A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
A couple of years ago, we started looking for a simple, low cost 3D printer kit, something to create functional parts without having to make a substantial investment. We bought a few, but soon realized there was nothing on the market that filled all the requirements we were looking for. Low cost kits sacrificed quality and ease of operation, and were very limited in the type of materials they could use. Eventually we decided that to create a kit printer of our own, with the ultimate goals of advanced features, affordability and high quality.
The XMOD 3D is designed from the ground up with a few simple goals in mind.
Simple, quick assembly with little to no troubleshooting needed
Reliable operation - high quality machine that prints high quality parts
Able to print all common materials, and most "exotic" materials
We really feel that we have been able to achieve these goals, as well as creating a kit that is fully modular, meaning parts can be upgraded or replaced easily. We're also included an all metal hot end and an abrasion resistant 0.4mm and 0.6mm nozzle, allowing you to print durable, functional parts with materials that would normally wear out and destroy a standard nozzle. The high temperature heated bed reduces part warping and improves first layer adhesion. Advanced electronics ensure super quiet, reliable, and accurate operation, which means fewer scrapped parts, less frustration, and simpler use. On board WiFi enables wireless control and uploading. Alternately, you can also use a USB port if preferred. The printer's ability to accept G-code allows it to use your favorite slicing software. We've basically made our printer simple enough for a child to use, and capable enough for an adult to enjoy!
Our first concept relied on a lot of large 3d printed parts. Unfortunately, while this gave us a lot of design flexibility, the cost to 3d print was too high for small to medium production runs.
We realized using large 3D printed structural parts was not ideal, so we developed a new concept that used aluminum tubing for a frame, and 3D printed connectors
the second frame iteration still retained the two piece vertical rails. Initially we were really trying to keep our shipping size to a minimum, but ultimately we discovered that we couldn't get the rigidity we needed with two piece vertical frame members. We developed a new frame that had one piece vertical members, and few other minor improvements intended to increase rigidity and accuracy.
The 3rd frame iteration utilized one piece vertical aluminum struts, and had an offset inductive bed sensor. This was later changed to an integrated touch probe which used the nozzle as the touch probe, eliminating the need to have a touch probe offset when setting up and calibrating. This change really had a huge effect on the print to print repeatability of the machine.
the 4th Frame Iteration incorporated 3D printable bolt on connectors which have proved to be much more rigid as well as being easier to assemble.
The video Below shows us using one of our 4th frame iteration machines to print a prototype motor mount - the prototype was then immediately used on that same machine.
It was pretty incredible to use our prototype 3D printer... to print parts for our next prototype. If you look closely, in the lower right side of the video there is a small C-clamp holding the extruder motor in place. The finished bracket replaced the clamp and has worked great!
Finished extruder motor mount
In the picture below, he printer is nearing its final shape. 4th iteration frame, and testing some new bearing designs. The sliding bearings worked fairly well, but ultimately, could not deliver the precision we were looking for.
This is the most recent test prototype, with upgraded bearings. Definitely a huge improvement in accuracy and smoothness.
We have spent about a year planning, prototyping and testing, getting the concept to a place where we felt confident in it's possibilities. We now need funding to streamline our design, make final prototypes to test which incorporate all we have learned in the previous prototypes, and set up manufacturing. We are super excited about the XMOD 3D, and hope you will join us in bringing this idea to life!!
Risks and challenges
We really believe that we have worked out most of the big bugs with this printer. That being said, there are always unexpected snags that can pop up and cause delays or failures. As we test the final prototypes, we could find small problems that would affect accuracy or cause print reliability issues; we would definitely want to fix these rather than send out a partially working product, and that could take more time than anticipated. We are also going to contract with manufacturers for most of our parts. Certain aspects of manufacturing can be unreliable, such as parts not being the quality we were promised, or delays in shipping, difficulties procuring certain sizes needed and adjustments having to be made. We have done our best to plan for problems and time needed to fix them, but of course with a new product, there is always unforeseen risk.
Your pledge will get you an XMOD 3D printer delivered to your door, ready to assemble!
-350 C High temperature all metal hot end
-Abrasion resistant nozzle for advanced
-Heated bed with a interchangeable Garolite
and Glass build surfaces.
-8" diameter x 12" tall build area
-32 bit control hardware with quiet 256x
micro-stepping motor drivers
-Integrated zero offset touch probe
-Browser based and USB control options
You'll also have access to XMOD3D forum for Q & A and/or troubleshooting!