About this project
Missed the Kickstarter? You can still get a Phoenix! Visit our web site at www.phoenix3dprinter.com.
Some of our updates are important! Here is a list of the updates new backers should read:
- Dual Extruders!
- Video Demonstration: Object Library
- Video Demonstration: Print Recovery Mode
- Video Tutorial: Starting a Print
- A Sample Tutorial Video on Importing Parts to the Ez3D Software
- Announcing the First Stretch Goal!
"What makes your 3D printer so different than everyone else's?"
At the San Mateo MakerFaire, virtually everyone we spoke to asked us this question. With so many printer models to choose from, we were glad to see consumers becoming better educated about their options in the ever-growing 3D printing market.
So what makes our printer different?
It's the software.
Our software makes 3D printing easier. It helps you manage your filament, grouping your STL files into logical groups, and a unique feature: print recovery mode. 3D printers are still susceptible to many flaws, including filament tangles and nozzle jams. Should something go wrong in the middle of your 12 hour print, you used to have to throw it in the trash and start over. With our software, we allow you to pause the print, fix your tangled filament or clogged nozzle, rewind the print to the point of failure, and try again. Our software also works directly with our iOS mobile app (Android version forthcoming).
The Z Axis
Most traditional 3D printers use threaded rods to drive their Z axis up and down. This has a few drawbacks. For one, it's very slow to move the build platform into position. Secondly, screws can be manufactured imperfectly, causing a pattern to be ingrained into your print. By eliminating the screw, and using a belt instead, our printer produces perfect walls and edges, and no wobble pattern can be seen.
Our extruder is designed to help prevent heat from traveling up the filament. Heat that travels up the filament can cause the filament to "soften," which makes it less effective at pushing filament out of your extruder's nozzle.
Yes, we have a one year on parts and labor. The only thing it doesn’t cover is shipping the printer to us.
This spider house was printed using gray ABS and made up to look cool.
We think the torture test above turned out very well, even when printed with the "low quality" profile!
- Build Area: 240 x 215 x 200 millimeters
- Resolution: 0.1mm all around
- 12-volt, 40-watt heater 0.35mm brass nozzle
- Accepts 1.75mm filament
- Heated build platform, which means you can print with ABS!
- 12-volt, 20-amp, 240-watt power supply
- Integrated filament spool holder. No need to buy special or proprietary cartridges!
- Adjustable Z-axis cutoff switch for reliable print starts
More About the Software
The more complicated your object, the more STL files you need to keep track of. By allowing you to group your STL files into “assemblies” and “projects,” you can keep better track of what you need to print.
Print Recovery Mode
Did your filament tangle 70% of the way through your print? No worries, you can fix your filament, rewind your print, and try again. No other printer provides you with this flexibility.
Monitor your print progress or check estimated time remaining from your iPhone or iPad. An Android version is in the works!
Integrated Diagnostic Tools
We’ve rolled a variety of tools into the software to exercise each axis, print test patterns, Z-axis calibration, nozzle flush, etc.
We have marked March 2014 as the delivery date for assembled 3D printers. However, most printer pledges should be received before that. We've explained our overall timeline here for you to get an understanding of how we see things happening.
- Kickstarter ends October 11
- It takes 2 weeks for us to receive the money from Kickstarter. This means we should be able to place orders on October 25.
- We expect it can take about 6 weeks to receive some of the raw materials in bulk. That puts our "start building" time at December 6.
This means we can fulfill our 25 early bird backers by the end of December. Beyond that, we will be able to produce 3 printers per day per person we have to build printers. We can use the 8 weeks of "order time" to find personnel to start building printers.
What this means for people who cannot back at the early bird level: you may still get your printer in December or early January! If you are the first person to pledge to the $399 level, then your printer will be built first after the "early bird" printers, and shipped as soon as it's completed.
In summary, we will ship printers as they are completed. There is no artificial delay to ship all printers in March 2014, but we will scale up to make sure that all demand is met by this time.
Our plastics production plan fully depends on the success of our campaign. We have three tiers of success:
- 3D printing
- Plastic resin casting
- Injection molding
The first "tier" of success is 3D printing our printers. The entire printer takes less than 24 hours to print. As such, it will be very easy for us to scale up our printing capacity to match the amount of human assembly time available to us. With a team of three people creating three printers per day, we would only need 9 printers to maximize our human labor time. (In other words, it would take us 9 days, upon arrival of all the raw materials, to scale up to maximum production given our current team).
Plastic Resin Casting
Eventually, 3D printing our printers doesn’t scale. At this level, we would likely need to hire additional help to assemble printers. Plastic resin casting is an exciting middle ground between the upfront tooling cost of injection molding and the speed of injection molding. We would first create molds for the various printer components. We would need to print as many molds as we have labor to assemble printers. This may take us a week or two to finalize. Once the molds are created, parts set up in 24 hours. The only difference is molds are much cheaper to make than printers, allowing us to hire more people to build printers faster.
We are currently in the middle of exploring injection molding, and have spoken to a few vendors about tooling costs. Unfortunately, because the printer consists of several unique parts (over 30), the tooling costs of injection molding are quite high. Injection molding is certainly a goal we are striving for, and if the campaign is successful enough that we can afford injection molding, we will certainly pursue it.
Assembly and Testing
It currently takes us approximately 3 hours to build one printer and test it. As we grow and become more efficient, we believe this number could be cut even further. With our core team of three people working 8 (or 9) hours per day, we could produce 9 printers per day, or 180 printers per month. Obviously, if our campaign is successful, we're incredibly excited about the possibility of hiring more people to build printers.
A vast majority of the non-plastic parts are acquired and used as-is, which leaves very little for us to do.
Electronics and Hardware
We have a specialist lined up who is going to be able to connect us to efficiently priced electronics manufacturing. This is the key component to our pricing model. Because we are using a readily available open source hardware component, the RAMPS card, we foresee no problems acquiring the card in bulk.
Overall Hardware Timeline
It takes approximately 2 weeks for Kickstarter funds to be distributed to us once the campaign ends. After that, we predict it will take 6-8 weeks for us to receive all the materials needed to begin building printers by either 3D printing or plastic resin molding. After that, each individual printer can be put together in an hour or two. As always, though, the timeline may change depending on demand for the printer. We'll keep you up-to-date through the whole process!
The software is almost “complete,” though no piece of software is ever complete. We plan on releasing regular updates to add new features, fix bugs, etcetera. The last major functionality we need to create is an installation tool. Once that’s complete, we’ll be ready to distribute it!
You may have noticed that shipping is not included in our pledge amounts. This is because the cost of shipping the printer can vary quite drastically, even within the United States. Almost everywhere in the lower 48 states will cost $50 or less to ship to. You can get an exact quote here. When we're ready to ship your printer, we'll contact you to collect your shipping information and payment.
If you don't want a 3D printer, but still want to support our efforts to make 3D printing easier for the masses, you can pledge for a T-shirt! Here is the design we have in mind:
If you made it this far, congratulations! We've come a long way since our first prototypes, and an even further way since our first 3D printer model.
Remember, Kickstarter is all or nothing, so in order to bring this low-cost printer to market, we need your help. Thank you, and we’re looking forward to having you on this journey with us!
Risks and challenges
We have already shipped a previous 3D printer model to customers. As a result of this, we are very conscious of the delays and problems that have come from "do it yourself manufacturing." We made some mistakes in the production process of our last model, but we have learned from them! We foresee the largest risk as being "too successful," and the delays associated with injection molding over printing or resin pouring. Ask our current customers: delays are communicated clearly and transparently on a regular basis.
Our software is also virtually complete. As always, though, there may be risks in getting the software successfully deployed on every machine that attempts to download it. Our team has two software engineers with nearly 40 years of combined development experience, and we're confident we can tackle any software issues that may come up after the campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As of this moment, it only runs on Windows. We are currently working on two solutions to bring it to the Mac: a native application, as well as making our Windows codebase work with the Mono Framework as a holdover until a native app can be written.
They won't necessarily. Kits are going to start being built as soon as the documentation and video tutorials on assembling the printers are complete. Until those are complete, everything is being assembled and shipped first-come, first-serve.
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