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.
With 3D Printing becoming what it is, many companies and people are working on improving the accessibility, reliability, and size of Fused Filament 3D Printers.
This results in bigger objects being printed, meaning longer print time and more materials being used. With printers now being able to run for hours without any sort of mechanical hitch, it has become increasingly easy to simply start a print and come back sometime later to pick up the finished product. However, more than a few user came back to a job completed and an unfinished object due to lack of raw materials.
With SENTINEL, the days of prints failed due to a lack of filament or dust on the filament are over.
The filament blocks the light when it passes through a slotted light sensor, which sends a signal to a led indicator and a logic system.
When multiple SENTINELS are daisy-chained, the logic system compares the signal from its light sensor with the one from the previous SENTINEL. A positive signal is sent as the output only if both of these signals are positive.
SENTINEL was designed to target one specific problem. We wanted something simple and affordable, yet slick and functional, and we hit the right balance with the final result. The accessory has a rugged metal casing and cover, both with a black finish that's characteristic of Dyze Design's products. Clear markings and an instruction diagram are also engraved on top.
Under the cover, a simple circuit board with a light sensor checks if a filament is present. This minimalist system provides reliable readings with any kind of filament; be it rigid or flexible, opaque or translucent!
Finally, two M8 Male push-fittings encompass the device. These push-fittings will grip a whole PTFE tube, ensuring that the filament is properly guided through the SENTINEL. A foam hidden in the casing is used to clean dust from the filament.
And there you are: just add a bit of magic from the printer's on-board software and you've got a nice and reliable detector in case filament runs out!
It's actually pretty easy! We will have an installation guide available on our website that will walk you through every step along the way, both for the hardware and software parts. And if you're still having problems, our support team will gladly assist you!
What’s nice about SENTINEL is that from a hardware standpoint, it can fit on any 3D printer that has a free digital pin, such as a servo pin.
From a coding standpoint, the accessory will require a few tweaks in the printer's onboard firmware. Doing so, SENTINEL is 100% compatible with open-source firmware. Also, if you're using an open-source printer but can't seem to find any documentation on how to adjust your firmware, just drop us a message. Our team is actively working on integrating its products with open-source firmware and your firmware might already be in our pipeline or we might add it.
My printer’s firmware isn’t open-source. Any chance it will be supported?
If you're a 3D printer manufacturer and would like to see our products in your printer, feel free to contact us. We'll do everything in our power to make integrating this accessory as easy as possible.
If you're using closed hardware/firmware: sadly, our hands are tied and there is little we can do. We need access to the board's source code if we want to be able to read a digital pin and correctly use that information.
You're also welcome to develop your own solution. We'll be glad to showcase it on our website if you wish to share it!
Risks and challenges
As with any KickStarter, it is impossible to know beforehand how many products will be sold and how challenging it will be to fulfill these orders in a timely fashion.
However, Dyze Design has been in the business of 3D printing parts for more than a year and has already released a few products on the market. As such, the company's supply and delivery chains are well tested. As a safety measure, we have at least one backup supplier for every critical part of the design, meaning we could easily recover from a problem with only a few weeks delay.
Another challenge is ensuring that the software keeps up with the hardware. The firmware might require a few changes in order to process the analog signal from the captor, and it takes some time and effort to develop, test and distribute a new feature. We've minimized the risks by having an early start, and we will continue to support new printers during the whole KickStarter campaign.
We are using custom made push-fittings with a 4.2mm through hole. This means that the PTFE tubing can go through it, up to our hole bottom inside SENTINEL. The filament is well guided, and it is critical for proper operation. We have tested the output stability in a very harsh environment; frequent retraction, external vibration, excessive dust at the entrance, etc. Many spools have been unrolled and the output is rock stable.
SENTINEL is designed to be installed before the extruder, so flexible filament will only be pulled from it. The filament insertion is very easy and does not require any special end cutting angle nor similar feature, it just goes through. The cleaning foam will have a little hole made by laser so that any filament can be easily inserted. Flexible filament is as easy to insert as rigid filament, the unsupported length around the thin sensor is short enough to prevent the filament to go in the wrong way.