About this project
Pico defines precision. A premium, fully assembled, all-metal hot-end designed with quality as a top-tier goal. We are stepping out of sub-par reliability to introduce professional level standards into the hands of all the RepRap Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printers. Our journey began with the constant failures and shortcomings of previous hot-ends that we could no longer endure. The universal Pico offers solutions to hot-end meltdowns, leaks from the weakness of multiple components, afterthought taped thermistors, and threaded heater blocks. Our simple and sensible design allows for worry-free printing over the wide range of plastic materials up to 300° celsius.
We take engineering seriously. Every component, feature, and material selected for Pico is purpose-built using components to meet our quality standards. The key feature is Pico’s robust backbone; a solid single body of aircraft-grade machined stainless steel structure. A single body design adds strength while reducing weight and size, making it the lightest and smallest footprint all-metal universal hot-end. This minimizes excessive components, and relieves the design from leaks at conjunction points and allows uninhibited thermal transfer in the intended areas. Additionally, Pico’s flexibility enables printers the option of selecting various leak-free nozzle sizes without the redundant purchase of another hot-end.
After three generations of prototypes, Pico has been through a final round of Beta trials by well-known printer enthusiasts all over the world. And now, it’s time. Your support will put Pico into your hands or into the hands of others patiently waiting for a true quality all-metal hot-end. The success of Pico will be possible by manufacturing in high quantities to reduce costs. If our goal is exceeded, not only will your pledges fund the production of Pico, but also B3’s future innovations for the RepRap printing community. Our queued projects are piling up with more excitement and advances that we are eager to share. Here's how to get involved: Find a favorable reward and pledge today. B3 Innovations, LLC and the other backers are thankful for your support. Print On, Printers!
We are proud to say Pico will be machined and assembled in the USA.
Many thanks to these publications:
Single Body Design
Machined from a solid piece of 303 Stainless Steel
We wanted a design that does not suffer the same problems as traditional hot-ends. So we aimed to reduce the number of components for the Pico hot-end—to one. Beautifully machined to incredibly tight tolerances from a single piece of 303 stainless steel. There is no PTFE (Teflon®) or PEEK to leak or fail. In fact, we take leaks so serious, we designed a custom nozzle with chamfered edges to form a leak-free compression seal.
- Reduced leak/failure points with only one conjunction
- Heavyweight that is lightweight: 29g making it the lightest all-metal universal hot-end
- Compact size – including nozzle: 56mm x 14.3mm dia. making it the smallest footprint of all-metal universal hot-ends
- High strength and durable
- Meltdown-free, long-lasting, plastic-free design
- Built-in 13mm wrench flats
- High-efficiency integrated vertical heater block. Threads inhibit heat transfer in threaded heater blocks
- Precision machined with tolerances meeting aerospace grade
- Precision-machined 45 degree chamfered nozzles for a leak-resistant compression fit
Thermally simulated, validated testing
We ran exhaustive thermal studies to ensure the heat stays where it belongs. To prevent jamming caused by heat migration upwards, the Pico has high-precision cooling fins—just 0.5mm thin. The results speak for themselves; printing at 260°C the Pico’s top threads are a cool 45.9°C. The Pico is designed with a thermal break between the heat zone and the inlet. So you can enjoy printing a variety of materials up to 300ºC or beyond¹.
¹limited by thermistor to 300ºC *Some materials require active cooling
- Stainless steel was chosen for thermal characteristics. It favors heat to just the heated portions. As opposed to aluminum which absorbs heat throughout while reducing efficiency.
- No bulky heat sink.
Custom Made Cartridge Heater
Tight tolerance. Made in the USA
Going vertical allows an integrated heater block for a compact, beautiful design. This improves the heating efficiency and boosts performance by uninhibited heat transfer vs. traditional threaded heater blocks. The heater is placed in the optimal position to ensure even heating of the melt zone—not to mention a perfect-fit bore, it is neither too short or long—further increasing heater life. And we did not want to use just any heater in Pico. We designed a custom heater, made in the USA to meet our specifications. To top it off, it’s treated with a release agent in the rare case you need to change it out.
- US made heaters replace sub-par imported heater cartridges
- 40 Watts, 12 volts or 24 volts
- High-temperature 25in DuraFlex® leads
- 6.23mm diameter (¼in) (+/- 0.04mm) by 20mm long
Perfect placement. Kapton Tape Free.
We calculated the location of the thermistor based on function, not convenience. The thermistor is the only component that controls the entire hot-end and through simulated and real-time temperature gradient maps—we found the sweet spot. In-depth, the thermistor is located at the point where the temperature drop is realized first. This allows your 3D printer to quickly react by turning the heater back on to ensure constant temperature within the melt zone. What's more, you will not find any kapton tape holding it in place — but a roll pin that is press fit into the Pico's body.
- We took out the guesswork with calculated positioning of the 100K thermistor for consistent true temperature readings
- Internally-mounted thermistor with metal spring strain relief. No more messy kapton tape or cement.
- 1 percent tolerance
- Fully assembled 25in wire leads
Universal & Open Source
Power to the Maker!
The open source RepRap community has given us so much, and now it’s time we give back. Once Pico is on the market, all our work will be available for anyone to download and use however they please. Because when working together, we all move forward. And thanks to this diverse community there are numerous variations of 3D printers out there. So we designed mounts that will work with virtually any printer out there.
- Groovemount: Aluminum, M6 threaded for pico
- Groovemount for Bowden: Threaded for quick-disconnect fittings
- Flat plate mount: 0.190 inch thick laser-cut aluminum, 50mm spaced slots, frame structured for weight reduction
3D Printer Filament
Affordable polycarbonate Filament. LEXAN brand.
Multiple Colors. Enough Said.
If you’re not in the market for a new hot-end, you can still help out and receive amazing filament in return! As many of you know, the quality of filament greatly affects the finish of your 3D print. This is why we paired the best suppliers of 3D printer filament made in the USA with Pico. IC3D makes ABS filament exclusively for the 3D printing industry which results in a tight tolerance, contaminant free filament. And don’t forget the ONLY brand name LEXAN Polycarbonate filament available at the LOWEST price on the market. This is the ONLY polycarbonate available in five different colors!
- Available in 3mm and 1.75mm. ABS, PLA, and PC.
- Tolerance +/- 0.1mm
- Made in USA
What's in the box:
- Fully assembled and wired Pico hotend with 25in lead wires.
- Your choice of nozzle size: .35, .4, .5, or .6mm (if you would like additional nozzles add $8/ea )
- Your choice of mounting: Flat, Groove, or Groove for Bowden (if you need an aluminum groove mount plate add $8)
- 40mm fan for active cooling
- Instruction manual
*Nozzles, mounting, and filament bore selection are made via separate form throughout the campaign.
A special thank you.
- Cineres Productions; for their amazing video production
- Graviton Entertainment; for helping us launch this campaign
- IC3D; "the" 3D printer geniuses
- Friends & Family; for thinking we are crazy, but never letting us give up
- Beta Testers; for all their patience and honesty: RichRap, OhmEye, Joe Carr, Chris Padgett, IC3D
- The 3D Printer Experience
- Robo3D Inc.
- City & East Hookah Bar
Risks and challenges
Planning and execution is just as important as engineering. We have carefully selected all of the necessary suppliers and backup suppliers. We have received, tested, and approved every component required to make Pico and a complete production logistics schedule has been planned.
Scaling manufacturing from beta pieces to full production may have challenges. As lead times vary, especially with higher quantities, risks may be involved with meeting promised lead times and scheduling such as:
- A learning curve for new tools being used for quicker assembly
- Assembly machinery down time
- Depending on volume, we may need to recruit extra help which will require time-consuming training
Throughout the entire process you will receive updates from Day 1 to delivery!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Backers, please read this update for instructions on how to finalize your order:
We designed Pico to be as universal as possible through its mounting options and by its small compact design. Take a look at our mounting drawings and 3D model (STL) files on Thingiverse:
If you find that our mounting options will not work for your printer, by 1/08/2014 send us a drawing with dimensions to: firstname.lastname@example.org and for a small fee, we will custom laser cut your design out of sheet aluminum.
What's included when you order Pico (single or dual) with Groovemount for Bowden selected during webstore checkout?
- Bowden groovemount insert (the round part which will come threaded per your choice of 1/8 NPT, 5mm, 4mm or custom size). Please indicate your size in order notes. (You will get 2 of the groovemount inserts if you purchased the dual Pico option)
If your extruder does not need a groovemount plate, or you already have a groovemount plate, you will not need to purchase the groovemount plate from us.
If you do need a groovemount plate, you can either print one from ABS plastic at your expense, or for $8, purchase a laser cut aluminum groovemount plate from us. Our groovemount plate is for single extrude options only. You may send in custom drawings that we can laser cut for a small fee to support your custom mounting needs (i.e. dual extrude etc)
Soon after Kickstarter we will provide on our webstore, Teflon Bowden tubes and fittings for a complete Bowden setup for your Pico. Prices and specifics on those extras are yet to be determined.
You can view or print models to help you choose mounting options here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:204929
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