SXSW 2015: Round up

As the re:3D team wraps up and recovers from what has been an amazing South-by-Southwest experience, we wanted to provide this special update on what we did, who we met, and address some questions people had about re:3D, Gigabot and OpenGB. re:3D’s coverage at SXSW  was primarily during the five days of SXSW Interactive, and came immediately after one of those “too good to pass up” speaking opportunities at the Forbes Reinventing America Summit in Chicago.

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While Samantha was speaking on the Forbes panel, the rest of the team was preparing at two venues in Austin: SXSW Create, and SXSW Gaming. As a bonus we were also able to score enough of a footprint at Create to unveil our new Open Gigabot prototype, and launch our Kickstarter on the first morning of SXSW Interactive!

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Starting with the most groundbreaking news first, after less than a week of being live, we are now halfway funded on Kickstarter for the new, experimental, Open Gigabot! The Lead Engineer for the OpenGB project, @PatrickFinucane, was on-hand to answer tons of questions, show off the touchscreen in action, and of course, lose his voice like the rest of us after 3 days of talking and sporting those swanky new re:3D flight suits. Stay tuned to the Kickstarter page, as Patrick and the OpenGB team will personally answer some questions that came up about the design process, delivery, and our unique approach to the alpha/beta testing program in the FAQ section and weekly updates.

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Taking a step back for a moment, you may have remembered that Gigabot was showcased at SXSW Create for the first time last year. We printed hats and swords, and mostly spread the news that we were now taking orders on our website after a successfully fulfilled Kickstarter campaign. This year was different. We were out in full force in our backyard, engaging with multiple communities in order to better understand our current and future community. In addition to the Open Gigabot Kickstarter launch, our team was invited to a very special event at SXSW Create: A Handathon, organized by the amazing folks at Hanger. Together with some other very well-accomplished 3D printing companies like Lulzbot we printed models of open sourced prosthetic hands provided by our friends at Enabling the Future  to be assembled and presented to kids in need. We met some great pioneers in the prosthetic and 3D printing industries, but it was most moving to see the reaction of the attendees who might not yet have realized this great potential application of 3D printing. Open source movements have never been too shy to tackle big problems in the world, and this is no exception. We’re proud to help this movement grow and evolve with the help of the medical industry around the world.

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Prosthetic hands printed on Gigabot and decorated by the Toy Joy & Austin Rocks
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Instagram of Enable logo printed on Gigabot during SXSW Create

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leading up to SXSW Interactive, we also had the opportunity to print some hands with our friends at Austin Rocks and Toy Joy, who added some local flair to the prints. Gigabot loves showing off in the store front window and generating pre post SXSW buzz. With a half a dozen hands complete, Gigabot took a stroll down Sixth Street to join our Capital Factory sister company, OwnLocal, as well as the Knight Foundation for the 2nd annual News and Schmooze, a mixer for media startups, investors, and companies at Firehouse Lounge. Some great conversations around social impact were generated and we were thrilled to cross paths with our friends at 3D Hubs. The next day Gigabot had the chance to hang out at Speakeasy with our friends at Falkon Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and Collision.

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Gigabot had a great view of 2nd street!
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@Ernestophocles moves Gigabot to Firehouse
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Minus one door later Gigabot was printing at Firehouse
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@katyjeremko with a Syracuse Alum at Speakeasy

 

 

 

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@MikeBattaglia’s 3D printed logos were a huge hit!

Just two blocks away, the Capital Factory Gigabot was hard at work creating bottle openers live at the Google Next Wave for Entrepreneurs VIP lounge. Todd did an amazing job interacting with influencers including the Huffington Post and Rep Swalwell while Rebecca rocked a roundtable with on women in tech with Rep Morrison.

Printing bottle openers live with a view
@rpr_rebecca talks to Rep Cathy Morrison at Capital Factory
@re3dtodd explains 3D Printing to Rep Swalwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let’s pick up a 12-sided die and move down the riverfront to the Palmer Events Center. Gaming at SxSW was a new community experience for us. Most of us consider ourselves familiar or even experts on certain genres of gaming, but we were blown away by the diversity of gaming experiences at the event! At SxSW Gaming, we partnered and shared a booth with Advanced Imagination, an innovative company about to release their own Kickstarter for a tabletop3D game, called Boardcraft. Our booth had a combination of a 2D version of the game, “Necro-Virus”, laser sintered models from a $100K+ machine, contrasted with models printing out live on our $9000 Gigabot – a fused deposition manufacturing (FDM) printer that could fit well in a home or local makerspace. It was really great to be exposed to the vibrant and diverse gaming community, and hopefully they enjoyed seeing the Gigabot in action with @gerty.

 

Boardcraft on Gigabot
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Jim Foreman and @Ernestophocles pose with our 3D printed Saturn IV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday was also a big day for  community engagement. In addition to engaging his fans at SXSW Create, he took time out to facilitate the SXSW 3D Printing Meetup. To hours later, @samanthasnabes shared our Start-Up Chile experience at our first panel titled “Building a Start-Up Ecosystem from Zero“. That night, we had some beers with our Chilean friends at a Start-Up Chile reunion. Along the way, Jimmy Kimmel took a selfie with some 3D printed moais from Sketchfab we gifted to our Start-Up Chile co-panelists.

 

Jimmy Kimmel with the Gigabot Moai
@chiefhacker at a 3D printing meetup

 

 

 

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@samanthasnabes speaking at SXSW
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@gerty resting on our 3D printed stool

 

 

 

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SUP Participant Reunion
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Gen6 reunited with @samathasnabes & @sergiodelrio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last special appearances didn’t include Gigabot, but did involve some big prints. On Sunday morning we were honored to attend the IDA “Business Leaders Breakfast” with Ireland’s Prime Minister to reunite post Web Summit with Enda Kelly and take another selfie on a Gigabot printed chair.

 

katygear@katyjeremko suited up and ready to go in gear

 

Just a few short hours later, we were out again with a 6 ft, 3D-printed Saturn IV rocket, as well as the world’s largest 3Dprinted Snoo (aka, the Reddit Alien!). Snoo was a big hit at the Reddit/ Daily Dot event, and has consequently been kidnapped in exchange for for Karma!

 

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@chief_hacker and @samanthasnabes with Enda Kelley
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Snoo on his way to his big debut!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To wrap up the event, @katyjeremko attended the SXSW Innovation Awards on behalf of the OpenGB and our Innovative 3-DIY nomination. We didn’t win, but were thrilled to see Project Daniel | Not Impossible labs accept the well deserved award. The next day @larajeremko was at yet another award ceremony where she rocked a pitch at the Austin National Hardware Cup, and our friends at Curb Energy took first place.

 

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@larajeremko pitching at the regional National Hardware Cup in Austin
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@katyjeremko represents OpenGB at the SXSW Innovation Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that we have had a chance to catch a few hours sleep, we’re taking a moment to followup on the conversations we had and to capture the feedback you provided. In talking to our community, we encountered a few common questions. The most consistent  questions were:

“Why are you doing another Kickstarter?”

The answer lies in our pursuit of continuous innovation. As a small hardware company, it would be easy to get bogged down in finding the best way to manufacture and support the active life of our current product, and be driven only by specific customer suggestions on how we can improve the next models. At re:3D, we have the added challenge and benefit of being a bootstrapped company (in a funding sense). This means that an R&D budget is not won in a boardroom, it is won in front of our customers. Kickstarter is the natural way to get in front of our customer as early as possible with a set of advancements, and ask if this package of features are something the community wants and needs. Judging by discussions with our customers, partners, SxSW conversations, and our current funding level after 7 days on Kickstarter, the early indication is a resounding “YES!”

Another question came up a few times was actually from Gigabot owners and people considering buying our current two-week-lead-time machine:

 “What is the difference between Gigabot and Open Gigabot and can we expect OpenGigabot to be a regular product offering”

Currently OpenGB is an experimental Gigabot that we’re co-developing with the community. As a backer, you’re getting the first edition production model and are part of an exclusive beta-testing group. @MikeBattaglia, our Customer Service Guru and OpenGB Usability Engineer sums this up best from a customer email earlier in the week: “We are definitely not the type of company to leave existing customers in the dust!”

We listen to our entire community as we decide which features to develop and incorporate into our large format printers. Once these offerings are past beta testing and have installation instructions and video tutorials, we will consider migrating them over to our flagship Gigabot offering based what the community prioritizes. We also choose some beta testers from time to time in our community, so if you are interested, please email us at engineering@re3d.org!

This has been a longer update than  anticipated when it was started, but there has been a ton going on in the past week and you need to hear it all. Between SXSW, OpenGB’s Kickstarter, numerous speaking engagements, partnership opportunities, and a constant focus on the well-being of our rockstar employees and customers, I’m personally amazed every day at what we can accomplish together, and can’t wait to see what lies around the corner!

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@Ernestophocles taking a break on 5th street in Gigabot

 

See You At SXSW?!

 It’s seems like it was only yesterday since we launched Gigabot on Kickstarter at SXSW in 2013. Two years later, both our Austin and Houston teammates have returned to reflect on the past and look to the future with Gigabot, OpenGigabot, and a few surprise announcements. We’re also honored to be considered for a SXSW Innovation Award and can’t wait to share 3D printed prosthetic hands, board games, a huge Reddit Alien, giveaways and some crazy furniture with the friends we encounter in exhibit halls, tents, bars, hotels, and retail stores. If you plan to attend any of the events below, please say hi or share a Gigabot selfie online!

Here’s a list of where you can expect to find Gigabot and the re:3D gang: 

  • What: SXSW Interactive Panel “Building a Startup Ecosystem from Zero
    • Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K , 500 E 4th St
    • When : 3:30pm-4:30pm March 14
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, #ChileAwake, @re_3D, @samanthasnabes, @startupchile
  • SXSW Create 3D Printing Meetup
    • Where: West Pincer Terrace Long Center
    • When : 11am-12pm March 14
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, @CreateATX, #SXCreate, @re_3D, @chief_hacker, @Enablethefuture
  • SXSW Interactive Create Tent: e-NABLE Hand Pavilion Sponsored by
    Hanger Clinic

    • Where: The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 West Riverside Drive
    • When : 11am-6pm March 13-15
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, @CreateATX, #SXCreate, @re_3D, @chief_hacker, @patrick_finucane, #openGB, #Gigabot, #innovationawards
  • SXSW Interactive Gaming Festival
    • Where: Palmer Event Center, 701 West Riverside Drive.
    • When : 11am-6pm March 13-15
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, @re_3D, @gerty, #Gigabot, #boardcraft, #necrovirus
  • Toy Joy/ Austin Rocks Live Gigabot 3D printing
  • Google/ Capital Factory Next Wave Entrepreneurs Lounge
    • Where: 1616 W Brazos, 16th Floor
    • When : 11am-6pm 13 March- 15 March
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, @re_3D, @google, @capitalfactory, @GoogleForEntrep, @re3dtodd, #gigabot
  • OwnLocal and Knight Foundation 2nd annual News and Schmooze
    • Where: Firehouse Lounge, 605 Brazos St, Austin
    • When : 6pm -8pm 13 March
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, @re_3D, #gigabot, @knightfdn, #ownlocal, @samanthasnabes
  • Speakeasy/ Falcon Ventures
    • Where: Speakeasy, 412 N Congress Ave
    • When : 6pm -8pm 13 March​
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, @re_3D, #gigabot, @falconventures@MikeBattaglia
  • Reddit/ Daily Dot Meetup
    • Where: JW Marriott Room 508 110 E 2nd St
    • When : 3:30-4:30 15 March
    • Connect: #SXSW2015, @re_3D, #gigabot, @reddit, @dailydot, @katyjeremko
  • SXSW Innovation Award
    • Where: Hilton Downtown Austin, 6th floor
    • When: 6pm-8pm 17 March
    • Connect: #openGB, @re_3D, @patrick_finucane, @katyjeremko, @MikeBattaglia, #innovationawards, #sxsw2015

We’d love to see your Gigabot selfies! Please feel free to share on any of our social media accounts:

Facebook: re3dprinting

Twitter: @RE_3D

Instagram: re3dprinting

Vine: re:3D

#gigabot

 

Want to invite Gigabot to your Film or Music Event? Contact info@re3d.org to chat!

SXSW Innovation Award/ Kickstarter Announcement

We’re incredibly flattered to be nominated for SXSW Innovation Award! The other nominees are amazing and we can’t wait to meet them! Check out the clip below to meet the team below and feel free to show your support by using the following social media mentions : @re_3D #openGB #InnovationAwards. Also, check back for a not-so -surprise Kickstarter campaign for OpenGB during SXSW where we will be seeking your feedback on what you want in Gigabot going forward!!

Forever grateful: 

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Getting a Grip : Part 2

Getting a grip on your 3D printer filament Part 2 by Chief Hacker, re:3D

One of the leading causes of print failure is the filament feeding mechanism. By surveying the literature and leveraging our current experience in hardware development we have identified a gap in the knowledgebase for understanding the mechanics and operations surrounding the extruder drive gear commonly used on FFF type 3D printers.
The goal of this work is to characterize the amount of force that can be generated by a custom machined extruder drive bolt, affectionately named “Jaws”. Details of the engineering development of Jaws is outlined in part 1 of this series. The testing outlined below was performed with a Greg’s Wade’s type extruder for 3mm PLA filament. See Figure 1 below.

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Figure 1. Greg’s Wade type extruder

The first objective of the multipart study is to determine the optimal tension setting for the Greg’s Wade extruder. Tension is adjusted by rotating a pair of screws that compresses a pair of springs that in turn presses the extruder’s idler bearing against the filament. See figure 2A below. This presses the filament into the teeth of the filament drive bolt seen in Figure 2B below.

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Figure 2A Tensioning system and force arrow

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Figure 2B “Jaws” Filament Drive Bolt

If the tensioner is adjusted too loosely the filament will not fully engage against the teeth of the drive bolt. If the tensioner is adjusted too tightly there may be excessive friction and wear in the extruder. To accurately measure the force imparted to the filament by the extruder we felt it was important to measure the ability of the extruder to push the filament down into the hot-end. Previously, force measurements commonly seen in the literature measure the amount of pull the extruder imparts in the filament coming into the extruder. We felt that by measuring the amount of push we would obtain better real world operating conditions.
The downward force measurement was accomplished by a custom machined fixture that housed a small metal ring outfitted with a threaded tensioning system. The tensioning system is used to slowly grip the filament by turning a screw. As the ring increases its grip on the filament the force is transferred from the filament and onto a compression load cell (THA-100-Q from Transducer Techniques). The load cell was connected to a load cell amplifier (TMO-1 Transducer Techniques) and the analog output from the amplifier was measured by a 12bit A to D daq (USB-1208LS from Measurement Computing). Data was collected at 100 Hz and saved to csv file format. The daq was calibrated using a mass of solid brass and aluminum of known volume. Collected data was processed and graphed using custom Matlab code. The extruder is driven with a 1.68 A 72 oz-in NEMA 17 stepper motor powered at 24 volts. Test setup seen in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Tooth engagement, number of teeth engaged and force vectors

Figure 3. Test setup with force measurement

Three trials were performed at four different levels of tensioner adjustments. Tensioner adjustment levels were determined as 2, 4, 8 and 12 revolutions (1 revolution = 360 degrees of rotation) of the tensioner adjustment screw beyond full engagement into its corresponding nut. Example trials are shown in below. Notice in the data graph the period of zero force at the beginning of the trial followed by a gradual increase of force. The force curve shows the peak force imparted into the filament followed by a sharp drop in force where the filament drive gear stripped the filament and filament drive bolt was no longer able to impart a force into the filament. The graphs seen in Figures 4-7 below shows the ability of the filament drive bolt to drive the filament at increasingly greater forces with an increase of tension in the extruder tensioner system.

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Figure 4. Tensioner tightened 2 revolutions

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Figure 5. Tensioner tightened 4 revolutions

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Figure 6. Tensioner tightened 8 revolutions

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Figure 7. Tensioner tightened 12 revolutions

What does this mean for you? With the Greg’s Wade type extruder and the Jaws filament drive bolt we were able to push the PLA filament with over 50lbs of force when the extruder tensioner was advanced 12 revolutions. This researched establishes a baseline measurement for re:3D’s custom extruder bolt which was designed to maximize the grip on PLA filament and help ensure an error free printing experience. This research was conducted at the office of re:3D in Houston Texas.

Matthew: Chief Hacker, re:3D

matthew@re3d.org

 

Getting a Grip : Part 1

Getting a grip on your 3D printer filament-Part 1

With the rise in popularity of low cost 3D printers for use in homes and small business many new printer designs have recently arrived in the market. The cost of ownership for 3D printers is coming down which is driving up access in new markets. With a customer base growing outside of engineers and tinkerers it is important that 3D printers must remain near 100% reliable with near zero failed prints due to mechanical and electro-mechanical malfunctions.

One of the leading causes of print failure is the filament feeding mechanism. By surveying the literature and leveraging our current experience in hardware development we have identified a gap in the knowledgebase for understanding the mechanics and operations surrounding the extruder drive gear commonly used on FFF type 3D printers.

We have found reliability of the filament feed gear is dependent upon three factors 1) amount of contact surface are between the drive gear and the filament, 2) depth of the gear’s tooth engagement into the filament 3) number of teeth engaged in the filament at any one time and 4) the direction of the force vector imparted from the filament drive gear into the filament. R&D at re:3D delved into this problem and below is result of their work.

Figures 1 and 2 below shows a 3D rendering of the filament drive gear “Jaws” that will be mounted to the shaft of a geared NEMA 17 stepper motor.

Figure 1 Jaws filament drive gear

Figure 1.  Jaws filament drive gear

Figure 2. Mid-section view of Jaws filament drive gear

Figure 2.  Mid-section view of Jaws filament drive gear

The Jaws filament drive gear is machined using a four axis Bridgeport CNC milling machine. In the design process our aim was to optimize the four variables stated above.

  • The amount of contact between the drive gear and the filament is maximized by machining the gear teeth using a cutting tool of the same diameter as the filament it will drive. In our case the filament is 6.0mm in diameter.
  • The depth of tooth engagement was optimized by balancing greater tooth engagement with number of teeth engaged into the filament at any one time. If the tooth engagement is too shallow there will be too little surface area and force imparted to the filament and the teeth will slip and shred the filament. If the tooth engagement is too great the risk of plastic deformation causing the filament dimension to be out of spec for the hot-end and will cause jamming of the hot-end during printing.
  • The number of teeth engaged into the filament at any one time is important in maintaining a smooth and constant push of filament into the hot-end. Consider the job of the filament drive gear is to transform the rotational motion from the stepper motor into straight line movement of filament into the hot-end. If too few gear teeth are engaged into the filament the linear motion of the filament over time will assume more of a sine wave pattern than a constant straight line movement.
  • The force vectors should be directed in the downward direction as much as possible to increase the conservation of energy in the system. Any forces imparted into the filament in the lateral direction will cause plastic deformation of the filament and not translated into pure downward force of the filament feed. It should be noted there will always be a certain amount of lateral force experienced for the pure fact that the drive teeth will need to be engaged into the filament. By studying the section view in Figure 3 below you can see the depth of engagement, the number of teeth engaged and the force vector for a 25 tooth drive gear.

Figure3 Force vectors

Figure 3. Tooth engagement, number of teeth engaged and force vectors

We are extremely excited to have optimized the design and manufacturing of this advanced filament drive gear for FFF style 3D printers. You can view a short video of the machining process on our re:Tech YouTube channel:

Stay tuned for part two in this series where we will perform data collection and force measurement in a real world application of the Jaws filament drive gear.

Matthew: Chief Hacker, re:3D

matthew@re3d.org