PrismX Open Source 3D Printer (Canceled)
A proven open-source 3D printer that is fast, elegant, precise, and affordable.
PrismX Open Source 3D Printer (Canceled)
A proven open-source 3D printer that is fast, elegant, precise, and affordable.
We will provide our backers with the PrismX, a 3D printer that sets new standards for precision, speed, and strength. We will complete and deliver our Kickstarter project in a timely and transparent manner. Achieving mass-production of pre-assembled PrismX printers allows Terawatt Industries to deliver this excellent open-source machine to as many people as possible. This will enable us to expand our open-source product development and official community-based support resources. The PrismX augments Terawatt Industries' current products.
Efficient Elegance, Raw Performance.
You're ready redraw the boundaries that previously defined your creativity and accomplishments. The PrismX is for you.
The PrismX achieves exceptional frame alignment and outstanding performance. Each part has been designed with precision manufacturing and assembly in mind. Improved precision in the parts and assembly results in accurate frame alignment, and this results in fast, accurate performance. The efficient 4-motor design and belt-driven extruder make this the fastest and most reliable open-source printer in its class. The PrismX features deluxe components but stays true to the reprap credo: it can be replicated, expanded, hacked, modified, and is 100% open-source. All of the design files are written in OpenSCAD, an open-source CAD program.
The PrismX boasts impressive print quality at speeds typically claimed by delta robots. We've calibrated it for print speeds at 400mm/s infill; 200mm/s perimeter; 750mm/s travel. We still slow things down for very complex parts, but we're making plans to lift that constraint. We've tuned its Marlin firmware to support real-world acceleration and feed-rate values, not some wild guesses. Layer heights of 100-200 microns for high-quality parts are standard for the PrismX.
- Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) using 1.75 mm filament - PLA and ABS. Stock models are designed for 1.75mm filament but can be easily modified for 3mm filament use.
- 100-micron layer resolution capability; 150-200 microns optimal with 0.5mm nozzle.
- J-head 0.5mm nozzle is stock. Compatible with 0.35mm and 0.25mm j-head nozzle sizes.
- Build envelope: 8.5" x 8.25" x 8" (215mm x 210mm x 200mm) = approx. 550 cubic inches. For MendelMax Upgrade kits add 20mm to X & Y, 10mm to Z.
- 00str00der belt-driven extruder for fast and accurate extrusion.
- Heated build platform (MK2 heated). For KS we're fulfilling Black PCBs with yellow SMD LEDs (not pictured).
- Universal Y-Axis plate made from 6061-T6 aluminum; made in Boulder, Colorado.
- Exceptionally rigid aluminum extrusion construction. Smooth rails are outside of frame for added strength and travel.
- Deluxe belt-driven z-axis with precision leadscrews, matching brass nuts, thrust bearings, GT2 belts, GT2 pulleys, and acetal bushings.
- Efficient 4-motor design. The belt-driven z-axis performs better than direct-drive systems.
- Precision leadscrews are center-tapped for M4 screw especially for the PrismX; matching brass nuts; all made in Japan along with GT2 belts.
- Utilizes open source software tool chain: Pronterface, Slic3r, Marlin, and more.
- Molded-plastic parts are solid, strong, consistently precise, provide exceptional frame alignment.
- RAMPS 1.4 with Marlin Firmware customized for PrismX.
- ATX PSU with short-circuit protection, over-current protection, 30A of power on 12v, plenty of 5v power for add-ons.
- Power Switch for immediate manual override of heaters and motors.
- RAMPS 1.4 fulfilled by Terawatt Industries; green or black PCBs.
- Freeaduino MEGA2560 rev.3 with USB mini-B connector and blue LEDs.
- TFT Touch-Screen (not pictured, optional add-on) is the one at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:38749.
- Noctua cooling fans. 80mm for RAMPS/Freaduino; 20mm for the hotend. 6 year manufacturer's warranty, extremely quiet.
- LM8UU bearings mounted with steel retainer rings for precise and affordable alignment.
- GT2 linear drive systems throughout.
- Proven design with a robust open-source history. We've made iterative improvements in bite-sized chunks and have proven them along the way - since 2012. Read more about 'Prism AliceBlue' below.
- Made in USA
TW plans to offer other J-head nozzle sizes with the 00str00der as soon as possible.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printers are machines that enable you to create and build 3-dimensional objects from your own home or workshop. The objects can be made from anything including metal, ceramic, or foodstuffs like chocolate; but plastics such as PLA and ABS are the most popular materials. Objects are built by depositing material (such as PLA plastic) layer-by-layer from a tiny nozzle that is 0.25mm-0.5mm in diameter. Each layer is only a fraction of a millimeter thick. Since each layer is very thin complex detail can be reproduced in the manufactured object.
What Kinds of Things Do People Print?
You can design your own parts or download thousands of free designs from various places online, including www.thingiverse.com. New open-source and consumer software is emerging that enables XBox-Kinect(™)-like cameras to digitize real-life objects in 3D. With open-source 3D printers, you have all of the design plans and specifications at your disposal, and you can modify them to do other things in addition to printing plastic. Cutting-edge projects in 2013 include using open-source 3D printers to improve living tissues with 3D-printed vascular networks; 3D-printed metal; and electronics manufacturing. The possibilities are practically endless.
What is the PrismX 3D Printer?
The PrismX is a 3D printer. It is an open-source hardware design. This means that all of the plans; the design files, specifications, parts, and assembly; are shared publicly under open-source licenses. The PrismX was derived from another open-source hardware design, the Prism Mendel published by Buback in 2011.
A reliable, elegant open-source 3D printer that's precise, fast, and affordable. The design has been achieved by revising one area of the printer at a time and testing those modifications on prototypes and production printers. The plastic parts can be printed, machined, or molded; and it stays true to the reprap credo: the PrismX can replicate itself. Design files are written in OpenSCAD which is also open-source. The PrismX is 100% scalable, so its frame can be scaled to any (reasonable) size. If you want to build a portable PrismX, or one big enough to print an automobile dashboard, we've got you covered.
The PrismX makes improvements to an already-proven open-source hardware design with a rich history. We chose to improve upon the Prism Mendel because it was also created by making iterative upgrades to the original Mendel and its derivatives. The driving factors that compelled us to choose this design are: frame strength, 4-motor design, belt-driven z-axis; open-source licensing; its OpenSCAD source files; and the overall aesthetic of the design.
Think Out of the Box
There is an ongoing debate as to whether a "box design" or "triangle design" is better for a 3D printer. This is great fodder for some marketers. In reality well-designed and poorly-designed printers come in many basic shapes, including box, triangle, and others. The PrismX focuses on what's important: a strong, rigid frame with exceptional alignment.
Have you ever wondered how many grown adults your 3D printer could support if they stood on it? Neither have we. Placing weights on top of a printer frame provides partial data about overall frame strength, specifically the strength of the frame when loaded with weights on top. That has little, if anything, to do with actual printing performance. Terawatt Industries stands behind our printers, not on top of them.
The 00str00der belt-driven extruder is another key to PrismX's performance. We're using a nearly 4-to-1 gear ratio with durable GT2 pulleys and belt. The 00str00der is more accurate than direct drive systems, but the gear ratio can be adjusted to achieve the same 1-to-1 ratio (or even lower). This makes it more compatible with other designs like a Bowden configuration, where different ratios are desired. We've already published this open-source component on the RepRap wiki.
The TFT controller is the one at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:38749. It has a full-color graphical UI that looks like Pronterface. I've wanted to introduce an LCD controller to our printers for a while - and this one is user-friendly enough for it. Also I like the way this TFT controller is engineered to communicate through the serial port and can be upgraded separately. There will be some necessary development and documentation, which we will contribute back to the project. Our research indicates it's mature enough to work with in the near-to-mid term.
Molded Plastic Parts
The plastic parts we're using to manufacture the PrismX are made from solid, black, flame-resistant plastic. These parts are much stronger and more durable than printed parts. I've created a molding process that allows our 3D printers to return to the role of rapid prototyping. Our process relies on 3D CAD software and 3D printers, but it's not simply a matter of printing a part and making a mold from it. This process results in absolutely no part warping and excellent control over layer height, precision, repeatability, and alignment.
Terawatt Industries seeks assistance to fund mass-production of pre-assembled PrismX machines and kits. We want this machine to be in the hands of as many people as possible, and to be launched with proper resources. We wish to lay the foundation for growth of this product for years to come, and to fund additional open-source hardware development and support.
I know that crowd-sourcing works. Members of Solid State Depot, our local hackerspace in Boulder, have launched two successful Kickstarter campaigns. I also backed the QU-BD project last summer, and I've been fortunate to gain exposure into other kickstarter projects through hackerspace members. I've worked directly with the Zooniverse team and volunteered to publish their Galaxy Zoo for Android app, a crowd-source science project. GZ for Android been used by thousands of users to submit 250,000 astronomical data points. I've also been using Kiva.org for years.
Project Status and Communication
We like the way the QU-BD project kept project backers continuously informed. To that end we're going to organize a newsletter and make announcements regarding project status at least once per week.
OpenSource Projects used on the PrismX
- Prism Mendel: One of the first aluminum-extrusion-based reprap designs.
- Open Source 3D Printer Extrusion Head: The PrismX uses the J-Head MKV-B hot end. We have augmented this with a custom high-performance belt-driven extruder, called the 00str00der, to drive filament to the extrusion head.
- 00str00der: GT2 belt-driven extruder with nearly 4-to-1 gear ratio. So far it has been unfazed by any real-world stress test we've thrown at it.
- RAMPS 1.4: RAMPS 1.4 is based on the Pololu 'Stepstick' stepper driver and is designed to be an expansion board for the Arduino MEGA.
- Arduino MEGA 2560: Open-source microcontroller with an open-source programming environment compatible with Windows, Mac, and Unix platforms.
- ATX Adapter Board - originally from Ultimachine, revised and updated by Terawatt Industries
Thanks to all developers, software and hardware, who contribute their works to the public domain under open source licenses and thereby do their part to share knowledge, and make the world better for all. If not for the hard work of the open source community, projects such as the PrismX would not be possible. The “open source software tool chain” refers to Marlin, Slic3r, and Pronterface. These are fantastic open source software projects that have enabled the rapid growth in personal 3D printing. We’d like to specifically acknowledge some of the individuals and organizations behind these tools:
- Prism Mendel -- the original design by "Buback" and published on RepRap wiki. Buback also proposed an early delta robot design and printable telescope.
- 00str00der -- original open-source design by L. Miller and Terawatt Industries
- RAMPS 1.4 and ATX-PSU Dev-Board -- Ultimachine's JohnnyR, the designer of RAMPS 1.4, the ATX PSU Dev Board, and more.
- Marlin -- by Erik van der Zalm and Bernhard Kubicek, delta support by Johann Rocholl, h-bot support by L. Miller and Terawatt Industries.
- And many we forgot to mention!
Fund two projects with one reward! If this campaign is successful then $2 from the donation for each PrismX upgrade kit, $5 from the donation for each PrismX complete kit, and $10 from the donation for each pre-assembled machine is to be donated to the RepRap Project (http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page).
As the campaign progresses we will use http://prismx.terawattindustries.com/kickstarter as a hub for additional PrismX public announcements, FAQs, and documentation related to this campaign. Some components such as the 00str00der and PrismX are already published on the RepRap wiki.
More PrismX Links
Risks and challenges
Clearly our primary challenges are: the molding/casting process; meeting timeline goals for testing/burn-in; unexpected challenges with the TFT hardware. Once we have reached our goal on Kickstarter we start the production process. We already have several parts of this process already in-place, or poised for us, because we're an open-source 3D printer company.
We're familiar with the potential pitfalls in using printers for mass production, so this product only has one printed part (00str00der); the rest are molded. However we still rely on 3D printers for our molding process, so they've already started their work.
For fulfillment of electronics we have been using our own supplier for PCBs and assembly. The TFT assembly, ATX adapter board, and RAMPS 1.4 assembly and QC will be performed in Colorado.
I know how important documentation is for users. We're launching the PrismX with an official RepRap wiki page, an online forum hosted by Google, and more online resources. Each product (pre-assembled, kit, upgrade) will have documentation when it ships, not weeks afterwards.
We are confident in getting all of our plastic molds completed, but we know there can be unexpected time delays with making molds. We're planning to have a small team manufacture the parts in batches of 2 at first; then 5; then 10 or more.
Once we've assembled the machines we already have a suite of GCode to test them with. We perform a machine burn-in test in a controlled environment that will test the electronics, motors, heaters - all for extended periods of time and in simulated real-world scenarios. Each machine will be inspected prior to shipment to ensure it passes all tests.
We have a plan to help ensure we're able to coordinate all of the correct components still make our goals on-time. If this plan changes and/or slips we'll let everybody know the cause and how the milestones are affected.
During Kickstarter Campaign
- Finish molding CADs - this has started
- Finish SCAD revisions for MendelMax upgrade fork
- Start printing plastic mold containers
- Start creating part molds
- Draft Getting Started Guide, User's Guide
- Start preparation for Assembly Guide
- Setup newsletter for status updates
- Launch online forum, assess any other online resources needed
- Research and detail plan for TFT fulfillment
- Port TFT/LCD mount design to OpenSCAD
- Start casting first batch plastic parts
By June 9
- Start casting first 2-batch plastic parts
- Obtain delivery estimate for MK2 and RAMPS PCBs
- Have delivery estimate for j-head hot ends including assembly
- Obtain delivery estimate for TFT/LCD units
- Complete creation of part molds (already started printing these)
- Final drafts of Getting Started Guide, User's Guide
- Detail plan for ramping-up to 10-batch production
- Order laser-cut keychains and stickers
- Have chosen a T-shirt design
By June 16
- Start casting first 5-batch plastic parts
- Begin RAMPS assembly
- Sourced t-shirts
By June 23
- RAMPS assembly underway, ETD known
By Jul 14
- RAMPS assembly completed
- Received all components for assembly, excluding hotends
- Ramp up to max practical casting volume if necessary
- Start assembling first batch of pre-assembled machines
- Draft assembly guide for kits
By July 28
- Received hotends
- Received TFT/LCDs
- Shipped stickers
- Shipped keychains
- Received t-shirts.
By August 18
- Complete first batch pre-assembled machines
- Test TFT on Terawatt prototypes
- Start burn-in tests of first batch of assembled printers
By August 25
- Complete testing and calibration of first batch of assembled printers
- Draft packing lists for kits incl. MMax upgrade kits
By September 8
- Ship first batch of pre-assembled machines.
By September 15
- Final draft of assembly guide for PrismX complete kits
- Start assembling second batch of pre-assembled machines
By September 22
- Ship pre-assembled 00str00ders
- Complete testing and calibration of second batch of assembled printers
By September 29
- Ship t-shirts
- Ship second batch of pre-assembled machines.
By October 6
- Finish shipping pre-assembled machines.
- Shipping complete PrismX kits
- Shipping all 00str00der kits
By October 13
- Final draft of assembly guide for PrismX upgrade kits
- Shipping PrismX upgrade kits
By October 27
- All reward shipments complete
- (30 days)