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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.

More injection molding updates, more photos, the head unit

Posted by Robotic Industries LLC (Creator)
We're back with some more injection molding updates, more photos, and one final injection molded part that needs your ideas.

The Y Carriage

Leonid and his team have continued to help refine, redesign, and get the plastic parts ready to be injection molded parts of a quality far superior (while also saving on molding costs) to what they ever could have been otherwise - once again a HUGE thank you to them!

Leonid has spent a good deal of time on several revisions of the Y carriage part - a part that looks very simple as a 3d printed part:

 But as an injection molded part is very complex because it has some many holes, going so many directions, all in a compact form factor.

First the part was redesigned as two identical parts - however this led to some concerns about the cost of making twice as many vs a more complex mold - as well as possible alignment issues when putting the two parts together.

 Next it was redesigned back into a single part - but this would require a more complex mold then the two parts and the method of retaining the bearing (screws) was very different then the Z carriage presented in the last update -

 Leonid and I then brainstormed on how we could get the best of both worlds - simple mold, simple assembly, and one part - he suggested some changes that would allow this and I've spent the last several days (among many other things) seeing if these changes will work with the rest of the printer and ensuring they'll have a minimal impact and no negative impact.

By moving the two idlers wheels toward the head unit (and some other spacing adjustments) - whereas one used to be forward and one set back - the part can be made such that the bearing can snap in and be secured by zip ties - this also makes for a simpler mold as well. This does change the belt path but in order to keep the belts straight where they need to be - all that is required is moving the back idlers (that are mounted to the main body of the printer) inward slightly.

 I've now asked Leonid if he wouldn't mind making those changes so we can see if that will work to make it a single simple part - while I make the changes to the acrylic panels and such to accommodate the different spacings.

The Head Unit

There is one part left that Leonid nor I have yet to fully dive into in the way he has with these other parts - that is the head unit. The Head Unit is the most challenging part to turn into an injection molded parts and so we asking any backers with some basic knowledge of injection molding (or not) and any ideas to help us brainstorm.  

Here is some essential info about the head unit:  

The flat top of the head unit is where both the head unit circuit board (see below) and the print cooling fan mount (they share a screw hole). This should remain flat and at least similar in dimensions.


 The front of the head unit holds the Hotend and also makes up the part cooling fan funnel - which is perhaps the hardest part of it to redesign - how do we direct a flat 30x30mm fans output down (or with the fan mounting on the side of the head unit would also be OK) and aim it roughly at the end of the hotend nozzle? and make that easy to injection mold. Likely it will take a second part - but who knows what creative solutions might be possible? 

 The hotend holder can certainly be optimized for injection molding without too much difficulty - the hotend itself is retained by an aluminium piece that screws into the two holes - the little tongue below it help keep it tight against the retaining piece. 

 The hotend is aligned to the holes on the back for the Z level sensor but this can be adjusted slightly without any negative effects (because we can adjust the offset in the software).


 The back plate holds the laser module - two holes top and bottom on left and the Z level sensor - two holes side to side on right. The middle hole is the hole for tightening the bearings into place - see the side view to understand that.

The back needs these holes in these positions more or less - and a solid flat area (or at least some ribs or similar on the same plane as the holes) to the right of the laser mount holes and below the Z level sensor holes - for those modules to be supported. But that's it - this doesn't have to be a big solid plate, it can have holes in it or be split up or be changed completely beyond those requirements. Possibly the bearings could be snapped in from this side and then zip tie retained?


 This shows the two bearing holes - the bearings ride on the two 8mm X axis rods that the Y carriages hold. It would be preferable for these to change to snap in and zip tie retained similar to the other redesigned parts.

One note: This part is slightly simplified in that the method of holding the belts is removed - we have several options for how the belts are retained at the head so they likely can work with any redesign.

You can download the STEP file shown here:

If you want to help with the brainstorming:

1. Please read the above section and ensure your suggestions wouldn't break any of the required placements/supports/etc.

2. Offer your ideas in this update's comment thread - not the main project comment thread.

OR - contribute here:

PCB Photos and Minor Heatbed Issue

Currently a round of PVT PCBs is being made and assembled - these include some fixes that we've made in the last few months - and also are the first to bear the final colors, some of the final text, etc.

As of this morning the factory head not yet done the Through Hole parts assembly, but we got some photos of the boards with the surface mount parts on them and wanted to share.

Headunit Board
Headunit Board
Stepper Driver Board
Stepper Driver Board
Scanner board
Scanner board
LED board (for enclosure)
LED board (for enclosure)

 As to why the through hole assembly hasn't been done - it is because the factory is waiting for new heatbed PCBs - they identified an issue (you can see it if you look carefully) that they had an easy suggestion to solve - the heat beds aren't very flat (actually they are just ever so slightly wavy - but relative to nice dead flat PCB that the factory is used to) and that's OK because we have active z leveling - but their engineers found a simple solution and asked if they could try it. The wave is caused by the aluminum plate and the PCB both being thick and both trying to warp in their own ways when heated. The factory is trying reducing the thickness of the PCB (just the fiberglass part) by 1/2 - and they think that will reduce the waviness which means less work for the z leveling - they'll have the new ones in the next day and then continue with the assembly of everything (using the thinner ones if it works, the thicker ones if it doesn't).


That is all for tonight - but we will be back hopefully even sooner this time with more updates - thank you all and please contribute some ideas for the head unit if you'd like to!

Thank you!

Ata, Anders Öster, and 78 more people like this update.


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    1. Norman Papernick on

      It has been over a month since the last update. Stating that there is no news would in itself be helpful.

    2. Missing avatar

      vikram on

      its time for update, please

    3. Missing avatar

      Ian Gibson on

      It has gone very quiet here.
      The brief burst of optimism engendered by this update has completely evaporated again.
      More news of progress, please.

    4. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      One more thing about the head unit: It is a mistake for the part cooler duct to end with a small hole. It is much better to distribute the air over a wider area. The cooling provided by small area ducts is hugely affected by the speed and direction of head motion. Distributing air over a larger area, and/or through multiple ducts, mitigates that problem.

      For the B1, a single wide duct should be preferred. Such a duct also puts less back-pressure on the fan, letting it operate more efficiently and effectively (unless a squirrel cage fan is used). Wider flow also reduces turbulence, which can be a problem when printing overhangs.

    5. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      My MPMD (Monoproce Mini Delta) diverts air from the cold-end fan to provide part cooling. The MPMD implementation has some minor issues, most of which can be remedied by slightly upsizing the fan, and adding a flap to the part-cooler outlet.

      I thought this would present some issues, such as with having cooling enabled during the first layer, but such is not the case when a heated bed is used, particularly so with PLA.

      The general idea is sound. Having a single fan on the B1 head unit should simplify both the BOM and the head unit part design.

    6. Missing avatar

      Thorsten Suttner on

      @Creator, any news about the heatbed warp issue?

    7. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      Minor issue on the Head Unit: The clamp slot for the bearings does not go all the way through, meaning the clamping force can only be asymmetrical.

      To me, this invites bearing misalignment, resulting in uneven wear, premature aging, and possible rail damage.

      To avoid this outcome, the bearings must be a tight fit, preventing significant deflection of the clamp itself, meaning little or no clamping may actually be required.

      How about designing the head unit to require press-fit bearings? That would eliminate the retention screw, simplifying both the BOM and manufacturing, thought it may tighten the tolerances for the head unit itself.

    8. Missing avatar

      Paul Warner on

      All will be good - glad to see the updates with photos.

    9. Missing avatar

      Martijn on

      Why not simply bypass the whole issue and do like is fairly common? PCB+glass... Seems like a no-brainer to me?

      I'm a fair noob with 3d printing, but I'm not sure what the added value is of a bonded alu plate solution?

    10. Missing avatar

      Mike Doragh on

      @Erik. I like the sound of @Marcin's idea. Rout out the pcb. If the trace is a zig-zag up one side, then zig-zag back down the other. Then you can rout horizontal slots between the zig-zag traces and a vertical slot up the middle between the two sides. That way the pcb can flex both ways, such that it will contain the expansion without warping the metal plate (as long as glue also has some flex).

    11. Felix G. on

      @Marcin Nowak: We went from working prototype in 2017 that was ready for production into "something" that will be delivered in 2019. Either the creator overstated his skills, or we will get something inferior.

    12. Missing avatar

      Marcin Nowak on

      @Felix G. - why creator should do that... Even if creator would decide that this thing will "not fly". He has no reason to give someone "way to exit". Anyone backed a idea, and idea is perfect... 99$ 3d printer, and the creator is on his way to accomplish it. Yes, it is taking him longer. Yes, he changed design few times. So what... This is kickstarter it "will fly" and You will get 3d printer really cheap or You get nothing, and great thanks from creator to sponsor him on his way.

    13. Felix G. on

      @creator: Since it looks like this printer is going to be quite different as to what has been advertised (delivery time is going to be 2019, general quality will be different-trade-offs-, maybe some "overoptimism" over your skills,...), why not offer a way to exit your project for those wanting to do it ?

    14. Glint on

      I have to admit, hand waving the wavy/warped base plate away as "we have active Z levelling" is a deal breaker for me.

      Sure the head will always be the correct distance from the plate, but the nice flat surface on the base of my 3D model, isnt going to have a nice flat surface when it finishes is it? Its going to have a nicely warped/wavy surface.

      I originally backed this printer as a nice cheap "play at home" printer I could share with my daughter as she was getting into Science and Engineering at Primary school.... well that ship has long since sailed... All the promises about limiting the number of printers so you could ship on time etc... Its getting harder and harder to be even a little excited about this printer. Its like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, its always "just a little further over the next hill"

    15. Missing avatar

      Larry on

      All excerpts from main page:

      The pitch:

      We are confident we can deliver 2000 printers per month, starting in September. For this reason we are limiting rewards to this many printers. If they sell out we will add additional reward tiers for the following months - so the sooner you back, the sooner you get your printer! (sic)
      ( Kickstarter Main Page)

      The Pitch (Part 2)

      We may have mentioned, we're super serious about delivering on time - which means we have to lock in a design by July 1.(2017) To do that we need to not just lock down the basic design, but things like the mounting for the laser, connector types, finishes and tolerances. This means when something isn't quite right we document it while we fix it, and we fix it in a way that is sustainable through the production process. We have to do this now, and with every iteration, because we want to deliver on time.(sic)
      ( June 17/2017)

      The Slider:
      We've spent over a year on the design, finding the right balance between cost and function, and inventing a few new ways to do things along the way. Our printer uses tried and true technology, with some simple innovations, to deliver a high quality printer for $99 - no tricks! (sic)

      "Driven by precision lead screws and stepper motors."

      Unexpected challenges can and do arise, and while we have lots of experience and have padded our timeline to account for surprises, most importantly we will be transparent and keep you informed every step of the way.(sic)

      The Reality...
      ( Excerpts from Update #50 Aug.07/18

      ...- the part can be made such that the bearing can snap in and be secured by zip ties - this also makes for a simpler mold as well. This does change the belt path but in order to keep the belts straight where they need to be - ....(sic)

      {now, belts and zip ties!}

      ...- they identified an issue (you can see it if you look carefully) that they had an easy suggestion to solve - the heat beds aren't very flat (actually they are just ever so slightly wavy - but relative to nice dead flat PCB that the factory is used to) and that's OK because we have active z leveling...(sic)

      {wavy base/ wavy build...but we won't fix it..
      We Have Band-Aids!}

      Nothing has ever been truthful...your own words create your own noose.
      A quality lead screws design that had been worked on for a year... Previous to beginning the Kickstarter campaign...has no possible life. Wow, explain that to me(sic)

      It is great to get updates from you, the laughter. I feel as I am putting on my BS protective gear is great....I had better enjoy it, as I will NEVER receive the unit I signed up for... that I may someday receive...delivered post-haste by a team of unicorns towing Speed Racer's Mach 5.

      For those of you who wish to reply or comment...I'm sorry, I'm no longer drinking the koolaid, so please feel free to share with those that still do.

    16. Sean Flood, Expiric on

      Thanks for the update and I am glad to see the obvious improvement in quality, it gives me more confidence that the finished product will be robust and reliable. I am happy to wait for a good result. Some of us are not in the USA, If spares are needed during the life of the product will the print files & circuit diagrams be available?

    17. Missing avatar

      Marcin Nowak on

      For that bimetal like issue with hotbed i would contact factory to rout out from pcbs small gaps than there would be enough space for termo expansion. And use silicone adhesives so glue can compensate for the heat expansion

    18. Missing avatar

      Marcin Nowak on

      Hmm for that bimetal like issue that you have with heat bed. I would just contact factorry to

    19. Missing avatar

      Herbert on

      A warped heatbed / build plate ist definitely sub standard - basically even to any other low cost printer you can buy out there. I would be deeply disappointed if you just go along with the warped heat bed, hoping to cancel this out with active z-probing. Not only will this lead to al lot of noise and constant z-movement (thus stress on the z-steppers), it will also most certainly not fully cancel out the warping in the printed object, thus leading to 100% of sub standard output. I'd call that a showstopper. We have been told, that you rather redesign stuff than to accept mediocre quality, as your future depends on that (your own words). A warped heatbed + a workaround does really not fit into the "it will be all great quality" message.

      Generally I'm rather disappointed by how incomplete even the design of this machine is after a whole year, when you advertised the campaign with an almost complete prototype. Months ago we were told that the printer is almost ready to ship, that all the testing had been done and everything was basically production ready. None of that can have been true, as we are now learning, as central parts of this printer have not even been designed or produced. And all this, because higher quality rods would have been too expensive in the first place? It seems, that the complete redesign was the far more costly choice... but we will never know what that was really all about. Redesigned it is. Period.

      The mimimal steps in the updates mean, that we can have easily have at least another 25 of those updates (equaling another year or so) before the printer becomes a more or less complete product.

      Shipping in September? Either you have left out "2019" or this is not really to be taken serious. My personal estimate was Christmas (2018) so far, but I even doubt that this is a realistic time frame now, as nothing is complete or has been tested in a final assembly. A lot of teething problems and bugs will turn up, as we are just now entering the test phase for real. And I for one will not be surprised if we are askeds more and more often to swallow some serios quality problems - after being told for one year how exceptional the quality of the build one will be. Reality will catch up, basic problems will be too costly to be really fixed, the quality of some suppliers will be just not satisfactory - so one workaround after the other will be presented, a lot of promised features and quality will go the way of the Dodo (will it really get a working laser? an adequately working dual extruder?) before this machine is mass produced.

      Overall it seems that the Buildone has been set to the back burner for quite a while. Yes it progresses, but in absolutely minimal steps - are people really working full time on this project? It's hard to believe. All of the things happening right now should have happended at least half a year ago. I can understand that there must be other, more lucrative jobs to pursue, and you do have a family. But why not be open about it?
      A lot of the info we have been fed over the last months (especially the older progress reports from 2017) smell very fishy in the light of the actual progress - none of those estimates *could* have been realistic. The two possible honest reasons for that are equally not flattering.

      I do understand (after almost a hundred backed projects and six years on KS) that at Kickstarter the bar is really low for what is considered good project management and communication (if the creator does not simply take off with the money 2/3 of the backers seem to be are happy as a clam, basic communication once about every month is the cream on top), but compared to any commercial level of project management - I'm less and less impressed.

      I will say though, that this seems to get better bit by bit since a couple of weeks ago, and someday there will be a 3D printer on my doortstep - but I rather don't want to speculate about it's real quality, ease of use and durability - and certainly not about the fact if I will still need it then, because it seems futile to hold off the purchase of (another) 3D Printer that is available right now, if I want to print some stuff before this year is out. I waited for over a year - this is just not practical any more.

      Even if KS is not a shop (I have to be reminded, newbe that I am), the biggest mistake you made was leading this campaign on the promise of a quick delivery of an existing prototype that printed stuff, which you demonstrated plenty in a lot of videos. The disappointed customer base was guaranteed with the complete redesign from scratch. You should have offered to stop the campaign, pay out everybody (minus the ~10% KS skimmed off the top), and start a new campaign for a completely new 3D core XY Printer. *Then* people would have known what they are in for and the timeframe would have been acceptable.

      This project became more a paid learning journey for me in dos & don'ts of project management, than a project to deliver a 3D printer - but in all honesty, I have had quite enough of those on KS already.

    20. Shawn McNaughton on

      Re: Philip's suggestion: Instead of thermal paste, you might also consider a thermal pad, like:

      I would think this might have a small advantage in that it won't run the risk of drying out. I've used this on an nVME SSD before, and it felt reasonably pliable. It was also very effective at transferring heat from the SSD chips to the metal heatsink.

      This might also be easier to get consistent assembly with than thermal paste. I think there would be a lower risk of hot spots, no major spread issues, etc.

      I'd still recommend some sort of attachment as well - the pads are generally adhesive, but I'm not sure I'd want to rely on it for mechanical adhesion. Even SSD heatsinks usually accomodate a screw hole here.

    21. Missing avatar

      PaulP on

      another non-expert question: won't the differential expansion/contraction with repeat heat/cooling cycles cause these layers to separate, or (worse) the fibreglass in the PCB to crack and thus break the copper traces and make it inoperable?

    22. Missing avatar

      Patrick Lavoie on

      I'm not an expert, but if the bed is warped, this is not okay, even with an auto level sensor. For example you print a perfect cube on a warped bed, the cube won't be perfect but warped too.

      Is it common to have a PCB on the bed instead of a thin heating element?

    23. Missing avatar

      Leon Stankowski on


      If the print bed ends up warped or "wavy" so that prints likewise telegraph that non-flatness this will be a deal breaker for me. I expect to be able to print near perfect parts that snap or glue together, sometimes without outside formed parts.

      Philip Miller and Covent both has some reasonable suggestions for corrections.


    24. Missing avatar

      Philip Miller on


      It appears to me from the photo that the CTE difference between the aluminum and the PCB is causing the warping. (It looks warped not wavy.) I presume it's bonded at a high temperature and then cooled to room temp.

      One solution is to try for a thinner PCB as you pointed out: the thinner PCB will be weaker mechanically and so it will not exert as much force on the aluminum which will warp less.

      Another option is to bond the two materials together with something that allows motion. E.g., slotted holes for mechanical bonding and thermal paste for thermal bonding. (Woodworkers use slotted holes for mounting aprons to tables to accommodate the shrink/swell during humidity changes.)

      Another option would be use a thermally conductive pressure sensitive adhesive.…

      I'm not sure if this is the best PSA for the job. I'd contact 3M's tech service to get their advice if you're interested.

      Finally... If the source of the problem is CTE mismatch as I suspect, the plate will flatten out again when you heat it up back to the bonding temperature. If that's close to 100C then it's kind of a machs nicht problem; the plate will be flat upon use. (Well, for ABS. For PLA maybe not...)

      Just my 2 cents.


    25. Missing avatar

      Hendrik on

      Yeah I think it would be nice to hear in the updates if you still believe that you are on track with your last estimations for a shipping date. Since you are still working on redesigning some parts I'm not so sure if I should still expect the product to be finished within september.

    26. Missing avatar

      nico0807 on

      Even if I still think that I'm going to receive my printer, I have to say that this project was managed extremely poorly, it started by being a extremely simple basic printer, fully lead screw based (which is what made me join) using almost 100% of the shelf parts.
      And since the end of the campaign, it has been fully redesigned to be yet another cheap belt driven printer with over engineered parts (3 PCBs for the basic features !?) that is still facing issues that have been addressed for years even by hobbyists.
      Considering the current development stage, i'm not expecting anything before next year, the certification stage being nowhere close to even starting it might be end of next year.
      I still hope they make me lie

    27. Teman H. Cooke on

      I'd just like to reiterate what Shawn said -- this is my first experience with 3D printing, and while I am surprised (and perhaps a bit dismayed) by the number of delays, I would rather get a printer that is dependable and rugged (especially in the face of the mistakes I'm certain to make) than one that comes out fast. I'm still very much looking forward to eventually trying out my first 3D print!

    28. Missing avatar

      Wayne Knight on

      I am still optimistic that we will get a printer. With this amount of time already invested in the project and still at a point where people are being asked to help in the design; any optimism about a reasonable time frame for delivering is gone.

    29. Missing avatar

      Bob Cunningham on

      I believe it is important to first assume that the carriage will be the one part of the B1 likely to see the most mods. It should be designed and built to support such mods, not frustrate them. (This would also facilitate any Robotic Industries after-sale upgrade plans.)

      I, for one, will be immediately modifying my B1 to support either dual independent hotends or a Cyclops hotend. I'd much prefer to leave the factory bearing holder and alignment untouched, letting me avoid complete X axis deconstruction just to modify the hotend.

      I'd suggest a two-part carriage, with the bearings and a "generic" mounting plate supporting s specific adapter/mounting block for the carriage payload(s).

      Please think of the "Factory B1" as a starting place for the user, not the end of the line. If a B1 backer designs a killer carriage upgrade, it should not be a huge issue for less mechanically-inclined owners to print and install it.

      That does bring up a minor secondary concern: Ensure the entire carriage fits within the B1 build volume, again to facilitate self-printed mods.

      This is not intended to be a show-stopper observation, just something to consider during the carriage redesign.

    30. CK Lai on

      Sorry, I know this may seem like a very silly question but: am I supposed to assemble the printer myself from the parts provided? Or does it come already assembled?

    31. Shawn McNaughton on

      What is the cost, power usage, airflow, static presure like on the fan? I'm wondering if assembly could be simplified using something like:

      If the smaller (20mmX20mm) blower can produce enough airflow without disrupting the print, then that cone can be smaller (assuming that helps with the blower). The blower could be mounted on the PCB to simplify assembly and prevent alignment issues.

      As for the frustration... On the one hand, 'Perfect is the enemy of good' - i.e., at some point it needs to ship. On the other hand, this will be many people's first experience with a 3D printer, and reducing frustrations will help ensure people stick with 3D printing. At least you're communicating and soliciting help, which gives backers confidence. (I've backed your previous projects, so I have a bit more faith myself.)

    32. Missing avatar

      Convent on

      Just one comment regarding the "wave" issue with the bed, why not using a thin layer of glass instead of Aluminum? like Ultimaker does with his heated bed.
      For the rest keep on going, I'm sure the final product will be amazing.
      It is hard to say that now (after almost 1 year delay) but please take time to make a nice finished product

    33. Missing avatar

      Ian Gibson on

      I confess to being less than supportive in the past, with little in the way of update progress, but I now have new hope that the project will actually turn into a real physical item one of these days.
      Good to see real photos of stuff looking like real deliverables.
      Keep on keeping on with this current impetus! And updates, of course! 😁

    34. Michael Stapleton on

      You have a daunting task. Some people are frustrated by the delays. I am happy that you are only moving forward when the quality is adequate. We all learn when we move our way through projects. Stay with it as it looks like things are working out for the better.

    35. Missing avatar

      Michael Buell on

      How long doesvit takes. I think FakeNews.

    36. Missing avatar

      William Ritchie on

      It’s great that we’re 14 months into this and you’re designing the printer