Share this project


Share this project

A $99 consumer 3D printer with WiFi, USB, mobile support, auto bed leveling, & optional laser! Built by a proven and experienced team!
A $99 consumer 3D printer with WiFi, USB, mobile support, auto bed leveling, & optional laser! Built by a proven and experienced team!
3,213 backers pledged $771,191 to help bring this project to life.

PVT Update, PVT Changes, Bounty Update, Expansion Specs

Posted by Robotic Industries LLC (Creator)

PVT Update

The production of various parts for PVT (meaning Product Validation Test - or making a small number of printers first to test all the production processes and the final product) is under way, but still in progress. 

We are currently dealing with some corrections to the injection molded parts and testing out some alternative suppliers for the 3D printed parts. We are also looking at whether some of those 3D printed parts can be quickly switched to injection molding - because overall the injection molding has been easier to lock down both in quality and timeline. Injection molding a part has a huge upfront tooling cost, but that is something we can afford for at least a few more parts especially if it means we have those parts when we need them.

We are also waiting on several final parts from suppliers - this includes the Laser module itself for the laser upgrade and the extruder mechanisms - these are both off the shelf components, so we can go to a different vendor if we need to.

PVT is taking longer then we hoped, but the purpose of PVT is to get all the ducks in a row - so we expected there could be delays here. 

PVT Changes

PVT is about testing the whole product including the production of the product in as near as possible to final form and process. That means that a successful PVT will also have failures and improvements.

Here are some changes that have emerged from PVT so far:

PCB Heating -  While we are still working through production of some of the electronics, main board prototypes were tested and showed too much heating especially when subjected to ambient temperatures like they would see inside the full enclosure. We've made some changes to reduce the heat generated by the voltage regulators - switching from linear to switching regulators for the 5V supplies - and we've added a temperature sensor to the PCB itself which can be used to control the enclosure fan to ensure the enclosure doesn't exceed safe limits for the electronics, motors, and plastic.

Plastics Durability - The acrylic structure of the BuildOne and ABS parts remain the main plan - and the temp sensor mentioned above can be used to ensure that full enclosure models stay warm enough to keep the prints looking good without causing any issues with warping the plastic parts or overheating the electronics. However, we are, at the recommendation of our plastic supplier testing Polypropylene in place of both the ABS parts and the Acrylic sheet - if this proves to be a better choice we will consider it as long as it doesn't contribute to any additional delay. Polypropylene can be injection molded into the same molds and comes in sheet form that can be cut just like Acrylic - but it has a much higher temperature resistance for about the same price.

Current Setting - As part of the testing process the electronics factory was being asked to set the current settings for the stepper motor drivers - this is done by a little screw on each stepper driver board. That wasn't very practical and was time consuming and prone to error - and getting one set wrong would be very frustrating for a beginner - because it would not be obvious that was the issue and the effects could be bad print quality. We are solving this by taking a page from the MiniRAMBO 3D printer board design and allowing the main controller to control the current in the stepper drivers - so the firmware will set the current settings, no need for workers with little screw drivers to get it just right. Additionally at the same time, we've moved the micro-stepping settings into firmware control as well. You will still be able to substitute in your own standard driver boards - but our driver boards it ships with will use three extra pins for the current control feature.

Bounty Update

Two of the bounties have now been completed by one of our backers - Stephen (@the-real-orca) - this means that when the BuildOne ships the WiFi module in it will be updated to the latest firmware whenever you update the main firmware, no extra work required - and both the WiFi and USB modes for printing can be used without having to change firmwares or even flip a switch. Thanks Stephen!

Want to help us with some code? Check out the bounties here:

Expansion Specs

While still subject to changes, they are very unlikely at this point and we know that a few people have been waiting to know what the expansion header on the main board will look like - here it is:

 A few notes for those interested in building expansions - this will be a right angle 40 pin (2x20) male connector on the side of the main board. Most pins are self explanatory and labeled as either the Port and Pin number from the MEGA2560 MCU or the Voltage they provide - here are some notes about the rest just to get folks started:

  • LASERGND - Connected to the Laser's mosfet - can be used for a second hotend or similar load (~3.5A max)
  • LED2 - is connected to the output of the WS2812B LED on board, for chaining more LEDS on.
  • BED - the logic level signal for the bed heater.
  • RESET - The RESET line for the MEGA2560 - we use this in the factory to program the boards.
  • HOTEND2 - Logic level pin the Marlin sees as a second hotend heater.
  • PB1-3 - There are also the SPI pins.
  • X-MIN, Y-MIN, Z-MAX - The BuildOne uses X-MAX, Y-MAX, and Z-MIN so these pins are brought out in case they are needed for customizations.
  • THERM3 - Marlin sees this as a 4th Thermistor input - no electronics for it on the main board.
  • SDA, SCL - I2C bus to the MEGA2560, already pulled up to 5V
  • GPIOs - these are connected to the ESP8266 module on board and correspond to its pins.
  • RES - This is the RESET line for the ESP8266 module.

That's all for tonight.

We will continue to keep everyone updated as we work through the PVT. Thank you all for your support.

Ken King, Craig Baker, and 94 more people like this update.


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Kevin Long on

      I am tuning in after a few months to see what is happening. I agree with the posts being a new 3D printer user. I will not tweak and make this a time consuming hobby. I just want a tool. So Eric - do what you have to do and take the time needed. Stay strong! I feel for you - I hope this isn't turning into a nightmare. I hope this gives you great experiences for your future endeavors, And I hope you still have some time on your hands to live it up. :)

    2. Zach Welch on

      To paraphrase a common engineering saying, "cheaper, faster, better: pick two". From the design perspective, the B1 has always been focused on being "cheaper" and "better". Further, the same analysis can be applied to setting a shipping date, by slightly restating the expression: "features, timeline, quality: pick two". In every case, we can see that the timeline has been sacrificed to meet feature and quality goals. Every product in the real-world faces constraints that force compromises which negatively affect one of these dimensions. Want to ship a good product on time? Drop features. Must ship on time and with certain features? Quality must slip. With the B1, "cheaper and better" was exactly the bill of goods that we were sold, so naturally "faster" cannot be expected.

      These are subjective choices made by the creator of any product. Erik made his choices, and I appreciate them to the extent that I have never been in a hurry to receive my unit. Were those choices right for the majority? For the product? For his company? Only he will be able to say, in hindsight. However, he has been unwavering in his commitment to his goal of "better" and "cheaper", despite a lot of pressure to compromise and be "faster".

      Still, the PVT process must be reaching diminishing returns on further investments in "better", since the engineering process costs money and makes the product less "cheap". Moreover, "faster" may now the best way of making the product both "better" and "cheaper" when considering value of time to market and customer loyalty.

      In this regard, Bob's points about Errata deserve consideration. I would happy to receive a v1.0 product that needs tuning or upgrades, resulting in well-defined incremental v1.x upgrades. As he suggests, I think the community would contribute tremendously to that process, accelerating further product development.

      Personally, I would only be happy receiving an "incomplete" unit knowing this plan was being backed and directed by RI, as part of commitment to provide manufacturer-supported beginner-easy solutions for such errata issues. I would expect those changes (or their lessons) would be incorporated into v2.0, but such a new product would come well after addressing any errata discovered with the v1.x series after it ships. More importantly, I would rather buy another v1.x than a v2.0, if I am able to generate revenue using my first unit.

      Obviously, a bug-free v1.0 would be great for everyone, but I don't think anyone (backer or creator) should be expecting that outcome for a product of this nature and complexity. A well-supported v1.x series would bridge the gap between the initial reality (V1.0), all reasonable expectations for backed features (v1.1) and add-ons (v1.2), and beyond (v1.3+). I believe similar steps may already be part of your plan, but I don't believe that I have seen anything discussing it.

    3. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      @Herbert - You are right! I'm consciously trying to minimize my pessimism while retaining at least a minimal connection to reality.

      If you look at it straight-on, my estimates have been no better than Erik's, in that all of them have been blown right past.

      My goal has not been to accurately predict printer deliveries, but to better quantify near-term delays. Basically, take any prediction from Erik and multiply it by at least 3 to get a more realistic estimate of any "known" near-term delay. Not more accurate, just more realistic.

      My real goal has been to let backers know that they may want to consider doing things other than simply wait. And if they choose to only wait, then to know it will be for much longer than Erik says.

      I finally decided to take my own advice, which I shared in this post on the RI Forum:

      If we set aside the delays and view the B1 as a printer with a feature set and a price, then it still represents a terrific value. That is, if the campaign for the redesigned B1 printer were to appear today (instead of a year ago), I believe it would still attract a similar number of backers.

      Mentally and emotionally, that's what I do; I imagine a fresh start, rather than dwell on 6 months of unexpected delays with my funds being tied up even longer. That's done and in the past, and wile my future actions will be informed by it, I have no regrets.

      It is prudent to launch a campaign of this type so that the printer enters (and hopefully completes) PVT during the campaign, so more accurate delivery dates can be released before the campaign ends. For the current version of the B1, that launch date would have been no more than 3-4 months ago. Let's say late January of this year.

      Looking back, it may have been far more prudent to cancel the campaign the moment it became known that the original design could not be manufactured cost-effectively. Take the time needed to repeat the design and prototyping process, then launch a new campaign when the new design was ready to enter PVT.

      That may have been the more prudent course, given what we know now. But Erik doesn't walk away from challenges, and has a solid history of knocking them down in short order. The B1 problems are simply on a much larger scale. I also believe interaction with backers greatly helped the redesign process, something that would not have happened had the original campaign been canceled.

      I, for one, believe that a cancellation and subsequent relaunch would have delayed the B1 even further. I still want my B1, and I believe this campaign is still the fastest way to get it, with nothing equivalent (either fully-assembled or as a 90%+ kit) yet available that you can ACTUALLY buy.

      I did a deep search last night, and the closest I found was a Creality Ender 4 bundle on AliExpress (, where the bundled kit called "Package 5" includes a filament detector, self-leveling bed and a laser, but not dual-extruder support. But "Package 5" has apparently never been in stock, and AliExpress/Creality isn't even accepting pre-orders for it. I'm thinking it may be more of a wish than a product at this point.

      So, yes, the industry is now aware there is a market for something like the B1, but it seems nobody is actually shipping it. One factor giving other manufacturers pause may be the 3000+ customers the BuildOne campaign has removed from the market, and which the ongoing campaign is keeping from the market.

      Ending the initial campaign could have killed the B1's status as the first of its kind, and given others a window into a market of at least 3000 folks ready to buy, meaning the B1 V2 may have had no chance at all.

      So, from Erik's perspective, canceling the campaign when the original design couldn't be made within budget would have been the wrong move. It could easily have killed Robotic Industries before it got started.

      As for the B1 itself, I believe the best course is to continue to support Erik, while also insisting he increase his self-honesty and self-awareness. Personally, I've been encouraging him to simply stop making predictions, since he's so terrible at them. I believe he should just say what he's done, what he's doing now, and what's next.

      NOTHING is gained by ranting and raving at him. That will not, and can not, make him do better. If anything, it will increase his stress and increase the risk of future delays.

      Erik has put himself in a very tough place, and it is to our mutual advantage to support him through it. I long ago forgave him for both past and future delays, and sincerely wish nothing but the best for him, his family, and the global BuildOne team.

      For example, I have concerns that Erik's time spent on the BuildOne competes with time earning income to put food on the table. I'm certain he's making ends meet (given that he lives on a small farm), but that existential stress can only grow as the B1 delays mount.

      Saying things like "he brought it on himself" are neither accurate nor constructive. Having to toss an entire mechanical design out the window because of low quality from vendors was a rude shock. His recovery from it has been truly excellent, at least from the design perspective.

      I've been trying to identify which delays, if any, would have occurred ANYWAY, independent of the printer design changes. That is, if we assume the original design would have worked just fine, how late would the project be?

      First, the original printer was in development at least 6 months before the campaign started, and Erik thought the redesign would need no more than 3 months. So, if we accept those numbers, then the original campaign schedule would also have been significantly delayed.

      By how much? Impossible to say without a deep peek into Erik's notes. However, there's nothing revolutionary in the B1 design, so I doubt the design change itself is much of an issue from a manufacturing perspective.

      Looking at other Campaigns for integrated electro-mechanical devices, including not only 3D printers, but also laser cutters/engravers and small CNC mills, they all tend to run late EXCEPT when the products are from large manufacturers using crowdfunding as a way to introduce new products with zero risk (which is more and more a thing these days).

      Given all the above, the big picture tells me that we aren't far from being in the right place to get a printer like the B1 this year, no matter who makes it. Yes, our money has been locked up for quite a while. But we will be getting a printer from a US vendor with solid records for product design and support, not a company half a world away.

      That's why I just bought a printer from Monoprice, a company that is less than two hours drive away from me, though I could have easily found the original Chinese manufacturer and saved a couple bucks buying direct. But bitter experience has taught me the value of having a US company between me and the Chinese factory.

      I can't put a precise dollar value on this aspect of the B1, but it has got to be around 20-25% of the retail price. So that package deal on AliExpress almost certainly has hidden costs and delays of its own, and isn't all that great even as an imaginary deal.

      If we limit the search for equivalent printers to those from US vendors, then the results contain ZERO items.

      I absolutely believe the B1 is still, by far, the best opportunity to get all these features. Even with the ongoing delays.

    4. Missing avatar

      Herbert on

      @Bob, all: It is always interesting to read your posts, but in fairnes, I think a lower and lower percentage of the backers really thinks the B1 will be shipped or even be in their hands in August or September. Using the empirical method you suggested, my own estimate has been for weeks now, that I will consider myself lucky to have a working b1 in my hands at christmas - hopefully 2018.

      This statement is meant less sarcastic then it might come across. For a while I was really worried, that the new iteration (CoreXY) had no path to a satisfactory product at all, the long lack of updates was disappointing to say the least. Any of the early statements suggesting that we are "almost ready to ship" can be regarded as "fake News" in hindsight, an alternative truth which could simply not have been backed up by reality. Normaly that combination means pretty clearly, that a project at KS is failing.

      But meanwhile I feel a lot more "honesty" again, the reports of progress in the last weeks beginn to make sense, as slow as that progress is. Truth is that I'm sure we are still months away from shipping (even if Eric will deny this) - but now, since Eric tries truthfully to report successes and problems and gives some insight in the development process, I do not mind much anymore that the printer will be delayed further. Since so much time has been invested already, I support Eric to determine the quality level of the product himself, and not to take short cuts towards the end of Design/PVT, given that he has his eye on the expenses and the final limit this sets to a successfull project. So, we will all print some x-mas decoration in december, if we are lucky - but please on a printer that does not require tweaking and bug-fixing right out of the box, even as v1.0.

      There is only one way to ultimate failure for the b1, and that would be tweaking and changing it for so long, that the project runs out of money, and not the best printer, but no printer will be delivered. But short of that - I have given up on any set date for this product (or any roadmap published), and so should all of you too. This is a far more healthy attitude (lowers your blood pressure, avoids stress) than to try speed up things by arguing with Eric or verbally pressuring him to change his working method or process. Que sera, sera.

      And Eric: Please keep regular intervals of the updates without us havin to nag for it, and make them as meaningful as possible. If you do not show any progress of the product itself, we have to assume that there is none. The video camera is your friend. Use it. Show us.

    5. Missing avatar

      Mike Doragh on

      @Ronald. Thanks for your info. Good to share your knowledge as every little bit of shared info has the possibility to help and improve the product for us all. It is looking likely that PP won't be switched in-place of Acrylic (according to Erik, 3 days ago below):
      Erik said:
      "Now it is true every detail doesn’t have to perfect and won’t be - for instance the plastic change looks unlikely at this point - but we won’t ignore things like the main board overheating just to go to production,..."

    6. Missing avatar

      Ronald Fial on

      PP plastic is a lot more flexible than Acrylic, but another often ignored problem is that it has twice the thermal expansion of Acrylic. So if PP is holding the steppers and guides in position, consider how much positioning will change as the enclosure warms up.

    7. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      @Erik - Despite my verbosity, I somehow managed to miss explaining my main points properly. Please permit me another pass, from a different perspective.

      The entire notion of a "V2 list" during PVT is to provide a clear separation between what "must be fixed now", and what is "OK as-is". This isn't just related to engineering and the schedule, but also to psychology, encouraging folks to gain perspective and let go of minutia to permit the product to enter production.

      There is also the issue of support, and using it to inform PVT decisions. Planning for what kinds of support may be needed is part of DFM. Getting a handle on how much support may be needed is part of PVT. (Of course, the biggest support surprises often come after delivery, when users insist on doing unexpected things.)

      The best feature associated with shipping a kit (rather than a fully-assembled product) is that the user will know how it goes together. So the first support task will obviously be to ensure all the backers succeed with initial assembly. Given you've reported no difficulties in this area, I'll assume the B1 will go together without problems.

      While some folks are fearless when it comes to taking things apart, most folks rightly prefer to keep boxes sealed. However, all B1 users, having successfully assembled their printers, should have few issues with disassembling them. The BuildOne will have a FEW THOUSAND folks assembling it who will then have a huge leg up on performing their own minor updates. This is not a resource to be taken lightly!

      With this many "final assemblers", the RI Forum will soon be filled with folks figuring out how to assemble the B1 better than you yourself have. Count on it. This is the norm for mechanical kits in general and 3D printers specifically. They will also find every grammatical error and typo in the assembly instructions. It comes with the territory.

      I've watched this happen multiple times on the Folgertech forum, where owners helped rewrite the assembly manual, and also recommended tweaks to subsequent kits that yielded a better product that's more functional, easier to assemble and sometimes even cheaper to make.

      Yes, Folgertech is primarily a by-order shop, building to demand and seldom carrying much stock. Clearly not the RI model, at least not for the first few thousand B1s, and maybe not ever.

      One thing will be similar: B1 users experiencing problems will generally first see suggestions from the community before they see them from you. Mainly because some of us will be awake while you sleep! I suspect your most critical support task will be ensuring the RI Forum stays up.

      What you see as a "Must Fix" PVT problem may have a trivial solution when the community attacks it en masse. The "wisdom of crowds" and all that. I very much expect the acrylic and PCB issues to fall solidly in this category. But only if they actually ever happen at all in the field, which is by no means certain.

      This kind of questioning (and scoping) should inform and simplify PVT decisions.

      In my initial comment to this update, I proposed mitigations for the PVT issues you shared, each of which could be easily tailored to be applied in the field with truly minimal effort and negligible cost.

      Did those suggestions ease your mind at all? If so, then my initial observation was correct: You're over-thinking and over-worrying these issues.

      I suspect that all such PVT issues you find will be shown to have solutions no more complex than the raised feet for the original Fabrikator Mini. Nothing that rises to the level of a show-stopper.


      Finally, your comment about fixing things now rather than "ship a few weeks sooner": You are trying to once again use your thoroughly broken prognostication skills. We are talking months delay here to resolve these issues, not weeks. That's MY estimate, based on straight-line projections of YOUR known schedule slips, not wishful prognostication.

      I'll bet "a few weeks" has been your mantra for most of the past year. Please, stop believing your self-deceptions. To get closer to the ballpark, start by multiplying your guesses by three.

      If you keep to your stated path, then it's time to once again update my SWAG for when B1 backers will make their first prints. This time, I'll be using YOUR delay estimate, properly scaled. I believe we're now looking at the first half of August for the first B1 print by a backer using a regular production unit.

      I'm still trying my best to be realistic, not at all pessimistic.

    8. Missing avatar

      Paul M on

      As a first time 3d printer buyer, I just want to chime in (for the first time) to say I appreciate the creator's dedication to quality versus time-to-market. It's not that I don't *want* to spend time hacking and fine-tuning a printer to overcome v1 design issues, just that I'd rather spend that same time actually printing useful things. While I always read the official updates hoping for a firm delivery date, this update still pleased me with the detailed progress and especially the addition of a temperature sensor. How often do you plunk your money down for a product (yes I know KS isn't a store), and get a new hardware feature added for no charge?

    9. Robotic Industries LLC Creator on

      @Bob - It sounds like you've worked on many large budget projects which could afford generous trade offs - that's great and no doubt there are many lessons to learn from experiences like that. While I've done 6 Kickstarters, I also had a career the included bringing products both physical and digital to market and in the course of that career I held many positions from development through chief executive of a multi-national corporation. The challenge here has been using a very small team to bring a thin margin product to market with a tiny budget and high value - and doing that with financial responsibility as the top priority and quality as the close second. One of the keys to accomplishing this without failing before delivery or delivering a total failure is keeping every step agile and flexible - even if that means doing things in the "wrong" phase or differently then a larger company might. I'm not saying this PVT/DFM/etc has been ideal - it hasn't - but it would be a disaster to model it on a major corporate product procedure - and the PVT example you gave would be a bad outcome for any project, especially one as tightly connected to its customers as this where it would not be OK (to me) to ask people to come buy V2 in a few months because V1 wasn't great. I understand that you feel the delays are unnecessary at this point and that based on your experience we shouldn't be making changes in PVT - I respectfully disagree based on my experience, my goals, and my understanding of the average BuildOne backer, and based on the feedback I've received since this update the vast majority of backers would rather we finish ironing out these issues now then ship a few weeks sooner - especially if it makes it more beginner friendly. As always, I appreciate your insight into your experience, but in this case I respectfully but strongly disagree.

    10. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      One way to look at PVT is for it to provide answers to the question: "How badly can this product be made while still meeting specs?" That is, how robust is the design and production process to minor variation, and keeping that variation from reducing product quality?

      The first step is to adequately define "product quality". That's the job of the design process. The second step is to see what factors can creep into the production process and how their effect ripples into the product. That's the job of DFM (in advance) and PVT (as a test).

      I have seen this done so badly that 100% of the units manufactured needed costly manual rework. And this was without anyone being obviously sloppy or steps being skipped, but was due primarily to a failure of imagination to see the weaknesses of both the design and its production process. This most often happens when DFM is rushed and/or PVT is too short, but that's just a generalization of many failure paths.

      In the case of that product, getting the unit to market mattered more than anything, even if it destroyed the profit margin on the initial run. That product had a narrow market window in an industry with several hungry competitors, and it needed to own all of that window to both redefine the market and exert some control over it.

      The thing is, we didn't do ANY product design tweaks DURING the PVT. We made a list of "V2" changes, but did what was needed to build V1 correctly and get it into the market. The only engineering changes made during PVT were to our test equipment and procedures, not the product itself, which is what PVT is intended to accomplish.

      Basically, we had a great initial product, but it was difficult to produce. We fixed all that in the next design spin, but only after we had revenues from that initial run we could show to the bank.

      Sometimes, the fact that PVT tests passed may mean either the tests were too easy, or there were too few of them. Yielding a device that passes in the factory and fails in the field.

      And failed PVT tests can indicate tests that went beyond specifications, rather than ensuring in-spec functionality. Creating endless product and production improvement spins and the ensuing delay.

      It's a tough balance to strike. My point being that reflecting on B1 design changes at this point means the DFM process itself has/had issues. This should not be happening during PVT! And, indeed, I believe it may NOT be happening!

      It's time to fish or cut bait. There are two choices: End this PVT, call it a failure (due to being a premature effort), and return to DFM, applying lessons learned. Or get the PVT done, with a list of errata and changes for V2. You can't (well, shouldn't) do DFM and PVT at once! That is a recipe to waste both time and money.

      My point is that this, to me, very much seems to be a management problem more than a production or engineering problem.

      The highest-level management decision should be to get working printers into backers' hands ASAP. This is just the FIRST (and not the last) production run. Getting community feedback is the only way this printer will grow to fill the post-crowdfunding retail market.

      I suspect this "big picture" may be getting lost in a swarm of PVT pseudo-problems.

      For comparison, take a look at the original version of the Turnigy Fabrikator Mini 3D printer sold by Hobby King. That had an acrylic enclosure like the B1. For it to work well it had to be raised slightly and mounted on tiny feet at the corners. For ventilation/cooling.

      I don't know the detailed history, but I'm sure someone suspected this issue before the first printer shipped. And the "fix" was incredibly simple, so shipping was the correct decision. Initial owners printed their own feet, and the feet were added to subsequent production shipments. The feedback from this initial run certainly informed the decision to stop making the first version, and to go to an all-metal enclosure/frame and a price increase for the Mini V2.

      This is the kind of feedback that is being delayed for the B1. In a sense, this is what KS backers sign up for, to help a new product come into existence and evolve.

      The B1 will be a sensational printer! But the first production run will have issues, no matter how long DFM and PVT drag on. The user community, we Backers, are the army that will help polish the first B1 production version to a bright shine.

      And the B1 V2 could well be a very different printer. But there is no real way to know that until the B1 meets the real world.

    11. Missing avatar

      Mike Doragh on

      Was writing whilst Erik posted. Thanks for the reply Erik.

    12. Missing avatar

      Mike Doragh on

      @bob I sort of agree with you, but partly disagree too. Since we have waited this long, and the parts haven't had "go" pressed on the order yet... if it becomes clear that switching material will make a more robust product, why not switch material. Of course the issue is that Erik will need to test the new material too. If he doesn't then he risks an unforeseen issue, and he does re-test, then it adds to the delay. However since the order hasn't been placed for those parts yet, then wouldn't you want the best product for your money rather than a known "less good" compromise that you have to pay again to fix later? The real issue is of course therefore how long it takes to deliver the switch. If it results in a delay of a few days, but a better result, then why not. If it results in several weeks' delay, then I would agree with you that it us heading more towards obsessing, than tuning. Only Erik knows which it is. I'm happy to wait a couple of extra weeks if I get a better product, but not an extra month or more... everyone else will have their own thresholds!

    13. Robotic Industries LLC Creator on

      @Carl - filament spool and feed is on the left side and if you have a dual extruder setup then also the right - if you have a space about 12” deep, 18” high and 18” wide that should be sufficient for it to run without issue - probably can use a smaller space with careful setup

      @Bob, Manjunath, Ron - the goal is to be a consumer printer that requires some assembly but not tweaking to get consumer grade results even for a beginner - we’ve made sure it is hackable for those who want to add to it - but not as an excuse to make a lower quality printer. 101Hero is an example of how we don’t want it turn out.
      The majority of people bought the full enclosure so it is important it works well for even beginners and our best guess from the data we have is about 50% of backers are beginners. Now it is true every detail doesn’t have to perfect and won’t be - for instance the plastic change looks unlikely at this point - but we won’t ignore things like the main board overheating just to go to production, shipping a Kickstarter and asking customers to tweak something that was discovered after production I think is Ok and part of buying a new product, doing that because you decided not to fix an issue that could effect over 50% of users isn’t ok and since I’ve spent the last year plus on this and bet my income for that time on it as well it is personally imperative that I ship a quality printers that work well for beginners so that hopefully many of you will want more add-one, printers, etc from me. The BuildOne can print well - out of the box - at full speed in PLA, ABS and many more - it will have rough edges as any new product does - but it will not be an ultra low end printer just because it is one of the cheapest.

    14. Missing avatar

      Carl Madson on


      I need to build some shelves into my work area for the Buildones!. Do you have some rough dimensions of the final footprint required for the printer? From what side did you design the filament to be fed from? Is it possible to feed the filament from the top?

      Thanks for your time!

    15. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      @Ron - You are not buying an industrial printer, but something that is at the VERY bottom of the market. Literally, there is no cheaper printer that is even vaguely worth buying. Do not be confused about this!

      This **IS** the bottom of the market. The fact that it fundamentally redefines it for the better does not change the fact that this is still the bottom of the market.

      If you want a printer that is certain to work perfectly, a KickStarter project is NOT the place to go. Certainly not! You go to a retail store that will provide you with support and everything else needed to have a "just works" printer. Projects like this ALWAYS have risk, and you are neck-deep in it, like it or not.

      This is a one-man company with a bunch of helpers. While it is a very real company with an excellent track record, it's history is in crowdfunding, not large-volume production or retail. This is its biggest and most complex project ever, by a huge margin.

      You are going to receive a printer with some rough edges. Perhaps you will encounter none of them if you print only PLA at slow speeds. But the moment you begin to get ambitious and take on greater challenges, you will encounter limitations, and you will want to get around them.

      "Getting around limitations" means either upgrades to the current printer, or buying another printer. You can choose which path you take, but many of us will be trying to create upgrades that will be easy for anyone to add to their BuildOne. In most cases, It will be as simple as pulling a part design down from Thingiverse, printing it, and then following simple installation instructions.

      This is the world you are entering with this project. It would be a delusion to think otherwise.

      Welcome to the world of low-end 3D Printing!

    16. Missing avatar

      Manjunath on

      @Bob..I agree with you. These issues highlighted by Erik are not at all stoppers for normal working of the printer. The backers are mature enough to understand the capacity of the 99$ printer and not expect the quality of 500$ printer. Am also new to printing but am confident that as we use & understand the B1, we might tweak to our requirement..(here tweak means not the development of entire printer as @Ron is understanding below, but few minor hacks with help of Dr.Google). Hope Erik & team empathize with our situation & work harder in providing our printers & not waste time on some minor issues.
      "Airplanes can never leave the hanger if engineers are constantly working on even minor challenges."

    17. Missing avatar

      Ron on

      @Bob As a person who's completely new to 3D printing, I really want this printer to just work. I have no plans or intentions to mod or improve it.. I'm really not sure why the assumption that most of us will be tweaking and tampering with it, I think a very big part of this campaign was the vision of a simple, hassle free, works out of the box printer. At least that's what brought me here.. :)

    18. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      More thoughts, after giving the update further consideration:

      None of the PVT issues listed in the update are show-stoppers. I'm concerned that time is being spent on ANY of them, much less holding up PVT for them. They all appear to be corner-cases for extreme environments and/or extreme prints. Not at all the target the B1 is addressing.

      The B1 is a printer with a $99 base price, with an awesome feature set for that price. The current design already gets that job done. Stop gilding the lily.

      The B1 User Community will certainly be generating a swarm of tweaks and improvements starting the moment the printers arrive. It's OK if a few items are already on the list for us to attack (they're called "Errata"), especially to address operational corner cases that few, if any, users will EVER encounter.

      Let's look at the issues:

      Enhanced PCB cooling, if needed, is just the kind of thing we users can solve, so long as the B1 can print the parts we'll need. Especially if the alternative is to delay the B1 yet again.

      Create a B1 Errata list, add the PCB temperature concern to it, and get PVT done! (If you must, punch some ventilation holes, then move on.)

      The enclosure material concerns are certainly another corner case that will be encountered by few or no users. Add it to the Errata List and move on. A user may come up with an idea far better than using PP. Change from acrylic ONLY if a working home printer CAN'T be made using acrylic. Which is not the case, since there are many functional acrylic printers out there.

      You know many of us are going to mod our printers anyway, right? No matter where you define 100% to be, we're going to push it further. So let the limits be set by the current design, and move on to volume production.

      We've got your back.

      It is long past time to "Shoot the Engineers". Quit messing with the design, and get the current design built.

      By way of illustration, my 101Hero cost 20% less than the B1 base model, yet it promised 80% less performance than the B1 specs. As delivered, my 101Hero didn't meet even those low specs: It wouldn't hold calibration, and it made very sloppy prints.

      Yet the 101Hero user community managed to fix those shortcomings by simply printing a few small parts (clips and brackets), adding some rubber bands, shaping some thin acrylic panels to add rigidity, and encouraging the use of test prints to dial in slicer settings.

      The result is a printer that, while still slow as hell, does now make excellent PLA prints.

      The 101Hero folks could have greatly improved their product by performing more DFM and a better PVT, but given the simplicity of the fixes applied in the field, it would have been a waste of both time and money, especially for such a cheap printer (in both senses of the word).

      While I can't recommend the 101Hero to anyone (because of its terribly slow speed), for me it was the ideal first printer, since it allowed me to build a printer hacking skill set that I've since applied to friends' printers (mainly i3 and CR-10), and that I will be applying to my B1 the moment it arrives.

      But only after the B1 escapes PVT Hell and enters production!

    19. Dan Gerson on

      Thanks for the update. Bob - Thanks for your thoughtful detailed analysis and suggestions.

    20. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      Some thoughts:

      1. About using polypropylene (PP) for the enclosure:

      a) PP is not transparent except in very thin layers (under ~0.3mm), and is otherwise translucent or opaque. This means it will interfere with external viewing, which many not be much of an issue for users planning to put a webcam inside, such as for use with OctoPrint.

      b) PP is more flexible than acrylic (Lexan) for the same thickness. This can be addressed in multiple ways, such as by adding supports or fins or thickness, or adding chopped glass fiber, or mixing PP with stronger plastics. For flat/planar structures, pressing waves or crossed ridges into the panel can also help.

      c) PP degrades in UV. For use with "deep purple" lasers, a UV absorber may need to be added to the PP. But other than that, using PP could improve laser safety by ensuring the laser is diffused before leaving the enclosure.

      d) Few glues or paints stick to PP. This means joints must be mechanical (clips/screws) or welded (heat/sonic). This also means it can be difficult to silk-screen, though there are adhesives that work well for stickers.

      e) PP is most commonly made with an oriented molecular arrangement, meaning strength and flexibility vary directionally. While un-oriented PP is available, it has mechanical issues of its own.

      PP is the material used in the lids of TicTac boxes, which are slippery to let the TicTacs out, and flexible to provide a hinge for the flap. PP has very high fatigue resistance, thus its popularity for use in plastic hinges. PP is also considered to be "self-lubricating", making it useful for things like carpet sliders for moving furniture.

      2. Expansion pinout, with reference to the schematic ( from Update #29 (

      Wow. This is like my wish-list answered. I was thinking I'd have to add fly-wires to the PCB for my dual hot-end hack and/or rolling laser stage hack, but this pinout may make fly-wires unnecessary, though I'll need to see the final schematic to be sure. (Also: The Scanner connector carries signals that should prove useful for mayhem and hackery.)

      a) The ESP GPIOs are 3.3V, and should be considered to be "fragile", with no protection other than what the ESP chip provides, meaning you could fry the ESP. Anyone using these pins should add some "silicon fuse" protection, perhaps in the form of a level-shifter or buffer/inverter, or for maximum safety, an optoisolator. (Also: The "Pxn" pins are 5V GPIO from the ATMEGA.)

      b) The THERM3 pin will need external support circuitry, including a pull-up resistor and a noise filter capacitor. Having 4 thermistor channels means it may be possible to hack in up to FOUR independent hot-ends, if you are willing to use an unheated bed. (Probably no room and little need for 4 hot-ends, but still...)

      c) HOTEND2 should work with an external MOSFET via a current-limiting resistor, or directly with a SSR. If you didn't get the Laser add-on, LASERGND may also prove useful.

      d) PB1-3 also go to the on-board ICSP connector, right? Do these pins replace that connector?

      3. Stepper driver remote current setting and microstepping control.

      This is truly awesome. It gets us some (but far from all) of the benefits of Trinamic stepper drivers at a fraction of the cost.

      a) Will this change make it easier or harder for folks to upgrade to Trinamic drivers, should they wish?

      4. About the other PVT issues.

      a) Mold issues. I have too many horror stories in this area. One key is to design the plastic parts so dimension and molding errors can be tolerated. Or so I'm told.

      However, when "almost right" injection molded parts still must be used, one trick is to warm (heat soak) them just prior to final assembly, so they have enough "give" to overcome minor errors. It also provides some stress relief, which helps with visual quality (less chipping/cracking) and longevity. Spot cooling may be needed where screws thread into the plastic.

      b) PCB heating: Horizontal PCBs tend to impede convective cooling. Changing the PCB orientation to be on-edge can help, along with orienting all heatsink fins to be vertical, for a net heat removal improvement of 2x-10x (s'truth!). This gain may be worth changing the board size and layout. (I'm a big fan of passive cooling.)

      c) Acrylic temperature effects. Shouldn't be an issue below 90 C, so an enclosure temperature of 70 C max should not only help avoid hot spots affecting the acrylic, but also be warm enough for just about all filaments that would benefit from a heated enclosure.

      I suspect the primary concern will be contact hot spots, such as hot-running steppers (or electronics) mounted directly to (or below) the acrylic that could reach 100 C or higher. This may be controlled by placing a heat shield between such heat sources and the acrylic, such as a sheet of low thermal conductivity plastic, for which PP works well.

      Another concern with acrylic is differential heating, where one face is significantly warmer or cooler than the other, such as using a heated acrylic enclosure in a cold room. In this case, the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) can come into play, causing surface cracking that can, with repeated thermal cycles, lead to mechanical failure (especially if the panel is loaded or stressed).

      However, this is usually observed only in bulk uses with greater thickness, and not in thin sheets. PMMA has a relatively low CTE, though PP is even lower. If it is an issue, the most direct solution is simple: Wrap the printer in insulation when used in such environments, like a large tea cozy.

    21. Missing avatar

      Phillip Mitchell on

      Thank you for the update!

    22. Missing avatar

      Larry on

      Thank you for such an informative update, keep up the great work on finalizing the unit for production.

    23. Missing avatar

      PaulP on

      Appreciate the update, as always! Would love to see pics i.e. of PCB, injection molded parts (maybe with their 3d printed prototypes for comparison) - short and sweet is fine, but maybe a little more often?

    24. Andrew Hitchcock on

      Great update!
      One note: Polypropylene can be injected into the same mold as ABS, but the PP will shrink a lot more upon cooling. This may lead to dimensional issues depending on your part design.

    25. Missing avatar

      Tom Parsons

      Fantastic! I'm pleased with the progress and depth of the update.

    26. Missing avatar

      Rick Downs on

      Great update! Keeping the customer informed. Part of the Kickstarter process.

    27. Missing avatar

      Tim Smith on

      Great report and excellent details. Makes me more confident in the final product at every step!

      Keep up the great work.

    28. Missing avatar

      Arthur on

      Thank you for the detailed update!

    29. Ken King on

      Thanks for the prompt response. 👍