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.
Hexastorm sells a new type of laser diode scanner; the transparent polygon scanner. Note that this relates to scanning in the broader sense, not the specific form of scanning used to capture 2D and 3D images and shapes. The technology can have a big impact on 3D printing. To clarify, the Hexastorm is put in perspective by comparing it with a Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printer. The smallest element of a FFF printer is the nozzle which is a circle with a 300 micrometers diameter. In the latest Hexastorm, this is an elliptical laser spot which is 50 by 60 micrometers. The standard spot speed of a FFF printer is 50-80 millimeters per second. The Hexastorm is able to reach a spot speed of 100 to 467 meters per second. The maximum scan length is 24 mm. The speed of a whole scan line is 16 to 84 mm/s. The outline of the project description is as follows. We start by listing the applications of laser scanners, list the specifications of the Hexastorm, give a brief overview of the technology and outline what source code has been developed. Finally, we outline our business model, the team and time line.
* Up to 133 Hertz is recommended in the developer version. **
Experiments were conducted on several prisms. The best polygon produced these results. Measurements are available in the experiments section here. *** The scan speed of a transparent polygon scanner is not uniform and varies slightly. The scan speed at the center is 80 percent of that at the edges of a scan line of 8 mm. For a 24 mm scan line the speed at the center is 57 percent. The non-uniform scan speed can be mitigated by using a high speed laser with a 50 MHz pulse rate. At the moment, this is not done as the laser driver frequency is 100 kHz. The lower optical power at the edges could actually be useful, as it exposes a zone which is often illuminated twice.
The transparent polygon scanner consists out of a laser diode which is focused directly with an aspherical lens. The bundle refracts through a transparent polygon and is directed to the surface with a 45 degrees first sided mirror. The bundle is deflected by tilting the transparent polygon.
The position of the laser bundle is monitored by a photo-diode. A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is used to ensure the correct timing of and stream data to the laser diode.
A detailed explanation, analytical model, review of other exposure technologies and patent analysis has been made available via Reprap. The technology has four advantages: high optical quality, cost effectiveness, scalable for industrial applications and open hardware.
High optical quality The transparent polygon scanner projects at 90 degrees of incidence and has a flat field projection, see figure. To mitigate in a reflective polygon scanner the simple lens is replaced with a telecentric f-theta lens. In the figure, you can also clearly see that in a transparent polygon scanner the bundle is focused before it hits the transparent prism and must be rotated to translate the bundle.
Cost effectiveness A high optical quality can be obtained without an expensive f-theta lens.
Scalable The maximum optical power of laser diodes becomes less as their wavelength becomes shorter. As a result, laser diodes need to be combined to give more power. It is, however, not possible to combine more than two lasers into a single bundle without interference. The electromagnetic field only allows for up to two polarizations. Due to its high optical quality and cost effectiveness, the Hexastorm is very scalable and suited for systems with multiple bundles. An example of such a system is shown here.
Open hardware Hexastorm does not have patents. Hexastorms will publish the hardware designs and software packages for its kit under the GNU General Public License (GPLv3) and/or the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0. Assembly information will be supplied via a Wiki similar to E3D.
Technical presentation We have made a presentation of 13 minutes in which the research and development status of the Hexastorm is discussed.
All the code for the Hexastorm is written in Python and will be made open source with the delivery of the Hexastorm developer kit. Python was chosen as it is easy to read and very hackable. There are no lock-ins as this would not benefit our customers and limit their choices. The following code is shipped:
All the software has been developed and tested. In the coming months, the documentation will be improved. The slicer needs a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file in STL file format. A slice is then extracted and converted to a 2D array. This array is interpolated. The user can tune the slicer by setting the polygon in-radius, substrate speed, start position, number of facets, laser frequency etc. The interpolated data is subsequently sent to the SDRAM.
The FPGA determines the position of the laser diode and translates this to an address position.
This address is read out and the laser is pulsed accordingly. The current FPGA driver is capable of firing on a single facet to get the best possible resolution.
The user can also read pattern files which can be sent to the slicer and render them back to bitmap.
This functionality has been added to support debugging. Hexastorm used Blender and Openshot to produce the Kickstarter video. The music in the video originates from Dubmood. The website is build using Flask.
Hexastorm plans to sell open-hardware laser scanners via online retail. These scanners will be provided as kits or certified and assembled. Hexastorm believes that patents in general impede innovation. As a result, we want to be as reluctant in patents as possible. At the moment, Hexastorm does not have patents. Hexastorm has chosen an open source hardware business model. Companies like Lulzbot have shown this is feasible. Hexastorm will try to obtain a certificate from the Free Software Foundation for its products if the campaign is successful. Hexastorm believes that the combination of its innovative product and its open-hardware business model make it especially suited for crowd funding. The company's long run competitive advantage must come from its ability to forge easy alliances, feedback and trust from customers and employees. Please note, Hexastorm sees its name as a trademark. It is in the process of taking all the steps necessary to trademark the name Hexastorm in the field of; laser scanning, 3d printing, space exploration, self-driving cars etc. in all countries on earth.
We have made a pitch of seven minutes in which we discuss the market potential of the Hexastorm in 10 slides. The photopolymer market size was estimated using Wohlers report. The PCB market size estimate is based upon bcc research. This market was not broken down further.
Kickstarter 50,000 euro's The Kickstarter target is €50,000. If this target is met, the company should have sufficient funds to meet the pledges. We will do our best to meet the pledges. The risks are outlined in the risks and challenges section. The company will open-source the code and hardware.
The following two targets are rough sketches and will be outlined in more detail if the targets are approached.
Dedicated Hardware 120,000 euro's The company has surpassed its Kickstarter target and unlocked sufficient funds to start developing dedicated open-hardware electronics for transparent polygon scanners. This will take several months and the hardware will be made available for sale after the Kickstarter. We will consider discount for backers. Details will follow.
Balanced Polygons 170,000 euro's The company will see if it's possible to obtain balanced polygons or how these are made. This will probably require a significant investment as a running supply chain, one for reflective polygons, needs to be copied and replaced with one for transparent polygons. We will make a report on the outcome of this inquiry. Details will follow as target is approached.
Rik Starmans Dipl-Ing. Ir. Rik Starmans is the founder of Hexastorm. Rik has a Master of Science in Management, Technology and Economics from the ETH Zurich and a Master of Science in Applied Physics from the Delft University of Technology. Before founding Hexastorm, Rik worked at TNO for three and a half years as a scientist. TNO is a Dutch non-profit research institute which is partly endowed by the Dutch government and employs about 3000 people. Rik conducted research for parties such as Nextdent and Rapidshape. During the three and half years, he also worked on a transparent polygon scanner with a plurality of laser sources see final US application here. Rik is listed as co-inventor in this patent under his birth name Henri.
The lead time of 100 prisms is 30 working days. The exact lead time of more prisms is unknown. I do have multiple suppliers so should be able to get 200 prisms in 40 working days. Let's assume that assembling and packing costs another 40 working days. The total supply time is then 16 weeks, i.e. 4 months. In the Netherlands there is a summer holiday during this period. In addition, we need to account for failures or delays. The total supply time is therefore set at 5 months. The full documentation and code will be made public at the first of November. The work break down structure and the Gantt chart of the project are shown below. These have been created with Latex. Once the project starts an up to date project plan will be made available to backers via Overleaf.
At the moment, Hexastorm does not sell assembled laser scanners. The company simply does not have the resources to get the products certified and assembled in time. Customers in return get the opportunity to test an unique product without lock-ins at an early stage.
In the following; we outline the hazards and how they are mitigated.
Hexastorm goes bankrupt
Hexastorm is unable to meet its pledges and gets sued by its backers.
This hazard is mitigated by limiting the guarantees Hexastorm offers to its backers and ensuring the company has sufficient financial means.
Hexastorm is a Dutch company listed under chamber of commerce number 68 49 52 50.
Hexastorm guarantees the following:
- backers receive the documentation, list of materials and source code digitally at 1-11-2017 via reprap.org, github.com or hexastorm.com.
- backers receive the materials as stated in their rewards;
* prism glued on top of mirror motor if purchased mounted
* all the materials outlined in the list of materials
* the items shipped are in line with the video
- all the materials received appear visually undamaged
- Hexastorm will serve its Kickstarter backers first.
The order is determined via batch number. Hexastorm will not pursue online retail if the company has not met its pledges (see Kickstarter scandal "not cool at all")
- Hexastorm will give an update every two weeks until the products are shipped
Hexastorm does not guarantee;
- shipping starts at the first of November (Hexastorm pledges to do its best)
- the backers are able to build a laser scanner (this depends on the skills of the backers themselves)
- the backers are able to achieve multi-facet overlay at 40 microns (see hazard multi facet overlay)
- the laser diode in the full developer kit functions (see hazard electronics)
- the scanner build by the backer meets the safety requirements (see safety)
Only if the prism is perfectly aligned with respect to the polygon, facet overlay is achievable. If the polygon scanner is not properly made, developers will still be able to achieve a high resolution but only at a single facet. Several polygons were made and we figured out what the key design parameters are. This resulted in a polygon which was able to have a cross scan error of 40 micrometers. Suppliers for the polygon prisms and polygon motors have been selected. If you decide to buy a mounted polygon, we will try our best to make the polygons as good as possible, but we do not guarantee facet overlay. We also do not make any guarantees with respect to the lifetime of the transparent polygon. The transparent polygon can be detached and placed on top of another polygon mirror motor, these cost in the order of 30 dollars. The motor is, however, very hard to break.
We will do our best to ensure that the full developer kit comes with all the tools needed to assemble the Hexastorm. With basic soldering skills you should be able to assemble a Hexastorm. We do, however, not guarantee that you can assemble the laser scanner. Two laser diodes are shipped. If both do not work due to electronic damage or for whatever reason, this risk is on you. It is very hard to determine what damaged the laser diodes.
It's not in the interest of the company to ship damaged goods.
The products are insured against damage during shipping.
Make sure you provide the correct shipping address and correspondence address to Hexastorm before 1-10-2017.
Please provide the following: street, house number, zip code, state, country, name, email and telephone number.
If you do not wish to provide some information or the information is not applicable, provide a question mark.
High powerful laser diodes are easy to work with if safety precautions are taken. Backers need to make sure they wear laser glasses and follow laser safety guidelines. Safety instructions will be included and we provide backers the opportunity to buy laser glasses. Backers themselves assemble the final product. They have to ensure the product meets the safety criteria of their country. The product is a proof of concept. A laser can burn through the plastic enclosure. In practice this does not happen as the laser bundle is moving and its exposure is controlled by the photo diode. Hexastorm does not have the time to determine the safety requirements of all the countries its sells to. As a result, it does not sell assembled products yet. Assembly and compliance is up to you :-).
No physical item is transfered but you do enable access of yourself and the rest of the world to the designs, the list of materials and the rest of the documentation. You are allowed to make copies and sell these.
The kit contains a 21000 RPM polygon mirror motor with a four sided transparent quartz prism not mounted! The source code, list of materials and hardware designs needed to built a transparent polygon scanner are included as well. There will be an extensive manual so developers know what challenges they should expect, how to identify these challenges and how they are fixed. This kit is ideal if you want to source the components yourself and want to take off where Rik Starmans started.
This kit is targeted at developers who want to start as fast as possible and try out the technology as is.
The full kit contains the mounted transparent polygon and the electronics / materials needed to build the scanner for down projection.
The scanner enclosure is printed with a FFF-printer at 200 micrometers.
The scan head weighs 500 grams and has dimensions of 180 x 90 x 70 mm.
The scanner has the following connections:
- a 40 pin Raspberry Pi HAT connector
- a female USB port
- two 2.1 mm DC plugs which must be supplied at 1.5 A 12V and 0.5 A 24V respectively.
Two laser diodes of 0.3 W at 405 nm are included in the kit.
You need to connect the Raspberry Pi HAT connector to a Raspberry or a different 5V power source. The Raspberry Pi 3 with casing and Pi HAT connector are included. A power adapter for the Raspberry Pi is not included.