Gigabot 3+ Updates for Fall 2019

re:3D’s Research and Development team never stands still, and while we’re developing the next generation of your Gigabot® and Gigabot® X 3D Printers, we’re continually looking for ways to refine the current iteration’s user experience, precision, and quality. As of October 1, 2019, all new Gigabot®3+ 3D printers ship with the below enhancements. Current Gigabot® owners can order these as replacement parts that are fully compatible with previous versions.

Major Changes

LED Light Cover

To enhance user comfort and safety, we’ve created a full length 3D printed cover that fits over the top of the front-mounted LED light strip.

Printed Extruder indicators and part numbers

Our Unibody Extruder design, which was released this past spring, as well as our Filament Detection units now features numerical hot end indicator labels for a visual aid for filament loading. Additionally, these and many other 3D printed parts now include part and revision numbers. Not sure what a part is called? Search our store using the part number or share the part number with customer support to help streamline troubleshooting communication.

FIRMWARE RELEASE VERSION 4.2.3

Our newest iteration of Gigabot®3+ firmware has been posted at wiki.re3d.org along with instructions for how to flash your firmware. This firmware update includes the following changes:

  • Increased electrical current to X and Y motors to prevent layer shifts.
  • Decreased filament feed rate during the Filament Change routine for easier purging.
  • Minor Bug Fixes

Fit and Strength Adjustments for Polycarbonate 3D Printed Parts

The following parts have had material added for improved strength and durability:

  • 10870 Extruder Tensioner Left 
  • 10871 Extruder Tensioner Right 

The below parts have had their designs modified for better fit or print quality:

  • 11157 Gigabox Magnet Bracket 1 
  • 11245 Gigabox Magnet Bracket 3
  • 11158 Gigabox Magnet Bracket 4
  • 11159 Gigabox Y Support Magnet Bracket
  • 11238 Gigabox Enclosure Corner Cap
  • 10511 XY Upright Cover
  • 11251 Filament Detection Cover Right
  • 11252 Filament Detection Cover Left
  • 10599 Filament Tube Connector

We’ve upped the durability and longevity of our head cable and added 3D printed wire separators inside the cable carrier to protect the electrical wiring as it rolls and unrolls during normal Gigabot® operation.

Under the category of non-3D printed parts, we’ve thickened our bed plates to improve strength and rigidity. The square, left and right leveling blocks attached to the bed frame have had fit adjustments. We’ve also adjusted hole spacing for Gigabox Enclosure panels and split the top panel on the Gigabox Enclosure into two pieces. This improves manufacturing quality as well as increases modularity, as one piece can now be removed for venting or other customizations.

Do you have an improvement or a design change you’d like to see for this or future versions of Gigabot®? Fill out our New Feature Request form and share your ideas with us!

D&D Helps Kids Level Up Their Social Skills

“But will you guys be mad at me if I don’t?”

That earnest and open-hearted question was posed by a student participating in D&D@CLCE, an after-school skills group at Clear Lake City Elementary School (CLCE) in Houston, TX. They were role-playing a situation with a difficult choice: should I give up something I own and care about in order for the whole group to benefit? As the student contemplated his decision, his peers, in turn, responded with how they felt. This form of social skills group therapy has been around a long time, aiding those who struggle socially to learn and develop those skills in a safe and moderated group setting. Kari Euker, the Counselor at CLCE debuted a program this year to combine skills training with the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Those unfamiliar with D&D may have seen it recently reflected in pop culture on the TV shows Stranger Things or The Big Bang Theory. In a nutshell, one plays by gathering a group of people who then create characters with certain sets of skills, be they wizards or rogues or fighters, and together they explore an imaginary world narrated by the game’s lead storyteller and referee, the dungeon master. It’s improvisational storytelling on steroids.

In the case of the student’s conundrum, he wasn’t mulling over the consequences of keeping a football to himself in the schoolyard, he was trying to decide whether to give up a sparkling magic crystal by placing it on a wall with crystals belonging to the rest of his adventuring party. If he placed his crystal, the wall would absorb the crystals and open a portal leading the team onto a new escapade. If he kept it to himself, the magic wouldn’t take hold, the team would be stuck, but he’d still have that beautiful crystal. What to do?

Ms. Euker didn’t discover D&D on her own. It was her high-school aged son Christopher and his friends who caught her on to the idea. Christopher’s enthusiasm for D&D opened Ms. Euker to the possibility that D&D could provide a fun and imaginative setting in which to practice life skills in a low consequence environment. As she wasn’t an expert in playing the game, they worked together using the older boys’ experience with D&D and Ms. Euker’s knowledge of skills training to craft artful scenarios where the CLCE students could flex those social skills muscles. The older boys served as dungeon masters, the younger kids were the explorers, and Ms. Euker was there to facilitate each session. What they discovered is that the fantasy elements of their role-playing helped the kids contemplate the consequences of their actions from a safe distance and therefore allowed for critical thinking and deep conversations that are hard to achieve in real-life scenarios.

Ms. Euker approached re:3D about helping the students’ characters come to life, and re:3D was more than happy to support the team’s innovative problem-solving. In D&D, dungeon masters will often use real maps and tokens to help keep track of where adventurers and their foes exist in relationship to each other. The students designed minifigures in Hero Forge, selecting the race, armor, weapons and accessories that best fit their whimsical characters. re:3D took those 3D models, and with a little bit of slicing manipulation and custom supports, printed out the whole group of minifigures in one batch.

Though we at re:3D are known to Dream Big, Print HUGE, in this instance we made an exception. Utilizing Gigabot’s highest resolution of 0.1510 mm layer height, we printed these tiny 48 mm tall figures, miniscule accessories and all, with PLA and water soluble PVA supports. After an overnight bath, these creative creations were ready to join the fray.

The older boys were so invested in this project that they took the time to paint the minifigures by hand, and the CLCE students were thrilled to see their hard work rewarded with a physical representation of the character they built from their imagination. And the kid who was hesitant to give up his treasured crystal? He listened to his peers and then chose to add the crystal to the wall. Away they journeyed, onward to the next adventure.

*This project was supported through re:3D Houston’s Community Engagement Team. Are you a school or non-profit with a passion to explore 3D printing? Reach out to us at discover@re3d.org to schedule a tour or workshop!*

re:vealing re:3D’s Houston Headquarters

In early April, re:3D held two events celebrating the re:vealing of our community space and customer showroom at our Houston headquarters. Nicknamed Mission Control by the re:3D team, the Houston location has always been our home for manufacturing, operations and research. As we near our second anniversary in this 7000 square foot factory in Clear Lake, near the NASA Johnson Space Center campus, we’re excited to share that this space now houses a dedicated showroom recognizing the creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship of those who harness the power of Gigabot, as well as a public gathering space which we and our greater community can use to host events, workshops, classes and meetups to explore all things 3D printing.

A silver mannequin of a boxing lady wearing a black hat and yellow tank top stands in front of a rustic wooden slat wall holding re:3D merchandise.

To get the ball rolling, The Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an official ribbon cutting & reception. We invited good friends from near and far (including a crew from Bunker Labs in Austin!), government officials, and Houston customers to celebrate with us and experience a party, re:3D style! Amidst the congenial hums of our Gigabots printing new creations, we toasted champagne and enjoyed tasty hors d’oeuvres provided by the team at  Hedrick’s Catering. Guests perused 3D prints designed by our global family of Gigabot users and got their first look at our new architectural wall panels conceived and produced by the innovative geniuses at Houston-based māk studio, also a re:3D customer. Clear Lake Area Board Chairman Brian Freedman presented re:3D Co-Founder and Catalyst Samantha Snabes a certificate and plaque, officially naming April 9, 2019 re:3D Day in Clear Lake!

photo credit: Morgan Hamel
Photo Credit: Morgan Hamel

At the end of the same week, re:3D kicked off our expanded outreach initiatives by hosting a community open house, and we’re grateful to the Houston Chronicle for sharing our news and helping draw people to our events. 3D printing enthusiasts of all ages joined us for tours of the factory spaces, hands-on activities, contests and a preview of our upcoming meetups and classes. We held a guess-the-number-of-layers contest where the prize for the closest guess was our friendly Eddy the Astronaut lamp.

A 3D printed lamp shaped like the body of an astronaut with an Edison light bulb instead of a helmet
Photo Credit: Morgan Hamel

Engineers of the future (and engineers at heart!) joined our Gigacrew and learned how to build a section of our Gigabots. These handy makers put together at least forty of our new unibody extruder block assemblies, which we’ll soon be rolling out as an available upgrade on the Gigabot.

Intrepid explorers took on the challenge of our scavenger hunt wherein they discovered some of the unique 3D printed features we’ve added to the factory since moving in, including a stapler-shaped door handle, whimsical light switch plates and custom computer parts. Food, fun and curiosity abounded while we opened minds to the limitless possibilities of 3D printing, and we couldn’t be more excited to now have a dedicated space to dive deep and collaborate with our customers, innovators and the next generation of problem solvers endeavoring to Dream Big, Print HUGE!

To schedule a Houston HQ tour or workshop, email us at discover@re3d.org.

For more information about re:3D community events, check out our calendar.

Three kids sit at a table with tools and build part of a 3D printer. A crowd of people is in the background.
Photo Credit: Kate Somers