About this project
Finally, a 3D printer kit that anyone can build
I designed the Printrbot to be the simplest 3D printer yet. There are some great kits out there - the Makerbot, the Ultimaker, the Prusa Mendel, and others - but none as small and simple as the Printrbot. This all-in-one 3D printer kit can be assembled and printing in a couple of hours. Other kits will not only take you many more hours to build, they will also have hundreds more parts, and they will cost more. My design also does away with the finicky calibration and adjustment from which most 3D printers suffer. This is the printer a kid could put together. We assemble the electronics, we assemble the hotend, and we put the connectors on all the motors and components... no soldering required!
Quality design and quality parts
The Printrbot is my original design, but borrows from many great designers in the open source 3D printer world (check out reprap.org). This new printer incorporates some of the best practices out there. We use the latest electronics and firmware, linear bearings, smooth drill rod with tight tolerances, a lasercut print bed, the most popular extruder design, mechanical endstops, a manufactured PCB heated bed, a simple hotend with replacable tips, and it works with the latest open source software.
Video of the Printrbot:
More Info: printrbot.com
Authentic and Expandable
We could have (and will eventually) build this printer using all lasercut wood like Makerbot and others, or poured molded plastic, or even injection-molded plastic, but I believe in the original RepRap.org purpose: to build a self-replicating machine - one that anyone can build given time and materials. If you've got a RepRap - you can print lots of useful stuff, and you can print another RepRap for a friend. Printrbot is a true RepRap machine.
Being a true RepRap means you will immediately be able to upgrade and modify the machine with parts you print yourself. The design easily allows you to increase the print area, add stabilizers for rigidity, replace the threaded rods with plastic parts.... that is the beauty or RepRap! Also worth mentioning is the fact that all the electronics and hardware could easily be repurposed to power a completely different model of RepRap.
We need your support to scale production
Anyone can research and build one of the larger 3D printers, but it WILL be time consuming, complex, confusing, difficult for beginners and expensive. We have brought 3D printer kits down to the beginner level and a better price point simultaneously. How?! Well, that's where you come in. The only way to produce assembled, cutting edge electronics is to order a lot of them. The same logic applies to all the parts. We need your support to scale production.
The goal: a printer in every home (and school)
This kickstarter will do more than fund a single project. This project will launch a business in pursuit of the dream of "a printer in every home". We have reduced the complexity of these printers, but will soon focus solely on pushing the price of these printers to the absolute lowest sustainable retail price for kits and fully assembled printers.
Please, help us change the world. Every little bit helps.
Thank you for your support!
Advanced degrees in Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering are super-cool, of course, but they are NOT required in order for a person to get a printrbot up and running correctly. Really!
Calibration is a multi-step process.
FIRMWARE (the software that lives on the electronics)
We will dial in the firmware to the best of our ability to be sure all the machines specifications are correctly defined in the electronics. We do this for you.
HARDWARE (the printer)
Then you put the machine together, taking care to be sure the machine is sitting flat, that the heated print bed is perfectly flat. The later is done with 4 screws on the four corners. You will also need to make sure the 2 z-axis bars are perfectly parallel to each other - you do this with a simple ruler. You can adjust the angle of the Z-axis by adjusting the bottom two nuts on one side of the bottom two threaded rods. You can also adjust the x-bars. They need to be perfectly parallel to the heated print bed. Lastly, you will need to adjust the location of the endstop for the Z-axis so you correctly set the print head (the hotend) to almost kiss the surface of the heated print bed.
Although this isn't really calibration in the purest sense, you can adjust the settings in the software on your computer to fine-tune the results. This step will be the one that many will need to ease into.
The results can be amazing if you take your time and get all of these right!
1 pound of plastic is included in the $499, $750 & $999 kits. It is available at various shops online, but we will be carrying it for about $13/pound at printrbot.com
I missed out on the kickstarter! How can I find out when the Printrbot store is open and when can I order one??
Keep up with all the latest and the store opening--join our mailing list on http://printrbot.com!
USB cable. With 3D printing software on a computer, printrbot is "plug-n-play."
If you want to start the print, then unplug and use your computer elsewhere while the print finishes, you can upload a file to the microSD card and tell it to print from the SD card.
Any software which correctly saves files in .stl format can be used for DESIGN of print objects. Files in this format can then be opened and printed in a user's program of choice for printrbot. Our recommendation of ReplicatorG is not because it's the only program or something we've developed. It's reliable and pretty easy to use (especially for newbies). Like most things in the RepRap world, it's out there free for people to use.
Innovations will certainly be coming, so users are encouraged to learn more on their own about the "open source" culture (a welcoming, cooperative, encouraging people-group, by and large) and keep on the look out for new and better ways to do things, too.
Here are some additional notes on PRINTING with printrbot:
Personally, I tried repsnapper and wasn't a big fan, but it did work. Then I tried Pronterface, and it worked well, but I had a tough time getting it installed on my Mac (Lion), so I used it with Linux. Pronterface is much easier on Windows, btw. All that is pretty geeky, so a talented kid - Caleb Cotter (14 years old-- one of the members of our development team) - fixed the hotend manual control issues people were having with ReplicatorG ... so then he made a custom XML profile for the Printrbot. We have guys running Windows, Mac, and Linux. It all works. Forgive the inside-baseball talk ... if you haven't done this before, ReplicatorG is probably the best bet.
ABS and PLA plastics in 3mm strands (1.75mm will also be available after kickstarter units are completed and delivered) for printrbot printing (see http://reprap.org/wiki/Printing_Material_Suppliers for more information). We look forward to adapting and providing accessory and upgrade equipment for new plastics as well (esp. recycled, household waste plastics-- current efforts are not perfected but very promising).
ABS can be sanded and smoothed. Also, a little acetone (fingernail polish remover) can actually smooth things out a bit. Acetone will fully dissolve ABS if a part is dropped into it, so use sparingly. It also gives it a little sheen.
Some makers connect parts with hot glue, but acetone can also be used as a permanent bonding agent for multi-piece builds.
Like any sanded, plastic piece, results vary with user patience and practice. The basic process is to sand lightly, clean the object well with soapy water, prime it properly, clean it again, then paint it and let it dry really well. The results can be terrible or spectacular depending on the care taken in the process.
The great thing is that replacement pieces can be printed out again on the spot when the after-print shaping process doesn't turn out as desired.
Here's our latest information on international shipping--
Those with assembled (the $750 & $999 rewards)--you will receive a message with details for international shipping costs. Thank you!
REWARD + SHIPPING = NEW INTERNATIONAL REWARD
$75 + $14 = $89 (printed parts only-no hardware)
$199 + $32 =$ 231 (bare bones kit)
$424 + $45 = $469 ("rep-rappers" kit--no printed parts)
$499 + $45 = $544 (full printrbot kit)
$649 + $45 = $694 (full printrbot+(plus) kit)
If you are an international backer -- PLEASE MOVE TO THE THE NEW REWARD AMOUNT TO COVER YOUR SHIPPING. (post about shipping is in latest update #9)
(PLEASE NOTE: Each country may also have various taxes or customs fees that are the sole responsibility of the recipient.)
UPDATE 11/26: We are using USPS flat rate boxes. The weight is 13 pounds ... we are estimating an additional $50, but will handle this with each individual when we get the addresses.
Obviously each country may have slight variations in price, but for the $499 kit I plan on using a USPS Medium or Large Flat rate box to keep the price as low as possible. (shipping from zip code 95648 in Lincoln, CA if you want to check http://USPS.com for an estimate) I will also credit the international recipients my cost for the US Shipments (approx $15). Each country may also have various taxes or customs fees that are the sole responsibility of the recipient.
The LC files will be released when the first LC kits ship.
NEW INFO 3-5-12: What about paying the international shipping if you forgot to add it on the kickstarter?
We now have the payment buttons READY on http://printrbot.com to pay for the international shipping (if you missed it on kickstarter) as well as a button to pay for the upgrade kits. Thank you so much for your patience and support!
What kind of layer thickness and resolution should I expect (while I'm practicing and improving my skills as a 3D'er)?
The layers can be as small as .1mm the width of a single-walled object can be .4mm ... It's all pretty impressive, but I am not claiming that it will be the resolution or speed king! Just a great little 'bot for your desk.
The tornado print by Brian Roe (found in a blog posting at http://printrbot.com) is at a layer height of .28 but he is printing as .21 now. He says it is slower at these layer heights. Basically, any resolution a Prusa can do, the Printrbot can do. Example here: http://http://printrbot.com/home/2011/11/17/printrbot-awesome-resolution-print.html
t is roughly 5 x 5 x 5 inches. The hotbed is 6 x 6. With a few bucks you could buy just 2 longer smooth rods extend the z-axis. I WILL sell an inexpensive kits to upgrade x, y, and Z to 8 x 8 x 8 and 12 x 12 x 12.
None of these add-ons and upgrades will take priority over completing quality production and timely delivery of the kickstarter project rewards. The printrbot web-store will open soon, but meeting or exceeding kickstarter backer expectations is our focus.
It is a brand new board based on the Teensylu. Basically, its a surface mount version of the Sanguinololu with the drivers right on the board. It is also designed from the ground up to work with 19V laptop power supplies - we added a switch to handle the voltage (110 & 220 [220v-240v range for international users]). I am sure my electronic engineer can speak more eloquently about it. Again, reducing manufacturing cost is the key -- I will order a bunch of them. BTW - made in the USA if all works out well!
We have tested with ATX (the pictures show a tiny one I found at Fry's) and Laptop drives, but I HATE the ATX power supplies, so we designed the board to work with 19V laptop power supplies. We will hand select a high quality power source to be sure they perform well. Quite frankly, I just wanted a really small form factor that didn't get in the way. The people with the beta units all use ATX power supplies and they look terrible!
Printrbot backers will get the most sleek, dependable, state-of-the-art system which is built to operate on 110v and 220v current. Our understanding is that this 220-rating is suitable for voltage ranges of 220v-240v.
All of our electronics come already soldered- no soldering required. It's truly a beginner kit. we realize the DIY guys may be bummed out by this, but there are other electronics out there better suited for the eager-to-solder crowd.
What comes with the $75 reward? Should I pledge for that and get my own parts or go for a complete printrbot kit?
The $75 reward is only plastic parts. You will need to add motors, electronics, smooth rods, threaded rods, nuts, bolts, etc... you may be able to shop around and build it cheaper than the $499 kit, but it will take time to source it all. Totally doable, though.
We are using a readily-available, common laptop power supply (UL listed) that auto switches between 110 and 220. The electronics can actually operate within a range of DC voltage. Most RepRaps typically run on 12V with an ATX power supply ... and that would work, but I hate how big and bulky they are, so we are going with smaller (and better).
Adrian Bowyer was nice enough to clear this question up for all of us, so I have adjusted my answer to exactly what he wrote to me:
"The GPL requires one to release sources with a product, not before.
So I think it's fine for Brook to release his designs when he ships
his first machines."