This project's funding goal was not reached on April 21, 2013.
About this project
3D printing is supposed to be a fun and creative experience, so we set out to make a printer that lives up to what 3D printing could be. This is our solution, the EZ3D Printer: a colorful printer that invites users to explore, create, and enjoy the world of 3D printing like never before.
Sure, our printer is fun and easy for beginners, but it also has a serious side for the seasoned 3D printer. Our printer has been designed from the ground-up to be a workhorse. Heavy-duty parts assure that this printer can print day in and out. Fully assembled printers also come with a 1 year warranty on parts and labor (excluding shipping), so you can be assured that we will be there even if something goes wrong.
With your help, we can bring this experience to users everywhere!
Not interested in pledging for a whole 3D printer? Don't worry! You can still support us. We have "gizmos" that start at $10 all the way up to $250! Also check our updates for test prints and more!
Our printer has some truly unique features that set it apart from other printers.
The No-Screw Z-Axis
Many 3D printers use a screw-like mechanism to drive their Z-axis. We've found that a screw can introduce some defects in a print. Since screws aren't perfectly round, as the Z-axis moves, the extruder head can become incorrectly positioned. This can cause the edges of your print to become uneven.
Instead of using a screw, we've developed a counterweight pulley system which uses stepper motors to move the print head up and down. The counterweights reduce wear and tear on the motors and ensures the print head does not fall in case of a power failure. By eliminating the screw Z-axis, the "walls" or "edges" of your prints will be straighter.
Dual Temperature Monitoring
As we all know, heat travels up. And if the heat from the extruder reaches your filament too soon, it can soften the filament before it reaches the extruder, causing it to bend and morph before it can be extruded successfully, jamming your printer. By cooling off the filament before it gets too hot, we can prevent these jams.
Heavy Duty Everything!
All of the rods, bearings (even the plastic parts) have been designed with durability in mind. This printer is a workhorse.
If funding is successful, our STL files will be made available to the public for anyone to build their own EZ3D printer!
Want to see more pictures of the printer?
Great! We have a gallery right over here.
How it Prints
A common 3D model is a bust of Yoda. Here is a timelapsed video of our printer making the Yoda:
Our very first prototype has been through quite a journey. Countless upgrades, disassembly, reassembly, and test after test. It looks rough around the edges, but at its heart is our printer in its final form. This video shows the prototype printing a part for the mainstream printer we'll be launching here on Kickstarter.
All of our gizmos are also printed on our 3D printer! You can see some examples by checking out our different gizmo reward levels:
- Build Size: X-axis: 200mm Y-axis: 210mm Z-axis: 220mm (X-axis: 8" Y-axis: 8" Z-axis: 9")
- 12-volt, 40-watt Extruder heater
- .35mm Brass Nozzle
- Heated Build Platform
- 12-volt, 20-amp, 240-watt power supply
- Hi-temp glass cover for Build Platform
- Temperature Sensors: Two thermocouple sensors on extruder and Thermistor on build platform
- 1.75mm ABS Filament recommended. Printer does not support 3mm filament.
- RAMBO electronics with proprietary firmware. Can be re-flashed to support any standard open source firmware that supports the RAMBO configuration.
A great printer deserves great software to run it. Our groundbreaking software takes the printing experience to a whole new level.
Failed Print? No problem!
3D prints are subject to failure for a variety of reasons. When a paper-based printer has a paper jam it is typically not a big issue, right? Simply clear the jam and restart at the failed page. Doing that with a 3D printer has not been that easy until now. Our unique playback control works just like an old tape recorder. When a print fails, you can simply rewind the print until the point of failure is reached. At that point, you can resume forward playback of the print. Voila! Problem solved. We aren’t claiming that all failed prints are salvageable, but many of them can be if the misstep is caught quickly enough.
Parts can be imported from standard Stereo Trans-Lithography (STL) files. Additionally, compatible G-code can be automatically imported and paired with their respective STL files. Each part can be assigned default printing specifications and filament. You can incorporate detailed notes and printing instructions as well.
For years we’ve all used queuing when printing documents to a printer. We have brought that same basic capability to our program. You can queue individual parts, assemblies or projects. All of the standard print queue capabilities are there: assigning priorities to items in the queue to allow critical prints to complete first, and holding, canceling, and changing entries on-the-fly.
Micro-adjustments to print parameters can be made at any time during the print cycle. Is the left side of the X-axis riding just a bit high? No problem, click the button to adjust it. You can also adjust print speeds and temperatures on-the-fly.
There are even more features!
Yes there are! You can take a look over here.
The software will be released using the Mono Framework, which will allow it to run on any major operating system.
We plan on fulfilling our Kickstarter backer rewards in two distinct phases:
- Production printer fleet building
- Reward fulfillment
Because everything we are offering is 3D printed, we first need to make sure we have enough 3D printing capacity to quickly fulfill the orders. We will do this by first building a fleet of printers, which can then be tasked with printing additional fleet printers. We estimate that we can print one printer per week per printer. Once we have our second printer built, we can then produce two printers that week, then four, then eight, and so on. We want to build enough printers so that we can fulfill all rewards by the end of the year, and ideally finish printing all of our "fleet printers" by the end of May.
Once we have enough capacity to quickly fulfill the pledge rewards, we'll begin printing the components needed to fulfill pledges. Half of our production printers will be devoted to printing printer parts, and the other half will be devoted to printing "gizmos." As parts and printers are completed, they will be shipped to their respective backers!
Find us on Facebook / Twitter!
You can find us on Twitter @ez3dprinter, or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ez3dprinter
Risks and challenges
Before we can begin producing the printers, we will be running some final tests on the firmware and electronics. Depending on the results of the tests, some additional development time may be needed to fix any last-minute bugs. But, we have over 30 years of development experience to get the software and firmware finalized quickly before production begins.
There are two major risks for production itself: our printers failing when printing out "gizmos" and printers, and delays receiving orders from suppliers. We obviously do not build the electronic components ourselves (e.g. stepper motors, control boards, etc.), and any delays from a supplier may cause a delay in our production schedule. Fortunately, there are multiple sources for these common components, and we can switch suppliers should one fall through or should shipping be delayed.
Our own printers failing is an easier obstacle to overcome. Our printers were designed to solve the 3D printing reliability problem, so we anticipate a much higher rate of successful prints than with other 3D printers. In addition, not only will we have other printers available to pick up the slack for a down printer, but we are intimately familiar with our own printer design, and have a stockpile of extra components. With these two fallbacks, we should be able to correct problems quickly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes. You will receive both assembly instructions and a list of the electronics/hardware needed to complete the printer.
The software will be closed-source, but will be available for a free download for anyone to use. Our custom firmware is currently based on Marlin, which is released under the GPL, and as such our source modifications will be made available. The original Python Skeinforge will also be included in version 1 of our software, which is licensed under the AGPL. We have not made any modifications to it, it's simply included as a slicing tool you can use with our program. (Ultimately, we want to have multiple slicing tools you can choose from)
All do-it-yourself builders will need the basics: screwdrivers, soldering irons, solder, a heat gun is useful for shrink wrapping wires, etc. However, our printer also has a custom metal parts for the extruder. Metal is not plastic, so as it stands right now, you'll need to find your own source for getting the metal pieces made (or purchase the brass material, cutting tools, and lathe machine for the true do-it-yourself experience).
Depending on what suppliers you can find, the hardware and electronics will likely cost you anywhere between $600 and $700.
- (37 days)