowd research to optimize the final five (5) tips we provide.
See our prototype tips in action:
These are the key tip designs we have identified:
Macro remover tip (A) – removes large supports, brims, and rafts from your 3D print.
Macro refiner tip (B) – refines larger layer imperfections such as layer blobs, overhangs, and stringing (the sticky-out bits that everyone hates!).
Micro refiner tip (C) – refines small, detailed and curved layer imperfections.
Micro remover tip (D) – removes smaller, close-in support material.
Blender tip (E) – blends the surface of your 3D print where blobs and imperfections have occurred.
Ergonomic design for comfort and precision
Retouch3D’s ergonomic handheld design combines comfort and precision, allowing users to hold the tool in different hand positions for finishing 3D printed models.
Things you can finish using Retouch3D
Remove. Large and smaller support material
Retouch3D’s macro and micro remover tips make it easy to remove large support structures, as well as close-in structures that are hard to reach. Have rafts and brims attached to your print? Retouch3D’s remover tips will clean that up too.
Refine. Layer imperfections and stringing
Refine your print's details. Retouch3D’s refining tips will allow you to refine both small and large layer imperfections. Working with a 3D print with ugly overhangs? Retouch3D’s micro refiner tip will carefully refine curved and close-in overhangs.
Blend. Print surfaces and infill gaps
Surface blending. Use Retouch3D’s blender head to even-out print surfaces and infill gaps. Blend the extraneous ridged surfaces of your 3D print to reach the finish your model deserves.
Who is Retouch3D for?
HOBBYISTS | DESIGNERS | ENGINEERS | MAKERS
Retouch3D is the next essential tool for anyone with a 3D printer – hobbyists, artists, designers, and engineers. Retouch3D is a unique tool designed to blend, refine, and remove unwanted material from a 3D print. With Retouch3D, you no longer have to be frustrated with an unfinished 3D model.
Help us reach:
$50,000 | STL file with “tester block”– to practice mastering Retouch3D’s different tips and test your preferred settings before letting-loose on your precious 3D creations! Download yours here!
$100,000 | Retouch3D base unit – to hold your Retouch3D device and tips!
Target product specification:
Components of the control system:
Retouch3D’s control system incorporates a digital processor, which provides a 'closed loop' system to control temperature. Essentially, the chip monitors the temperature of the tip and by continually adjusting the amount of current fed to the tip maintains the desired temperature. This process allows for the tip to be maintained at a constant temperature, irrespective of the material or tip used while finishing your 3D print.
In order for Retouch3D’s tip to accurately smooth and remove unwanted material, the working temperature of the tip will need to be accurately controlled so that the different operations (removing vs blending) can be optimized for different types of materials. Too hot and the material burns, smokes and discolors, too cold and the operations will not be effective as the tip becomes stuck in the material. This, combined with operator temperature programming and our 15 pre-sets, allows the user to optimize the tool for a variety of tasks and personal preferences when it comes to finishing 3D prints!
So how does the control system work?
1. Press the power button. You will know the device is turned on once there is a constant light.
2. Select your input. The Retouch3D input is a combination of number + level. For example if you wanted to input 2-L4, you would first press number 2, then select level 4 by pressing the up arrow four times. The number and bars will illuminate.
3. Press the red heat-up button to initiate heating. The red light will begin flashing as the Retouch3D heats-up to its target temperature. Once it has arrived to the target temperature, the red light will be constant.
4. If you wish to change tips, Retouch3D has a quick-swap system. Simply press the cool down button, wait for the blue light to go from a flashing sequence to a constant blue and then you swap tips. Once you have the correct tip, press the heat-up button to your desired temperature.
5. You can fine-tune the temperature while you work; if you wish to select another input, please perform Steps 2 and 3 again.
6. To turn-off Retouch3D simply press the power button. You will know the device is off when there is no light.
The temperature challenge
To make finishing your 3D prints as accurate and efficient as possible, Retouch3D has a temperature range for all optimal melting and blending temperatures. The melting temperatures and extrusion temperatures of 3D printer filaments vary considerably; so we opted to create a wide range of temperatures that will be managed via the closed-loop control system. Subject to further testing, Retouch3D has a specified operating range from 120°F to c.570°F (c.50°C to 300°C).
When we have possession of the final beta test units we will create our first draft look-up chart to define target settings for common printer materials (PLA, ABS etc.) and then work with our beta testers to fine-tune the settings:
Retouch3D is the world’s first specialty heated tool designed to finish 3D printed models, however, here we have compared our product with alternatives being used to finish 3D prints today:
Why do we need your support?
We have completed our design work and prototyping for Retouch3D. As you can see from our video, the prototype is developed and looks great! We have finalized our initial patent filing and manufacturer assessments, and now we are asking for your help to move to the electronics development and manufacturing phase. With your funding, we will finalize our existing prototype, test the controller and heat settings with our beta testers and complete our product certification and packaging.
Here is an overview of our plan for you to get your Retouch3D within 12 months of our campaign close.
From the formulation of our team we have taken forward our concept design to the point where we have now: outlined our cost-of-goods (COGS); met with and shortlisted manufacturing partners; and filed our patent.
Within the first six months we plan to: conclude our design-for-manufacture; complete our microelectronics engineering; and be getting ready for our beta testers in Month 7.
Subject to successful beta test outcomes we intend to finalize the product and bill-of-materials (BOM) and start manufacturing from Month 11; with our Kickstarter shipment commencing within 12 months.
Phil is the founder of 3D 2.0, the company behind Retouch3D; he has over 25 years’ experience of working with fast-growth technology companies. In his professional career Phil has delivered management and marketing expertise to companies in software, services and product development. His engagements have resulted in two exits through acquisition in the last three years. Phil won the UK’s prestigious engineering MacRobert Award for his work with a bionic technology firm, Touch Bionics. He puts his success down to his original training as a creative director and the ability to bring new ideas into successful commercial outcomes. Phil has overall responsibility for delivering the Retouch3D project.
Amanda Hurt, Project Manger for Retouch3D, brings wide-ranging experience in account management, public relations, and ecommerce marketing. As Director of Communications for an international premium denim brand she was responsible for creating the brand’s online identity and launching over twenty independent products. A graduate of Clemson University, she has been involved in independent projects with Honda Motors, Hanes, and Barnes & Nobles. Her consumer product experience in account management and customer service lends value to her role as Project Manager. Amanda is responsible for planning and executing the key projects behind Retouch3D.
Joseph Friend, Product Designer at Retouch3D, has a broad skill set, crossing: ergonomics; UX; materials & manufacture; architectural design; graphics; and marketing. As a creative at L’Oreal head office he was responsible for national launches of global brands. His experience as a designer at an architectural design firm gives him a strong insight into how small companies run. While studying industrial design at Loughborough University, he was involved in projects with leading brands such as: MUJI; O2; Diageo; and Dyson. Joseph is responsible for leading product research, concept design, CAD engineering and liaising with manufactures.
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Risks and challenges
The development risk for Retouch3D is low. The underlying technologies for Retouch3D are extremely well established. While Retouch3D is a new and revolutionary product, we are reconfiguring these technologies. We will need to ensure our microelectronics programming delivers the optimal temperature sensor control. The objective is to program a 15 pre-set temperature input configuration (with finer variable adjustment) through a closed-loop system, while maintaining high performance and reducing product size and weight.
The prototype shown in the video has had many of the design and technology goals already accounted for, although we may need to modify the design as our development progresses.
Retouch3D will use a specialized outsource manufacturing partner to assemble the final product. We are already talking with several trusted companies, and will shortly make a final decision in selecting a manufacturing partner at the end of the Kickstarter campaign. The outsourced manufacturing partners are already known to our founder and these partners specialize in working with technologies like Retouch3D, therefore manufacturing risk is minimized.
The following key points outline what has been accomplished so far and what is still required in the manufacturing plan:
1. Testing of current established technologies and potential alternatives; drawbacks identified
2. Initial sketches and concept development
3. 3D print form prototype with user testing of ergonomics
4. Reconfiguration of technologies incorporating our 3D print form prototype
5. Extensive user testing finishing various 3D prints shapes and sizes with heated tips
6. Form prototype produced
7. Potential microelectronics boards identified
8. Patent application filed
9. Outline cost-of-goods scoped and budgeted
Still to complete:
1. Test product demand on Kickstarter
2. Appoint microelectronics engineering contractor
3. Finalize product hardware for final Retouch3D design
4. Appoint final manufacturer to assemble new product
5. Test beta units for heat settings and tip designs
6. Modify beta hardware and controls as appropriate
7. Manufacturer first batch of Kickstarter production
We would like to give appropriate credit to the design files for the 3D models used in our project video and story images seen on our website. All of the 3D files are licensed under the Creative Commons licenses (CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us and CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/).
Below you will find the full list of 3D files:
Model 1: Gorilla by marcelopasqua
Model 2: Stegosaurus by Pr09het
Model 3: Hogwarts School by jmwalsh
Model 4: To Make or not to Make (Clean) by mekmekmek
Model 5: Pen Pot by AmyYang
Model 6: Retriever by Skotte
Model 7: T-Rex by IcanCwhatUsay
Model 8: A simple plane by Reed96
Model 9: Human Face by mikelkunz / retrofitted to Retouch3D tester block
*Shipping cost not included
**This is a 3D file to print-your-own 3D base unit for your Retouch3D. It is used to hold your Retouch3D device and stands on a flat surface. We will provide you with an STL file to download and print the Retouch3D base unit.
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