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Tiko is the 3D printer you’ve been waiting for. Simple, accessible, and dependable, all for a pledge of $179.
Tiko is the 3D printer you’ve been waiting for. Simple, accessible, and dependable, all for a pledge of $179.
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16,538 backers pledged $2,950,874 to help bring this project to life.

It's Been HOW Long??

Posted by Tiko 3D (Creator)
324 likes

Wait, it's only been a month!? Guess it’s true what Einstein said about time - when you move fast it slows down. And boy, have we been rocketing through our to-do lists! You could say we're.. relatively awesome! :)

Seriously speaking, it's remarkable how much has happened in the past month. While Tiko is minimal as far as 3D printers go, it's pretty complex by typical consumer-product standards, and there are a ton of interdependent parts that have to be prepared for production. 

It’s not easy, but with a great deal of planning, hard work from the team, and lots of quick decision making we’ve been tearing a whole through spacetime since our last update! Wait, what year is it… 

Playing on Home Turf 

 Guess who’s in China right now? This guy!

Thanks to your overwhelming support, we were able to do something amazing - we sent Mike to China to oversee production! This is a huge boost towards our ability to deliver on schedule. As you can imagine, manufacturing a product on the opposite end of the globe brings with it a plethora of challenges. But not for us, ha! 

Mike currently has a temporary office within our Tier 1 manufacturer’s facility, and he’s been driving/flying around the country like mad visiting all of our Tier 2 and 3 suppliers. We can’t even begin to tell you how many little problems he's solved on the spot, days and even weeks ahead of what could be done otherwise. 

He is moving mountains over there!

Chassis Overload!

With all of the chassis tool troubles out of the way, we could finally make a sample run to double and triple check the tolerances of the chassis, and run tests to ensure fit and compatibility with other components. This means we can begin tooling the last of our custom parts, woo-hoo!

Above you can see a few of the twenty-odd unibodies we just received today. Tiko is multiplying!

G-Force? More like T-Force! 

Remember the photo on our campaign page of our end-effector accelerometer? Well, for a long time we yearned to put that sucker onto a flexible PCB, but we weren’t sure we could justify the added cost. But, with larger orders come lower production costs, and we used that in numerous ways to subtly improve Tiko beyond even what we had created in the prototyping phase. 

In the case of the accelerometer, this new configuration brings with it a number of advantages including better signal integrity, one less connection that could fail, and a reduction in stiffness of the end-effector wiring harness. And it's so tiny!! 

Motors! Zoom zoom zoom!

What, you thought we were done at the accelerometers? Pfft no way! Seriously, we used the added resources to put a ton of icing on the Tiko cake, making Tiko more awesome in subtle ways that wouldn’t jeopardize the price or delivery schedule. Check out our sample run of motors... what's so special about them, you ask? Let's take a trip down memory lane...

During the campaign a number of backers expressed concerns about the small stepper motors we’re using inside Tiko. Let’s face it, we saw it coming. We used motors that - although more suitable for a compact, lightweight, and energy efficient 3D printer like Tiko - would be compared directly against the beast-like and painfully expensive Nema-series motors used in old-school 3D printers. 

The concerns were always about two factors: Speed, and motor lifespan – both of which are directly dependent on the gears inside the motor housing. So... we pounced on it! 

For a little extra cost and the time it took for tooling, we worked with our motor supplier to improve these little motors just for Tiko. We came up with a customized gear ratio that significantly improves speed without affecting resolution, and we use higher quality gears with a hardened material that improves lifespan. High five!

And these are just two of the many subtle improvements we’ve made to Tiko thanks to your mega-support, and boy, if you could see our R&D list your jaw would drop. We never stop innovating, ever! 


Slicing Engine

When we think of an engine, we think of a 200lb, 19,000 RPM 2.4L V8. And it is in that image that we've been building Tiko's one-of-a-kind STL file slicing engine.

It's come a long way since its inception, with some pretty clever and efficient algorithms used to make it run like nothing we've seen before. 

We've been testing a variety of edge cases, but it's proving to be a lean, mean, slicing machine! Thus far our benchmarks indicate it could -even in it's final production form- be an order of magnitude faster than any other slicer we've come across. Boo-ya! 


So... Much... More!

There are so many little accomplishments every day here at Tiko. In fact there's so much, it's just too much to cover in depth, and most of it is top secret anyway, we're mysterious like that. :)

Rest assured, dearest backers, remarkable things are happening here, and your Tiko is well on its way to being realized. And this is just the start!

Ahh, we can't wait! Thank you all for your support and continued enthusiasm, you guys are the best!

Cheers!

Team Tiko

Garrett Lavin, Chip Dickerson, and 322 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Tyler Moran on

      Will we get an updated print video showing the faster speed of the new motor design?

    2. Missing avatar

      JoAnn Johnson on

      Are there any plans for Tiko to take input directly from 3d CAD modeling software? Will a STL export from CAD be the only supported interface or will there be a direct-from-CAD connection (at release or in the future roadmap) similar to this: http://3dprint.com/71713/stratasys-ptc-creo-software?

      Keith

    3. William Bruchert on

      "...we’ve been tearing a whole through spacetime..."

      Tearing a whole what? ;)

    4. RoyT on

      @creator
      Good to hear. I also suspected heat as an issue. Just torture test the heck out of the flex pcb.

      Also I wonder if these things are meant to flex once to fit a specific space and then retain that shape forever more? Aye, but our little beastie will flex like a drunken Scot on the end of a wee wandering effector. (as Commander Scott might say).

    5. Tiko 3D Creator on

      Hey guys!

      Thank you for all the kind words, indeed this update felt great on our end too. Isn't it awesome to be here in passenger seat with us!?

      Thanks for the link and info RoyT! We did some research and checked out some cases of flexible PCB failure, and it looks like it's usually either due to excessive temperatures or due to tight bends. Neither one occurs in Tiko, so we should be A-okay! either way, testing will reveal any weak points.

      @Chrstopher Fry - That's a very interesting point, but don't forget that being a great engineer isn't just about having answers - it's about asking the right questions! Tiko shows enough to arouse curiosity, but still leaves a bit to the imagination. That said, you're not the first person to ask, so we'll give it some thought!

      @Jenna Fox - Motors are not particularly easy to replace. Generally speaking Tiko wasn't designed with maintenance/serviceability (outside of nozzle swaps) in mind, but if you experience a motor failure and request a new one from us so you can fix it yourself, you'll get one. :) Also, Tiko will indeed update itself with the latest firmware if you keep it connected to the internet, and it is indeed able to operate directly as well.

      All the best!

      Team Tiko

    6. RoyT on

      I recall tiko saying for most repair/replace, you have to send the printer back to them so the motors may not be a user serviceable item.

    7. Missing avatar

      Paul A. on

      To be fair, by the time my Tiko is out of guarantee, I would imagine the 3D printing landscape to be very competitive - far more than now.

    8. Missing avatar

      Paul A. on

      I would expect the motors to last at least one year or be replaced FOC. I don't generally buy equipment with breakdowns in mind. If Tiko's motors died 366 days in, I'd just have to buy replacements from Tiko. I can't imagine they are going to be vastly more expensive than comparable units.

    9. Phoenix Fox on

      I have two main questions:
      -> Before when you were using generic motors, I liked it because it seemed when they fail they would be pretty easy to replace. Now with the custom gear ratio, what happens when they wear out? Will you have spare motors available cheaply along side common consumables like the nozzle? Could you have an advanced gear ratio setting so we can use other motors if yours become unavailable in the future?

      -> The Tiko itself serves up a web UI with a javascript slicer, right? That's awesome that it will work offline, as Australia has very unreliable internet. Will the Tiko get regular software updates, to improve the slicer? My Makerbot Rep2 has become a much better printer through slicer and firmware updates over it's life with me, so I hope Tiko will do the same!

      I am very excited to get my Tiko. I currently have a Makerbot Replicator 2, and it's great, but it's so noisy and takes up so much space and is so difficult to interface with (no wifi, bad software) I'm very excited to start optimising my designs for tiko rather than makerbot with my open source models if it lives up to the hype! (I'm @Bluebie on thingiverse)

    10. Sharad Mulchand on

      Thanks guys, this is the best update I have seen in all the projects I have backed on Kickstarter!

    11. RoyT on

      @christopher
      Have you looked at the video on the main kickstarter page? It clearly shows the head dropping down into a clear space during the print.

      Did you mean some other component?

    12. Darrell on

      Nice update, now I feel said I dropped my backing at the end. The motors were the main reason why I dropped my Dec spot good to hear you are working to improve this. Keep up the good work!

    13. Peter Tosi on

      Awesome update

    14. Missing avatar

      Simon Henry on

      Cool update.but what I liked even more is your attitude to being told one off your parts may be flawed.
      That sort of open minded approach Really fulls me with confidence.

    15. Missing avatar

      Steven Taitinger on

      I appreciate your humour in the latest update :). Relatively awesome indeed. I like emails that make me laugh. So far I think yours was the only one!

    16. Missing avatar

      Chrstopher Fry on

      Tiko is a great machine for education because of its low cost, reliability due to few moving parts, and accuracy of prints due to reduced need to calibrate. Education is not just about designing parts and seeing them print. It's about understanding how the printer works. With a delta architecture, this is both clever and interesting but a bit hard to grasp. Students being able to see the movement of the head clearly would help education. Right now the body is not transparent so this won't be possible. Making a clear body could open up a huge market for Tiko and greatly help the next generation of makers. I understand this might add a few bucks to the cost of the machine. I'd happily pay this for my own (existing) order. My guess is that the increased volume from school purchasers would ultimately more than compensate, but regardless, I bet they'd be willing to pay a few more bucks too.

    17. Missing avatar

      Victor Vescovo on

      Best. Kickstarter. Update. Ever.

    18. Lothar on

      @RoyT,
      the end-effector accelerometer is no power part as the hotend, the pic looks like there has been a massive shortcut. With the TIKO there is no direct heat involved and no screw or washer across power lines.

    19. Missing avatar

      John Pfeiffer on

      @RoyT
      The accelerometer is to monitor movement of the printer for safety purposes, I seriously doubt they're going to stuff it into the middle of the hotend assembly. And even if they did, Polyimide films like Dupont Kapton-- the standard substrate for flexible circuitry --is good to a minimum of 360°C...by which time the hotend is already completely boned because all the PTFE will have melted at around 325°C. :P

      The More You Know ☆彡

    20. Lothar on

      @The Creators,
      looking at the "powerful slicing machine", is it possible, in the far future, to use the slicer for other delta printers as an external program?

    21. Missing avatar

      James
      Superbacker
      on

      I've backed many projects (116 so far!). This is the best update by far. Energy. Getting things done. Communication. Direct. #puttingotherstoshame

      More please, and power to you

    22. RoyT on

      Google "makibox hot end failure".

      Here is pic of flex pcb
      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kEsr92I8l38/UyiO_eUJGeI/AAAAAAAAPzM/2-U-eixt3jc/s1600/P1120730.JPG

      It was part of hot end assembly. Reports of broken circuit traces. Maybe heat issue? Maybe too much inertia from hot end moving in x/y? People trying to clear nozzle clog could also break by accident.

    23. Pat M.
      Superbacker
      on

      Awesome @TIKO3D. It's really impressive to see the advancements you made. Keep on with this incredible work. Can't wait for the next update and now it's even harder to wait for my TIKO :)

    24. Pascal Achermann on

      i like you updates :) thx!

    25. Barrett Dent on

      Thank you! This is a superb update. Kudos for both keeping us well informed and including relevant images. Keep bringing us updates like this one. Thanks Team Tiko!

    26. Missing avatar

      David Williams on

      I bought the Tiko for use at my school here, the students have loved these updates and we have been sharing our thoughts on development; you are inspiring a lot of future engineers with these great quality updates.

    27. Tiko 3D Creator on

      Wow, thank you for all of the kind words! It means a lot to us to know we're making you proud! :)

      That said, couple of things we should address:

      @RoyT - Yikes! We haven't heard of flexible circuits failing before, except when they are bent around a very tight radius - something which Tiko doesn't do. Could you link us to any specific cases, we looked around and couldn't find any.

      Either way these flexible circuits will be subjected to considerable testing before being released into the wild, but the more we can learn from previous failures the better.

      @Wouter - Although we did indeed mention we'll be certifying Tiko, one thing we didn't mention in this update is that we've already started planning out the certification process in detail. If planned correctly it can be a quick and painless process, so we're getting a head start on that.

      In fact we're also working with a few certification bodies right now to put together a short-list of potential certification risks so we can get out in front of them and make sure Tiko doesn't just meet the standards, but far exceeds them.

      We hope you guys know how much we appreciate your feedback! We're a smart bunch, but no matter how good we are there is always that slight chance that we might overlook something, so your comments and feedback keep us sharp and ensure we've got our bases covered.

      Thank you for being a part of this project, and thank you for your support!!

      Team Tiko

    28. Lothar on

      Great update!
      I can't await printing Tiko.

    29. Keith Baker on

      Great update looking forward to it. Any ideas on UK shipping yet?

    30. Don Hering on

      Sounds very promising! So where does all of this put our eta on printers? I want/need it now or I might follow the T-Rex off the cliff!!!!!!!

    31. Missing avatar

      Wouter van Putten on

      Thanks RoyT! That is good news!

    32. Missing avatar

      Rupek on

      congrats, guys.
      It's very interesting to follow your inprovements "on the go".
      Great Job!
      I am like so many followers: I can't wait to have THE Tiko printer in my hands...

    33. Aerdna Iradon on

      What to say? Great work. Great Team.

    34. Missing avatar

      Glenn on

      Excellent work! I'm impressed!
      It's so good to see that you're "re-inventing" it as you go, that's maybe the best way to quality check every step.
      I would love to see that R&D list! :)

      Maybe, without too much work, you could have a live graphical timeline on the progress? It would be cool to see where you expect to be on the next weeks until first delivery, and where you are at the moment. So a progress on the current task(s) and an overall progress.

      Maybe that's too much to ask, but I'd be interested in "watching" the progress of Tiko. It's such an interesting project!

    35. RoyT on

      @wouter
      Your question was answered last April.

      Here's the link http://www.tiko3d.com/forum/viewtopic.php…

    36. Christian Reichel on

      Can't wait to get this beauty in my hands. These news are awesome! You guys rock!

    37. Ed Bond on

      thanks for the clear and detailed update, really interesting to hear how you are getting on!

    38. Felix G. on

      The guides are still blurred on the chassis. I'm now even more curious to discover their shape... I'm also eager to discover your slicer !

      Like another backer already said, please look at the (unfortunately) defunct MakiBox printer. They failed because they has a lot of problems, but one of them was the use of a flexible pcb which failed pretty quickly.

    39. Missing avatar

      VW on

      Thumbs up to Team Tiko! Great update with positive energies. Thanks

    40. Teshia Lyndall on

      This made my day, I can't wait for this! I already have friends begging time for the printer. XD It's still a long way off, but the anticipation alone is worth it.

    41. Missing avatar

      Wouter van Putten on

      Great stuff guys. Cant wait to receive the tiko. One thing that worries me is the following: will it be properly certified? From another project I hear horor stories that german customs leave you the choice destruction or return of the product as it doesn't carry the CE mark.

      And we don't want our beloved Tikos to be destroyed by customs now do we.

      If you could look into this that would be great for my peace of mind.

      Thanks,
      Wouter

    42. Missing avatar

      wilbert brennan on

      You guys are all kinds of awesome. My son (8 and very into robotics) can't wait for the tiko to arrive so we can get to work creating.

    43. Matthew Dabrowski on

      We can't compete with slicing engines of that magnitude!

    44. Vince on

      Great Job! This will be my 3rd successful 3D Printer campaign, I've backed so far!

    45. *James A on

      Awesome update. Great progress. Thank you!

    46. Missing avatar

      Dirk Schreckenbach on

      Huge pleasure to be a part of your young innovative Team. Can't wait to have the 'Beast' on my Desk!!

    47. Missing avatar

      Greg Saenz on

      You guys rock!! Love the updates!!

    48. Nick D. Clements
      Superbacker
      on

      All other Kickstarters need to take note... that's how you do an update!

    49. Missing avatar

      Margaret Balazs on

      Thanks for the update. As a backer, this is how we feel like part of the project. Great work team Tiko!

    50. Missing avatar

      Bdtry on

      Amazing update guys. The improved parts is a nice bonus for sure.