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Using the 3D Refiner you'll transform any 3D Print into a high quality beautifully finished part in a fraction of the time! Read more

Berkeley, CA Hardware
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on May 1, 2013.

Using the 3D Refiner you'll transform any 3D Print into a high quality beautifully finished part in a fraction of the time!

Berkeley, CA Hardware
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About this project

******NOTE: For INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, please refer to FAQ section at bottom******

*** Click the Picture below for a enlarged version hosted at 3dprintsexpress.com ***

15 mins. - ABS refined w/ Water diluted Acetone - 0.35 mm - Backer Suggested: Luke Simmons
15 mins. - ABS refined w/ Water diluted Acetone - 0.35 mm - Backer Suggested: Luke Simmons

We are two masters of engineering students at UC Berkeley in their last year and avid 3D printers (almost obssesed... we're always looking for an excuse to use 3D printing in a class). The 3D Refiner came to be from our pain of having to wait for 3D prints AND all the time spent after printing to clean the part and make it presentable.  

We figured why not 3D print at the lowest resolution and with the highest speed... you get the print in a fraction of the time, but they looked horrible and the plastic layers were very prominent.

So we tried different methods to improve the prints finish and still save a ton of time.  We tried: (1) sand paper on the part, (2) wiping the part with different solvents, (3) egg beating a bowl of solvent with the part... (13?) a pressurized flow of solvent at the part while its rotating in a tank of solvent -- the 3D Refiner.

As a side note, if your interested in the 3D Refiner then check out the RigidBot 3D Printer, together these two products are the perfect combination for any 3D printing enthusiasts or hobbyists, see it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1650950769/rigidbot-3d-printer?ref=live

Prototype 2.0
Prototype 2.0

So what exactly is the 3D Refiner: a machine that rotates a 3D printed part in front of a pressurized and constant flow of solvent, allowing for a symmetric smoothing of the print, resulting in the appearance of a high quality and appealing finish for any 3D printed part.

In our last three months at Berkeley, we have been able to secure lab space exclusive for the 3D Refiner, which is where we will produce and assembled most of the finished product. We have a detailed plan how we will meet our production goals (read more about that below).  Also, we have tried to address all the possible risks as much as possible (read more about that below and learn about the next generation 3D refiner).  All in all, we hope that our almost 4 months of hard work, research, development, and prototyping can result in solving some of the pains 3D print enthusiasts, hobbyists, and even professionals encounter by saving you tons of time (check out the pictures below for results).

Of course none of this is possible without your support, so please share this with your friends or feel free to donate to the cause (we have some fun rewards, other than the 3D refiner), we appreciate you all very much, thank you!

We also would like to thank the Fung Institute and CITRIS Lab here at UC Berkeley for their support!

Part Loaded and Ready to Refine
Part Loaded and Ready to Refine
3D Refiner
3D Refiner
Supported by the Fung Institute at UC Berkeley
Supported by the Fung Institute at UC Berkeley
fast print, ABS - low resolution: (left) normal - (right) 3DRefiner 15 mins w/ Acetone
fast print, ABS - low resolution: (left) normal - (right) 3DRefiner 15 mins w/ Acetone
fast print, PLA - low resolution: (left) normal - (right) 3DRefiner for 15 min w/ MEK
fast print, PLA - low resolution: (left) normal - (right) 3DRefiner for 15 min w/ MEK

Risks and challenges

There are always challenges with every new piece of hardware; we believe we have addressed most of them through dedicated design, prototyping, and testing with this first generation 3D refiner. With a successful funding, we hope that OUR production run for YOU will have extra added-on goodies and features, making for an even higher-quality 3D Refiner. As far as risks go, this product relies on the use of a diluted solvent-water mix, which can give off fumes (we recommend operating the machine in a large open room with plenty of ventilation or using a "painters" mask), fortunately the recommended and dilute solution is not flammable (thanks to our friends in Chemical Engineering). On a side note, after attempting many other "cleaning" methods, we have found the most reliable and quick method to achieve a quality and uniform corrosion of a 3D printed part is through a pressure applying liquid bath.

We are constantly discovering new ways to improve our product, even as we are writing this. These will be captured in the next generation product, which with your help and a successful campaign, we hope to research and develop. Second generation is going to be much smaller, lighter, using less solvent, and completely air tight before, during, and after operation. We will provide periodic updates during the lifetime of the second generation product development on our website www.3dprintsexpress.com.

Electronics & Water/Solvent: We have been careful to design a shielded platform above the solvent tank where the two circuits with micro-processor, power adapter, and servos can remain separate and unaffected. The high pressure water pump is waterproof and made of a high grade and durable plastic (with a heavy duty power cable), using a ceramic impeller, which allows the pump to not be affected by the solvent. We have designed a waterproof housing for the DC motor rotating the platform; this housing is to avoid water/solvent damage to the motor.

Manufacture, Assembly, and Shipping - We have developed multiple tiered scenarios depending on the success of this Kickstarter and the volumes for production. We have an UP! 3D printer which will be used to create the majority of assembly components on the machine and all the necessary tools to construct, code, solder, and put together the 3D Refiner have already been acquired. Currently, we have the capacity to build two 3D refiners per day, while juggling our classes of course ; ). If more than forty 3D refiners are ordered we have a plan that involves some outsourcing to help meet the deadlines set. We have prepared and sourced/bid-out all the final assembly components for 3 different volume scenarios (less than 40, 125, or 250) to meet our deadlines, rest assured we will get you a quality product on time, if not earlier.

Team - We've got a great team, between Ross (Electrical Engineer) handling all the electronics, software and connections, and David (Industrial Engineer) covering the housings, pump, platforms, and assembly components. We have worked tirelessly to get us where we are today. We will continue to work hard to take the product forward to production and even further on, but we need your help.

Thank you for all your support, we are truly grateful!

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FAQ

  • Yes, its works with ABS plastic. In order to refine ABS we use Acetone solvent, you can find the MSDS here: http://www.wmbarr.com/ProductFiles/KS%20Acetone%20LL34%205%2010%2012.pdf. As always, we strongly recommend you wear protective eye wear, and use a solvent mask and chemical resistant gloves, which can all be found at any local hardware store for less than $20 USD. We just like to be extra careful.

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  • The answer is yes, its works with PLA plastic. We have TWO options: (1) In order to refine PLA we use a diluted MEK solvent (75-80% concentration is important & Iris box smoothing took about 30 minutes at highest speed setting on the upgraded pressure system 3D Refiner), which does not dissolve the PLA, but softens it to allow the pressure and rotation to smooth the part, you can find the MSDS here: http://www.wmbarr.com/product.aspx%E2%80%A6. (2) For best results with PLA, we suggest using a mixture: methanol and lye, which can be found at certain hardware stores or even ordered online from http://Amazon.com or other sources. We are currently only releasing the concentration & mixture information with the delivery of your 3D Refiner. We are in process of wrapping up filing a patent pending for the 3D Refiner combined with the PLA processing solution. This mixture will have similar effects as diluted Acetone does to ABS. As always, we strongly recommend you wear protective eye wear, and use a solvent mask and chemical resistant gloves, which can all be found at any local hardware store for less than $20 USD. We just like to be extra careful.

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  • The max printed part size is 6.5" W x 6.5" L x 8" H.

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  • For **INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING** (outside USA)

    1- message us where you are, we will then promptly message you back with the additional cost of shipping.

    2- When backing your pledge, you must put your location as the USA, then this will allow you to proceed with your reward. In your pledge please be sure to append the additional international shipping fee.

    3- When the campaign is complete we will send out a survey to get your exact shipping details.

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  • You should be able to find these common solvents at any local hardware store (e.g. Ace Hardware, Lowe's, etc...)

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  • The mixture is used in the 3D Refiner. For each of our prototypes and what we recommend is to store a mixed solution of 3 Gallons of ABS or MEK mixed with 1.5 Gallons of Water in a standard 5 Gallon canister. It is safer and easier to store compared to 3 separate pails of solvent.

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  • We will send you plastic tubing and a pair of chemical resistant gloves (standard with all 3D Refiners) which you simply connect to the 3D Refiners pump and use to pump out the solution into a 5 gallon gas canister.

    If the campaign crosses $75,000 we will add a bottom drain to the 3D Refiner with a permanent hose for draining, the entire unit will be lifted 1 inch on corner fittings.

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  • The pledge is for both the blue part (assembly) and the tank.

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  • See the photos at the top of this page OR go here: http://3dprintsexpress.com/DSC_7305.JPGyou can get this finish in 10-15 minutes.

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  • The 3D Refiner comes with 3 sets of different sized aluminum nets (small, medium, large) that can be easily clipped to the platform with small binder clips.

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  • The finishing time is programmable. The default is 15 minutes. You can use the up/down (red buttons) on the controller to change the time in increments of 1 minute.

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  • Yes, in 12 months we will release all the STL, CAD, and Eagle files, to print all the assembly parts and build the electronics, along with a detailed bill of materials list and engineering drawings.

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  • We recommend the use of a solvent mask (~$5.99 at Ace Hardware) and operating the machine in an opened and well ventilated area.Also, please refer to the MSDS for more information per solvent.

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  • We are addressing any static build up by grounding the unit to the wall outlet, any additional build up is addressed by spraying all the exposed metallic surfaces with a silicon spray, which is will not be destroyed by either Acetone or MEK.

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  • If the machine is damaged, depending on what part it is you will be able to either 3D print it yourself, order it through Amazon, or buy the replacement part from us at cost + shipping. You can also get one of the two top rewards, which gives you a life time warranty.

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  • The $149 reward does not come with a tank, while the $199 reward does come with a tank. You can purchase a 5.5 Gallon aquarium tank at most local hardware or pet stores.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    21 backers Limited (79 left of 100)

    You get your name included in an exclusive list of supporters on our current website: 3dprintsexpress.com and our eternal gratitude.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    You get TWO 3D printed Yoda heads: 1 refined with our 3D Refiner &1 NOT refined. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge).

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    You get any 3D model you send us (under 2" x 2" x 2") 3D printed TWICE in white: 1 model refined with our 3D Refiner &1 NOT refined. Contact us for details, ready to print .STL files preferred. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge).

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $149 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    You get all the electronic and hardware components, but no assembly components, which you can 3D print yourself. Great DIY, assemble the 3D Models Refiner, comes with step by step instructions. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge).

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $199 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    You get all the electronic, assembly, and hardware components, everything you need to assemble a 3D Models Refiner on your own. Step by step instructions included. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge).

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $259 or more

    4 backers Limited (8 left of 12)

    **DIY END OF CAMPAIGN SPECIAL**
    You get all the electronic, assembly, and hardware components, everything you need to assemble a 3D Models Refiner on your own. Step by step instructions included. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge).

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $269 or more

    59 backers All gone!

    EARLY ADOPTER 3D Refiner. You get the 3D Models Refiner, plug-and-play ready out of the box. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge). 3 Gallons of "Klean-Strip" (~$35) + 1.5 Gallons of water not included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $299 or more

    12 backers All gone!

    You get the 3D Models Refiner, plug-and-play ready out of the box. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge). 3 Gallons of "Klean-Strip" (~$35) + 1.5 Gallons of water not included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $319 or more

    0 backers Limited (12 left of 12)

    **END OF CAMPAIGN SPECIAL** You get the 3D Models Refiner, plug-and-play ready out of the box. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping, additional charge). 3 Gallons of "Klean-Strip" (~$35) + 1.5 Gallons of water not included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $389 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    You get a LIMITED EDITION 3D Models Refiner, plug-and-play ready out of the box with a life time warranty. Along with TWO 3D printed Yoda heads (1 refined & 1 not). Also, you get exclusive first access to the 2nd generation 3D refiner 2.0 that will be coming in the next 6-12 months. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping). 3 Gallons of "Klean-Strip" solvent (~$35) included. 1.5 Gallons of water not included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $449 or more

    4 backers All gone!

    You get a LIMITED EDITION in ANY COLOR 3D Models Refiner & the DWG & STL files to print your own 3D Refiner parts. You also get 2 extra sets of meshes for securing parts to platform. Its plug-and-play ready out of the box with a life time warranty. Along with any 3D model you send us (under 2" x 2" x 2") 3D printed TWICE (1 refined & 1 not). Also, you get exclusive first access to the 2nd generation 3D refiner 2.0 that will be coming in the next 6-12 months. USPS priority shipping included (contact us for international shipping). 3 Gallons of "Klean-Strip" solvent (~$35) included. 1.5 Gallons of water not included. EXCLUSIVE May delivery.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $599 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Pre-order and have design input on 3D Refiner 2.0. Valued at $999. Contact us for details and for international shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States

Funding period

- (30 days)