#MakiBox Update - A6 Printing Smoothly, Public Demos, and the Scribble

2012-11-28 06:29 by Jonathan Buford (comments: 7)

Sometimes you want to print and other times you just want to scribble.

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This last week and today has been an amazing time to show off the Alpha A6 and also a new concept we are calling the Scribble.

Last week we decided to put together a quick prototype for a standalone handheld plastic extruder that you could use to create 3D prints freehand. Since we had TEDxHK lined up on Saturday, it gave us a perfect venue to get feedback on both the A6 and the Scribble from many, many people and not just 3D printing enthusiasts. 

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Everyone that saw the Scribble was amazed, and many people took time to try it out and play. This kind of feedback is really priceless for a product company at this stage, since you usually wouldn't be able to just let everyone play with a prototype. But since it is just a mashup of our filament drive and our hot end with a little bit of custom software and connective hardware, it was both quick to build and just kept on working.

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So, things are pretty good. We are going to work on wrapping up the Beta design and getting it into a select few people's hands and also wrap up the new store on MakiBox.com so we can confirm everyone's final order selections this week.

Everything is starting to come together, and we are looking forward to everyone getting to play with their MakiBox.

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Comment by justMaD | 2012-11-28

You forgot to attach the Videos ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef03qSz-yC8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLCN7FJsFwQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DndJ7OS1jq4

Comment by justMaD | 2012-11-28

nevermind :D

Comment by andybox | 2012-11-28

Verrry nice :-)

The delam resistance was good to see.

I also see the test structure from Thingiverse turned out fairly well - that cantilever was a real challenge.

Any ideas for more abruptly controlling/gating the nozzle output vs the ABS drool that everyone gets?

Comment by Evan | 2012-11-28

Looks great to me. How hard was it to get the big piece off the steel print bed?

Is there a limit to how big the Scribble extruder output can go? I would have thought that an 0.4mm output might be annoying; you have to make hundreds of passes to get anything substantial. If there was an easy way to swap it for a far larger nozzle (1mm or more) then that could be handy.

Comment by Jon Buford | 2012-11-28

We will play with the retract settings to get the prints cleaned up a bit more. Right now they are a bit conservative because we are using brass drive gears that are just hobbed using a tap rather than a properly cut drive gear in steel, which we will have for use very soon.

One feedback on that test part, I think we will make a modification for the tree structure so that it is not so solid. We run into it getting hot and melty in the top half after there are no other features on a layer to go out and do. I think after we do that, we may be able to do the 70 degree slope cleanly.

Comment by Jon Buford | 2012-11-28

@Evan - As hard as it might be to believe, with the steel bed, we barely do any prep, just occasionally we will wipe it down with alcohol to get any random oils off and if it starts looking more dirty than we can get clean that way, we could use acetone or whatever. You could probably scour it if you wanted :). Parts pop right off when you cool the bed down by 20-30 degrees. My guess is that the plastic and steel shrink rates are different enough to do this. No tools needed. Also, letting the parts cool reasonably slowly reduces warping.

I think the current Scribble prototype is using a 0.5mm nozzle. The A6 Alpha has the 0.4mm nozzle on it. We initially put a 1mm nozzle on it, but I had poor output, so I switched it to 0.5mm to just get things going, and I haven't had time to switch it for further testing since. I could see even larger, 2-3mm output being useful for hand modeling larger objects or sketching out form prototypes.

Comment by Evan | 2012-12-01

@Jon - thanks for the reply. Great to hear that getting stuff off the steel bed is so easy.

With the tree structure, maybe it would be better to modify the printer software so it pauses for 30 seconds between layers if the layer was very quick to do. This would allow adequate time for the part to solidify, and makes the whole process "idiot-proof" since there's no way the part can be designed that would cause problems.