We want to bring a reliable, extensible, open 3d printing platform to a wide audience. For this, we chose to offer the Kossel-Mini printer with some of the best components that are available. The Kossel-Mini is a wonderful, high-quality printer design that has a huge user community.
We chose to offer a Kossel-Mini rather than a new design because one of the most common problems faced by new users is where to get support when something goes wrong. If you need a part replaced or if you find a bug, it's best to have some help from people besides the manufacturer.
While the Kossel-Mini has many advantages, we want to provide the following enhancements as part of this offering:
- We will only ship with the highest quality parts. There are so many options for things such as hotends, controllers, motors, switches and other components. We have the experience necessary to find the best components rather than the cheap knockoffs from overseas. For example: Our stepper motors will come from Kysan; we are shipping with the Panucatt Azteeg X5 mini controller; and the hotends will be MKV Jheads from hotends.com.
- We will document every aspect of building and tuning these marvelous printers. One of the most common complaints about delta printers (and repraps in general) is that the documents are so hard to find. Every printer can have dozens of variants with little differences that can be hard to spot in the beginning. Every single printer that comes from this kickstarter will use the same parts and we will be able to tell you exactly what to do. All of the documents will come from us as either YouTube videos or blog entries (with photos) that we will save as a PDF on git (so that it will always be around). You won't have to search for anything.
- We will keep costs to a minimum. We have already negotiated with the manufacturers or dealers for volume pricing and they're just waiting for our order. When this campaign is funded, we will immediately place orders and when they arrive here, we will check them, repack them and send them to you.
- Anything we design will be open sourced. Whatever we build... whether it is software or a part, we will ensure that it is shared with the whole community. So... let's say you get one of the basic kits and later you want to add something to it, all you need to do is download a file from the Internet and you're set. If you need to replace a part because you dropped your printer, you can print it yourself with no worries. Even our bill of materials will be posted once we make the orders so that you know exactly where to go for anything you need.
- No special skills will be required. You could go for a fully-built, calibrated printer... and you will be able to take it out of the box and do minor assembly (noting more than a couple of metric hex-screws); then plug it in and print. Or... if you get a kit, all you will need is a file, an electronics screwdriver and a metric hex set. No solder... no multimeter... all the stuff that causes problems will be done for you. We want your printer to be as plug and play as possible. If you get one of the kits, you will need to download some software to fine-tune it... but there will be a video for you for every step of the way.
So, what is a Kossel-Mini?
The Kossel-Mini is a delta 3D printer with the following design goals:
- Zero backlash
- Speed: 320mm/s in X, Y and Z directions.
- Resolution: 80 steps/mm in all 3 directions
- Build Volume: 170mm diameter, 240mm height; (approx 5.5L build volume)
- Footprint: 300mm width
- Hardware Cost: less than $600 USD
We are using the standard Bill of Materials (BOM) including printed parts. The main reason for this is that you should be able to get replacement parts from anywhere and not be tied to any particular manufacturer. You should also be able to do upgrades later when improvements become available or if you discover your own preferences that differ from our design.
Why a Kossel-Mini?
There are many printers to compare to the Kossel-Mini, but one of the most popular commercial printers today is the Replicator 5th generation:
How good is a Kossel-Mini?
Here are a few samples to let you see the quality of this printer.
The Kossel-Mini offered here has a few optional components for an extra $100, you can get the following:
- The new Mini-Viki LCD controller from Panucatt devices.
- Heated Bed (for printing ABS).
- Custom Panels and Door in Acrylic with built-in spool holder
- Filament - 1 kg roll of MakerLibre filament. You can choose your favorite color from our website makerlibre.com and specify the color, the size (1.75mm or 3.0mm) and type (PLA or ABS). Shipping is free anywhere in the US.
- Parts Kit - 1 set of kossel-mini parts in your choice of any MakerLibre filament color (either ABS or PLA plastic). For an exact list of parts that will be printed, please see our github URL (https://github.com/makerlibre/boms/tree/master/kossel-mini-15x15) Shipping is free anywhere in the US.
- Barebones Kit (Parts, Electronics and Frame) - This kit consists of the most expensive items in a kossel-mini build, but you get to take advantage of the volume pricing that we will get through this campaign and save a bit with us. This kit contains the Panucatt Azteeg X5 mini controller, Linear Rails kit, MKV hotend, frame kit, kysan stepper motors, heater cartridge, power supply, end stops and the plastic parts kit in your choice of MakerLibre plastic (specify the color and ABS/PLA). Shipping in the US is free. If you are outside of the US, please add $70 to cover international shipping. California residents, please add 8% to your pledge to cover sales tax.
- Full Kit - This kit includes everything that you need to assemble your own kossel-mini down to the last screw, nut, wire and zip tie. You get the controllers, steppers, belts, hotend, extrusion and rails kits, endstops, bearings, arms, power supply, gears, tubing, all fasteners, 170mm round borosilicate glass and of course the plastic parts kit in your choice of MakerLibre color. You will also be getting a roll of PLA filament in the color of your choice from makerlibre.com. Shipping in the US is $50. If you are outside of the US, please add $120 to cover international shipping. California residents, please add 8% to your pledge to cover sales tax.
- Assembled Kossel-Mini - Assembled Printer. We will build and calibrate a kossel-mini printer based on the same parts described in the full kit. For the same price that you would buy for getting the parts on your own, you will have fully working printer. If you have never built a 3d printer before, you should expect assembly to take between 20 and 40 hours (and for some folks, much longer), but we will take care of all of this for you. Shipping in the US is $80. If you are outside of the US, please add $150 to cover international shipping. California residents, please add 8% to your pledge to cover sales tax. Please be advised that some minor dis assembly may be required for shipping.
- Assembled Kossel-Mini + Upgrades - Everything in the Assembled Kossel-Mini reward PLUS the mini-Viki LCD, a Heated Bed (for printing ABS) and those nifty panels with built-in spool holder. Shipping in the US is $80. If you are outside of the US, please add $150 to cover international shipping. California residents, please add 8% to your pledge to cover sales tax. Please be advised that some minor dis assembly may be required for shipping.
Risks and challenges
* Components could take longer than expected to reach us for packing and assembly - As part of contacting the manufacturers, I verified their lead times. If the manufacturers hold to these quotes, this risk will be minimized. However, some parts will be imported and the delays at customs cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, I have added some time to the delivery schedule to accommodate a reasonable customs delay.
* Component flaws could cause a supply chain disruption - If the parts we get from manufacturers do not meet our standards, they would need to be sent back to the factory. This can cause a work stoppage and delays. We are mitigating this by ordering standard parts from reputable manufacturers.
* Assembly could run long - Assembling printers and calibrating them is time consuming. We have defined a process that will leverage our experience in assembling 3d printers and other electronic components in order to streamline assembly... but interruptions in the supply chain or distractions to assemblers could have a ripple effect.
* Excitement could be greater than we anticipated. - We sized our deliveries for 25-35 printers max so that everyone would be happy and we would meet our deadlines. If we get more contributors than that, we may exceed some of our vendors lead times and there could be delays. Also, our shop can produce approximately 3 sets of parts per day. We would mitigate this by expanding our production capacity or alternatively having some of the kits injection molded. Furthermore, we could source some parts from alternate vendors as long as the products are identical. Finally, we will ship items as they are done so the first contributors would get the first kits and so forth until everyone is taken care of.
- (29 days)