Since its big debut on the world stage at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, Chris Elsworthy’s Robox 3D printer and micro-manufacturing platform has been generating a lot of interest in an already-flooded 3D printer market. Yesterday, it was announced that the Kickstarter-backed micro-manufacturing platform is now available to the public for just under $1,550.
The Robox features a proprietary dual-nozzle system that can improve print speeds by up to 300% while the on-board Automatic Material Recognition system features preloaded print profiles for literal plug-and-print capabilities directly out of the box. Additionally, the automatic bed leveling ensures that there is no need to painfully calibrate your print bed every time you need to print something.
As for resolution, the Robox has three resolution modes that range from 20 microns for more detailed prints to 300 microns for lower resolution needs…all with a maximum build size of 210 X 150 X 100mm (8.3 X 5.9 X 3.9in).
After raising nearly $450,000 on Kickstarter, the Robox has not been without its fair share of production challenges. CEL founder Chris Elsworthy has been transparent about the fulfillment hurdles along the way and wrote one of the best (and honest) mini-essays on the challenges of bringing a product to market that we’ve seen…which makes the release announcement that much more bittersweet.
“All of CEL’s Kickstarter backers have now had their pledges fulfilled, with the team using feedback from this community of backers to refine the Robox before its launch to the public.”
“3D printing has the potential to change the way products are made, bought, and sold,” said Elsworthy in the official press release. “However, the price and complexity of the 3D printers currently on the market means that it has not fulfilled that potential to date. The Robox is affordable, capable, and usable, and that’s why it’s the perfect 3D printer for the small start-ups, artists, architects, inventors, homeowners and especially the students and children out there.”
- A proprietary dual-head print nozzle design: Improving print speeds by up to 300 percent compared to other printers. One nozzle is designed to print in detail, while the other is able to ‘fill in’ larger areas at much higher speeds. The Robox’s needle-valve system stops ‘ooze’ and ‘stringing’ from the nozzles, ensuring speed and quality. The Robox can also print super-fine 0.02mm layers.
- Multi-color printing: Robox users have the ability to pause a print job and swap out the filament being used, allowing for multi-color 3D printing.
- Intuitive print bed: Robox’s proprietary bed probing mechanism automatically detects and corrects the gantry to ensure it is always parallel and that the first layer of whatever is being printed adheres evenly. The bed itself is made of PEI (Polyether imide), which adheres to the hot plastic while a print is taking place, but allows the user to ‘pop’ the printed object off when the plastic it is made of cools and shrinks slightly post-print.
- Intelligent reel system: Microchips on the reels of filament allow the printer to detect exactly what material it’s working with. Additionally, the closed feedback loop and dual-pinch-wheel extrusion system makes sure that the printing material is fed to the printer head evenly.
- Easy-to-use software: The Robox team has developed its own AutoMaker™ software to ensure the simplicity and usability of the printer for both experts and novices alike. Users simply choose the design they would like to print and press start.
- Future-proof design: The Robox has space for a second extruder that will eventually allow dual-color printing and the ability to print with different materials simultaneously. Its unique HeadLock™ system means that different heads can be quickly assembled to perform a range of different functions, meaning that the Robox is more of a micro-manufacturing system than a 3D printer.
You can find out more or purchase a Robox for the special introductory price of $1,549 (normally $1,799) over at the Robox official store.