About this project
Update: We reached our stretch goal! Please check our updates tab for more information.
We are Blue Eagle Labs and we are HUGE fans of 3D printers. For the past 6 months, we have been working on our rendition of the delta printer, the Kossel Clear. The Kossel Clear will be a popular, viable, and mainstream delta printer alternative for 3D printer fans. We have designed our printer with the first-time builder in mind. Blue Eagle Labs will be there to support you as you begin your 3D printer journey!
The Kossel Clear offers the following main advantages:
- Complete Build Documentation: For the 1st time builder, making your own delta 3D printer might seem to be a daunting task due to the vast amount of information that needs to be gathered. For the Kossel Clear, we have corralled and condensed the entire build instruction in easy to understand and easy to follow instructional HD videos which will be posted on our website and Youtube channel as soon as we get funded. We will also include standard build photo documentation in each Kossel Clear unit.
- Simplified Build: We've taken steps to ensure an easy, sensible, and systematic build. All acrylic parts are numbered from bottom to top, and are easily referenced in the instructional videos. No ruler or measuring tape will be needed, no parts need to be hand cut. As long as all the parts lay flush on each other, the build will be precise. Furthermore, we've tested our printer's build process with a group of first time 3D printer builders. We used their feedback to make the Kossel Clear as easy to build as possible.
- Affordable: Cost is a huge factor. We believe that to make delta 3D printers more popular, it needs to be affordable as well. To keep costs low, we:
1. Use as many readily-available, off-the-shelf parts as possible.
2. Manufacture as many in-house parts as possible – we have a small manufacturing setup that consists of CNC mill, CNC lathe, CNC router, laser engraver/cutter, and an injection molding machine for the purpose of domestic manufacturing and R&D.
3. Source electronics and other specialized parts directly from the factory – Cut the middleman! Let’s go directly to the factories! – This is where you come in. We need your help, Kickstarter, to garner maximum benefit from volume discounts.
About the Kossel Clear
Our Kossel Clear is a delta type 3D printer that uses 3 stepper motors to control the kinematically linked effector for movement in the x,y,z axis. Deltas are known for faster and smoother movement over large print volumes. The heat bed is fixed, minimizing the printer's footprint, while allowing tall print jobs.
Auto Calibration: Thanks to Johann Rocholl's auto calibration routine, builders will now have a lot less on their minds. The auto calibration routine can be set to calibrate before any print job is started. This function will allow you to take the printer with you to your next build session, across town or to a DIY meetup, and still know that it will print flatly on the bed every time!
Acrylic Parts: Acrylic offers the best combination of aesthetics, 'manufacturability', and cost. It is the perfect material for our expected demand. Unlike wood, acrylic is less prone to thermal expansion, impervious to water vapor (which causes wood to expand/distort), is 16 times stronger than glass, has a very elegant finish, and is affordable. We have numbered all these parts for ease of assembly.
- Acrylic Rods/Arms: Measure twice, cut once? How about neither! We do not want builders to have to manually cut the lengths of arms/rods that hold the effector. Many things can go wrong – arms cut to different lengths; arms bent or forced to fit, etc. Who knows what builders would/could do? By introducing a pre-cut, fixed-hole design, builders would just have to screw and tighten.
- Aluminum Rods/Arms: We are also offering an aluminum version of the rods and arms. Same dimensions, more rigid, more awesome!
- Acrylic Sliders: We are very proud of this acrylic slider design. Our objective here was to use the acrylic itself as a spring to keep the v-groove rollers pinching the extrusions. The ball joints directly mount on to the acrylic, and we integrated the calibration adjustment screw into the slider itself.
Aluminum Extrusions: We love these aluminum extrusions. We had contemplated designing an all acrylic build, but decided that aluminum horizontal extrusions, while more costly, would provide the user with maximum benefit. It makes the overall structure more durable, and it increases the printer’s overall appeal. Adding an extra fan or mounting an LCD upgrade is very easy – no need to drill holes! These extrusions will allow you to slide standard M3 nuts, which would come in very handy when adding physical attachments to your printer, such as extra lights, fans, etc. We will pre-tap all vertical extrusions for your convenience.
Extruder: The bowden design extruder allows the effector to be lighter, reducing the load on the steppers.
GT2 Timing Belts and Pulleys: We initially used fishing lines in earlier prototypes of the Kossel Clear, but decided that GT2 timing belts, although more costly, would be much easier to install. Screw in the pulley, tighten the belts, and you’re all set! These belts give your printer a more professional look – no tangles, no knots!
Electronics: We have decided to use the popular RAMPS printer shield and an Arduino Mega 2560 as the brains of our printer. The PLA only printer will be powered by a 12v 5amp AC adapter, while the ABS upgrade will have a power supply capable of 12 volts, 360 watt with a 110/220 volt input selector. The stepper motors are beefy Kysan nema 17s rated at 5.5 Kg/cm. The LCD screen upgrade will be plug and play.
We have several upgrade options available to make your Kossel Clear even more special:
All upgrades will be shipped with your kits, or installed with your assembled units. Here's more information about each upgrade:
LCD and Card Reader Upgrade: This upgrade will allow you to print without a connected computer. The LCD will display important printing information such as temperatures and print status. It will enable you to do simple commands, and will allow you to control the print speed real-time.
Aluminum Arms Upgrade: Mostly an aesthetic upgrade, but does provide added rigidity to the arms of the effector.
OpenBeam Extrusions Upgrade: This upgrade will replace our regular aluminum extrusions with the popular OpenBeam system. The black anodized surface of the OpenBeam extrusions will make the acrylic in the Kossel Clear pop out, and your Kossel Clear will surely be the center of attraction!
- Design - Use sketchup, slicer, blender, solidworks, etc. to model your part and export it to an STL file.
- Slice - Import your file to your favorite slicer, and generate the G-code
- Prep - Load the G-code onto the printer via SD card, or load it on pronterface; preheat the bed
- Print - The autocalibration routine will commence, and then it will start printing your part
- Enjoy - Wait for the bed to cool down, and enjoy your part!
Blue Eagle Labs is a startup among friends. We come from different backgrounds/experiences - machinist and entrepreneur, mba and finance, IT and tech support - but we all share the same passion for 3D printing!
We are fully committed to the DIY 3D printer market. We aspire to be a community oriented 3d printer and robotics company for all enthusiasts. Kossel Clear is the first of a long list of projects we like to pursue. We look forward to designing our own pcb, manufacturing our own hot ends, and setting up a small scale domestic manufacturing facility.
Thanks and Acknowledgement
While we put a lot of thought and effort into the Kossel Clear's design, we could not have done it without standing on the shoulders of giants. Specifically, we would like to thank:
- Johann Rocholl, for opening the doors to the delta style 3D printer
- John Driggers
- The RepRap project
- Tux-Labs (http://www.tux-lab.com/)
- OCGT (http://www.meetup.com/OC-Garage-Tinkerers/)
- OpenBeam (http://openbeamusa.com/)
- Most of all, we would like to thank everyone in the delta printer forums – it’s a great community full of helpful and intelligent enthusiasts! (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/deltabot)
Risks and challenges
While we've made the Kossel Clear as easy and simple to build as possible, building a 3D printer is no small task. As such, we would like to make you aware of some of the potential obstacles involved in this Kickstarter project:
Not everyone has the same aptitude when it comes to putting things together. This is why we are providing a series of step-by-step tutorial videos as well as an instruction booklet (for those who prefer paper) that will be accessible to builders of all levels.
Shipping delays could cause our schedule to be thrown off. Besides sourcing most parts domestically, we have scheduled around conservative lead times, and we will be using reliable carriers for our shipments. All the time sensitive materials that need to be imported from abroad will fly in by air.
We will absorb the risk of defective parts in the event that your Kossel Clear is shipped with manufacturing defects. Defects caused by improper use, maintenance, or assembly are not covered.
Backers from outside the U.S. might have to pay duties, taxes, and customs clearance fees in addition to international shipping costs.
We have received many requests to see our printers in person. As much as we want to accommodate everyone, it's not possible at this time without severely interrupting our operations/preparations for our Kickstarter campaign. We hope you understand.
We will, however, be setting up a very humble booth at the Orange County Mini Maker Faire on August 17. If you will be in the area, come and check us out!
The Kossel Clear can print with PLA and ABS, but a heat bed is required in order to print with ABS. In addition to that, it should be able to print with nylon, laywood and flexible filament as well (although we haven't tested beyond PLA and ABS yet)
The ABS kit/unit can print with both PLA and ABS filament.
Yes, we plan to make it open source after all our Kickstarter pledges have been fulfilled.
We are still testing filament quality with our supplier, but so far we have red and black for ABS, black and white for PLA. We will let our backers know the final list of available colors before the campaign ends. Our goal is not to offer as many colors as possible, but rather to use the filament that is easiest to print with.
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