Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
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.
Created by
16,538 backers pledged $2,950,874 to help bring this project to life.

La Revolución

Posted by Tiko 3D (Creator)
254 likes

Hey everyone, hope you’re enjoying the warm weather! 

You may recall that a little under a month ago we started testing the new parts on a half-dozen printers. Since then, we’ve retrofitted the full TikoWall with new parts and scaled up our evaluation process. Last week we mentioned (in the comments) that our target RTM date was May 9th, however now that we’re here, we feel there are still some fixes to implement and data to collect before taking the big plunge.

Therefore, while we press forward with testing, we’d like to share something even cooler – the process itself, and why it takes so long. Many of you have asked us exactly how and what we’re testing, so today is your lucky day. Without further adieu, let’s go for a tour of the TikoWall! 

How to Make a Reliable 3D Printer

Step One: Identify Failure Modes 

A long long time ago, we started by identifying all of the possible ways that Tiko could fail. Traditionally, that is done with an FMEA (Failure Mode & Effect Analysis), which is basically just a list of all possible ways a component/system could fail.

As popular as it is, an FMEA requires an active imagination, and it’s all too easy to miss a whole bunch of non-obvious failure modes. So the first thing we did was to completely re-think the traditional FMEA, and created something we call a Matrix-Driven FMEA (MD-FMEA)… and it’s pretty rad. 

In our MD-FMEA we list every single component inside Tiko as both a column and a row. Then, at each intersecting cell, we list all of the possible ways the two components could interact that would result in some kind of failure. ie, the connecting arms could pinch the power cable, the Bowden tube could snag on a motor, etc. It’s sort of like a multiplication table, and it helps us predict (and prevent) literally hundreds of possible failure modes that would have been missed in a traditional FMEA. 

As if this isn’t cool enough, we made separate MD-FMEA’s for Mechanical, Electrical, Thermal, and Chemical failure modes We consider each category separately to even better catch any difficult-to-predict problems. We’re pretty serious about never being caught off-guard again. Now as we do this, we rank and color each failure mode by its likelihood and its severity, as follows: 

 The result is an MD-FMEA helps us rapidly identify an unparalleled number of failure modes and prioritize them for testing. 

Step 2: Create Tests 

Now that we know all of the ways a Tiko could theoretically fail, we systematically create tests for each of them. Basically, we come up with the conditions most likely to cause each failure to occur. Screws shaking loose? We make the motors vibrate. EMI interference between heater and board? Crank the power up and sweep through a bunch of PWM frequencies. These are just a couple of easy examples, but the test plan itself is quite complex.

We then arrange the tests so that we start with the most severe/likely tests firsts, and work our way to the most benign/unlikely, trying to save the possibly-destructive ones for last. Check it out, here’s a sneak peek of the TikoWall test plan: 

With a test plan in hand, we then...

Step 3: Run Tests

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Controlling one hundred WiFi devices from a single point is exactly as hard as it sounds. Obviously, controlling them one at a time would have been impractical, so we created an entire UI from scratch just so we could send commands / receive data to the whole TikoWall as quickly as possible. Check it out: 

Each of these boxes represents a Tiko on the TikoWall. Notice there are 5 rows, with 20 boxes each, just like the wall. Using this UI, we send simple G-Code instructions and/or entire G-Code files to any/all of the Tiko printers, while requesting specific data from them to speed up the debugging process. We're also able to see which printers are online, whether or not they have up-to-date firmware, whether or not they’ve passed self-diagnostics, what auto-level plane they’ve detected, etc. All in real time. It’s an awesome tool.

Unfortunately, one of our biggest challenges is getting printers to simultaneously come and stay online. It’s incredibly difficult for a WiFi router to maintain communication with over one hundred unique devices, so we typically control the TikoWall one row at a time. It’s a bit time consuming, but we’re working on it. 

Step 4 – Analyze Results

Every time a test is run, we have to check that each Tiko performed as expected. If not, we flag them with cards and begin debugging. Sometimes it’s a hardware problem, sometimes it’s a software/firmware problem, and getting to the bottom of it can take several hours. Once we do find a problem, we design/implement a fix, and repeat.

As you can imagine, this makes testing a rather time-consuming process, but it’s worth it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so we’re out to find every possible failure mode before these Tikos are out in the real world.

The Results Are In…conclusive

So the big question is, what have we found so far? Although the half-dozen printers from the last update ran perfectly, we now have a hundred up there… So did any new issues crop up? 

Well, as can be expected, a few problems arose. Luckily these issues are minor and relatively quick/easy to solve. In fact, all will be solved by next week. To give you a quick run-down:

Carriage Ball Joint Neck – Turns out the neck on the carriage ball joints is a bit thick, which sometimes restricts the connecting arm's range of motion, causing problems at the extremities of the print envelope. Otherwise, they work just fine. It’s a relatively straightforward adjustment to the mold, and we should have new & improved ones in next week. 

Wires Shaking Loose – We used simple pin headers for connecting the heaters/microswitches to the PCB, and after extended periods of vibration, they sometimes came loose. The solution is simple: we’re switching to locking connectors. We’ve implemented these on one board… so just 99 left to go. :)

Bowden Tube Pops Out of Fitting – The new extruder fitting wasn’t sized properly, allowing the Bowden tube to occasionally pop out from the stresses of extrusion. The connectors have already been adjusted to better clamp the flare, and we’re just waiting to receive them here at HQ. 

Extruder Motor Insufficient Torque – In a few of the printers, the extruder motors either didn’t have the torque to push the filament through, or we had to overdrive them. The added heat softened the filament, making it unextrudeable. Tiko has a relatively strong extruder motor, but a tall gear ratio for quick loading/unloading of filament, and it looks like we've sacrificed a bit too much torque and got too close to that fine line, so we’ll just switch to a torquier gear ratio and call it a day. We can still test the extruder in the meantime, we just have to give it cool-down periods. Lame.

Base Substrate Adhesion – Not a real “flaw” per se, but rather a particularly inconvenient mix-up where we ordered 100+ units of the base with an incorrect substrate material, which has poor adhesion compared to the material we’ve been using (in small scale) for the last few months. It’s not impossible to print on it, but it has effectively made print-testing en-masse impractical, because the prints keep coming off the beds. The replacements are due to arrive next week. In the meantime, we’re running pseudo-prints (basically, giant messy cobwebs) to keep the kinematic assembly/liquefier/extruder busy with something. The more hours we put on them, the better the data. We’re just trying to find Tiko’s weak spots, so we don’t need to print physical objects to do that. Oh, but how we want to! 

And that’s it! 

So, no, Tiko is not yet ready for shelves, however the great news is that all of the old - much more serious - problems are gone. We haven’t seen a liquefier jam in over a month, a carriage has not gotten stuck, the accelerometers have proven bulletproof, and the improved extruder inlet receives filament with ease.

Basically, we’ve solved the big problems, not seen any new big ones, and now we’re ironing out the easy stuff. It’s really exciting to be at this level. So, where do we go from here? 

90% Done, 90% Left to Go. 

It seems like we've been testing forever now, but as you can see it’s a time consuming process and we’re not yet finished, especially since we need to implement the fixes and re-test the new & improved parts.

We’ve also run some full-on print tests, but because of timelines and the base adhesion issue, we’ve only put a few hundred print-hours through the TikoWall. That just isn’t enough to call Tiko “ready”, so we need more time. We’re confident that two weeks is enough. Meanwhile, we’ve got other things happening too… 

Regulatory Testing 

Another thing worth mentioning is that we’re almost two weeks into official regulatory testing, and we have not experienced any significant issues. 

We have to add some safety markings near the motors/liquefier, and implement a watchdog timer into our firmware to pass the EFT (Electrical Fast Transient) test, but otherwise it’s been smooth sailing. Not to say we got lucky – we spent months reviewing designs with regulatory officials and pre-testing Tiko at accredited facilities. Because of this we caught a number of problems long before committing to formal testing. Ah, we love it when a plan comes together. :)

The final results won’t come in for another week or two, but it’s looking pretty good!

Spring Growth 

This is generally an exciting time here at Tiko, as we’ve recently hired no less than seven new people – a few interns for the summer and some full-timers for post-delivery operations (marketing, customer service, etc) bringing us to a total of 18 people on Team Tiko (not everyone is in the above pic). There’s a cool sort of chaos here as everyone works towards the common goal of delivering this beast of a printer. Lots of teamwork, scrums, collaboration, and mentoring. Ah, spring is in the air! 

What’s Next? 

We hoped to finish testing last week, but it looks like we have about two weeks left to go. However, given the results thus far, we know we’re just dialing in the last few bugs before “The Big RTM”. As a result, we’re already preparing RTM documents for a variety of components so we can hit the ground running ASAP. 

With about around weeks of testing left, and a six week RTM-to-first-shipment turnaround time, we’re setting a tentative first-ship-date of July 1st. These are relatively conservative numbers, and the six-week manufacturing lead time isn’t particularly volatile, so once we give the go-ahead to manufacturing (and to all of you, via an update), that date will be locked in. Oh boy, we’re getting goosebumps just thinking about it! 

Shipping – Important Information

This is probably a good time to mention the shipping survey. There are a little over a thousand surveys still uncompleted, and we continue to receive many change-of-address requests. If you’re simply holding off until we announce The Big RTM, it’s all good, just keep in mind we’ll announce a cut-off shortly before the shipping start date, and any surveys not filled out will be pushed to the back of the queue.

Meanwhile, the change of address process is quite straightforward and you don’t actually need our intervention. Just head over to shipping.tiko3d.com and update your address, and we’ll get it automatically. 

Wrapping Up

Boy, that was a beast of an update, but hey, it’s been a busy month! The madness isn’t over just yet - there’s still a great deal of testing/retrofitting/retesting to do before we can RTM everything. We can’t wait to finally fulfill our promise – not just of shipping a printer, but of turning this whole industry upside down. You know how your coffee machine, inkjet printer, microwave, etc just... you know... work? Well why shouldn’t your 3D printer? That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re testing, and that’s why we'll never stop until we’re number one! 

Viva la Revolución! 

Team Tiko

Comments

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Louis Stevenson on

      Any new up dates it's been a while.

    2. Missing avatar

      Rachael Brecher on

      I never got any of the shipping surveys (even though I was getting all the updates), they were going into my junk folder. Now I can't confirm or update any shipping info via the link that was sent out-wasn't today supposed to me the last day? Well according to my clocks the days isn't over yet. I already nearly fell off my chair when I found out shipping was going to be $55, I certainly don't want to incur any additional charges. And why they heck is there no contact info anywhere for anyone? Please help asap!

    3. Missing avatar

      Fabian Kasper on

      Hey guys!

      how is it going! It's been a while. Any updates for us?

    4. Paul Battram on

      I want to change the delivery of my Tiko to my nephew who lives in Santa Monica, USA and no longer have it sent to the UK. I also need to change my credit card number. Where is the shipping survey section so that I do this?

    5. Missing avatar

      Tim Roberts on

      @ RoyT good advice - cheers!

    6. RoyT on

      As has been stated many times, follow the mini updates to stay current between major updates. Here's the link:

      https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/tiko3d/comments

    7. Richard Bedard on

      June 22 2016 ?????????? ANYBODY HOME ????????? NO WORD FOR A WHILE ??????? WHAT`S HAPPENING ?????????????? C`MON GUYS AND GIRLS ????????? DELAYS,DELAYS,DELAYS !!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT`S UP ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????Shesh....................

    8. Martin Roy on

      Hi There, can anyone help me with the shipping survey!? I'm trying to get in touch with Tiko for a while now...

    9. Philippe CHAGNY on

      hello team, well what are the last news please ?
      from your side, is th July 1st again right for shipping start ?

      thanks, regards

    10. Marcelo Gaio on

      Updates? Over a month?

    11. RoyT on

      If you don't know your shipping password, type in some random value and click the Tiko button to the right of the entered password.

      On the next screen enter the email address you used to pledge and click Resend.

    12. Nelson Sanchez Arguedas on

      THANKS FOR THE AMAZING WORK YOU ARE DOING! shipping.tiko3d.com is asking for a password, help me please

    13. 김주현 on

      When can I receive Tiko? I've waited for it too many times.

    14. Missing avatar

      Cordell Benton on

      As a product engineer, for a well known company
      And 25 years experience you guys are doing a excellent job, can wait for the masterpiece.

    15. Missing avatar

      Hammer on

      I would rather wait and get a reliable rock solid printer with excellent print quality than to have Tiko meet a deadline that results in a botched product. I am still excited about this kickstarter campaign even if I cannot say the same for some other campaigns I backed.

    16. Ben Brown on

      I want to thank Team Tiko for giving such wonderful information in their updates. I am excited for how much they have progressed and how cool this product will be once its finally done and ready to ship!

    17. Kelly Tedder on

      honestly, i appreciate the delays, and respect sacking up to the negative it might bring. i also backed a 2500$ printer..... delivered a few months back, still not printing....... as they fix all the things they over looked in attempt to rush them to the backers,. they are still doing a great job., but i would have rather waited and not been slowly rebuilding mine as well as diagnosing and trying my own work arounds as well. cant wait to see the initial final product !!!!

    18. Missing avatar

      ThomasDN
      Superbacker
      on

      It is not the kickstarter password. It is a page set up by Tiko - it has nothing to do with Kickstarter. Change your password now! ;-)

      And then click the resend link and wait for a new mail from Tiko.

    19. RoyT on

      @ron
      After you entered your ks password, did you get a prompt to enter your email and a resend button? This will reset the password I think.

      Otherwise send a pm on Kickstarter to them if you want a reply.

    20. Missing avatar

      Ron Henderson on

      shipping.tiko3d.com is asking for a password, I tried my kickstarter password, It did not work. I could use some help

    21. Michael McKinley on

      THANK YOU! Thank you for taking a stance, and remaining firm in your business plan to Do-It-Right-The-First-Time when way too many (even established) companies have dropped that ideology in favor of the Ship-It-Now/Fix-It-Later...maybe business model. I will wait as long as needed, and sincerely appreciate your focus.

    22. Sunandan on

      Thank you for a very detailed update as usual and good luck for the final stretch!!!

    23. Missing avatar

      Daniel on

      Impressive updates. Really appreciate that

    24. Lothar on

      @Jim Humphries, The TIKO,
      I agree, it looks they got themselves a new problem.
      The plug keeps onplace now but the cable might being bend to break having to endure vibrations. That may last for hundreds of minutes printing, but if fastened correct it will be forever.

    25. Bryan on

      ZOMG ... when you guy are done with this mission, can you fly over here and design, test and market my next project? :-P

    26. Missing avatar

      Romain Bazile on

      @Tommy, there are more usable channels than that in 802.11a/b/g!
      They don't even need several locations. But as you said, they just need three or four powerful wifi routers with an open firmware (like tomato) that will allow them to force the channel they emit on, and they should have a better test environment.

      As for the PoE idea, as much as I like it, it's kind of impractical, for two reasons. First of all, not everyone does have a PoE switch or router at home, secondly, the amount of power available throught PoE is quite limited (either 12.5W, 25W or more rarely 65W). The first one is quite frequent and easy to find, the two later are way more expensive. And 65W may not be quite enough to cover the need of the machine... As for USB3, well, if I have to have a cord, make it a standard one, so I won't have to fumble around for a USB3 adapter or whatever.

      However, I like the idea of Ethernet for a 2.0 version! That would be great (in addition of the WiFi of course)!
      @Creator, keep up the good work! I'd rather wait and have an almost perfect product than receive now something that'll break in a couple months!!

    27. Enrico C
      Superbacker
      on

      In-fking-credible! Thanks for the power-update!

    28. Ron Au on

      I've backed over 200 projects on Kickstarter and have to say this is definitively one of the best updates I have ever read!

    29. Missing avatar

      Jim Humphries on

      The crimp on the right hand wire in the "after" photo of the section on the "wire shaking loose" problem looks not to have been done properly. It looks like there is a gap between the insulation and the crimp terminal that shouldn't be there. The insulation should be captured in the crimped terminal for strain relief. Get these wrong and you're in for some really big trouble.

    30. Missing avatar

      AM on

      @Tiko3D
      Thanks for the great, informative update and for sharing the developmental progress!
      Just curious, the image which you show under the "Carriage Ball Joint Neck" section, I was wondering if that is showing some flashes from the plastics around the "cup" which grabs the ball joint? Is that excessive? Would that potentially affect the smoothness of the ball joint's movement on some printers that has more plastic flashes? Just wondering, thank you! =)
      Keep up the great work as always!
      Cheers~

    31. Missing avatar

      Roger Froud on

      Great update, honest and satisfying. Keep up the good work Tiko team!

    32. Thomas Beeston on

      Awesome update, I really doubt my current printer went through a testing process as rigorous as Tikos. I've replaced the bed cables along with two motor cables due to them failing and I haven't had it that long. The more time spent testing the less problems later on.

    33. RoyT on

      @patxi
      No printers sent yet. If you already paid for shipping, go to http://shipping.tiko3d.com to change the address.

    34. RoyT on

      @david
      Enter a bad password, you get chance to change it.

    35. Missing avatar

      patxi calvet on

      Hello!!! I do not know how to contact you or if there is an email account. I have participated in the project and still do not know if you have sent the printers. I live in Spain but I have friends in USA to which the could you send. I do not know who to ask how.
      Thank you very much.
      my mail is patxi.calvet@gmail.com

    36. Missing avatar

      ApKNJ on

      Hi Tiko guys,
      Exciting update! This actually looks like it may come together!
      I'm curious about one point: you often mention that the test prints you've shown are sub-optimal because you haven't "dialed in the slicer settings," or such. When will that optimization happen? And is there a process in place for future firmware updates and other enhancements once these are shipped?
      Thanks!

    37. Missing avatar

      David Fernandez on

      I forgot my shipping.tiko3d.com password and have no idea how to email anyone about it.

    38. Bree Clark
      Superbacker
      on

      Looks like you guys are doing a fantastic job!! I'm willing to wait for a product that works! It's much easier to wait a bit and make sure the kinks are worked out than have to whine to you later because my printer doesn't work ;-) can't wait to see it!!

    39. Khell
      Superbacker
      on

      I definitely appreciate the work going into making sure the Tiko is functional, not a lemon. But I would be lying if I didn't say I wish I could play with mine already. But at least you keep us in the loop - that buys a significant amount of patience.

    40. Missing avatar

      Jim on

      Really-- *really*-- appreciate you guys taking the time to figure any issues out in the lab. Best time to do it-- and the wait is worth it. Most people have never created something from scratch and sold it into dozens of countries-- I have. You've done this correctly the whole way.

    41. Edward Chamberlain on

      Great work guys! Its really interesting hearing about all the ins and outs of the process you are going through.

      Im moving home shortly and am worried my tiko will end up in the wrong place! Is there a cut off for changing my address? I move on the 1st of July.

      Secondly can we please stop giving RTM estimates that you only go and miss? I appreciate its a difficult and uncertain process and so my advice would be don't announce a date only to miss it. Announce when you are RTM and not before! I think that would help reduce some of the backer frustration!

      Finally @Tommy Re: power over USB, USB provides a pathetically small amount of current to devices! Its ok for keyboards and mice etc, but nowhere near enough to power 3 motors a heater and control electronics (all which are high power consumption parts)

    42. Dan Vedda on

      Thanks, folks. Better you troubleshooting than me having trouble! Anyone that really reads this update has to appreciate the complexity of a rigorous testing process. I'm happy to wait for everything to run its course. You've been nothing but informative and straightforward in your updates, and each one conveys your passion and excitement for the project. Congrats and props for all the hard work.

    43. Marcelo Vasconcellos on

      by the way, nice work, could tiko substitute in any way a production line of some factory ?

    44. Marcelo Vasconcellos on

      Take yours time and keep the good work

    45. Missing avatar

      Are Tysland on

      Thank you for an excellent update! The level of detail makes the wait more bearable. :-D
      Really looking forward to get the Tiko, and appreciate all the testing and fixing you are doing!