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.

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!

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.

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.

1.Prosthetic hands printed on Gigabot and decorated by the Toy Joy & Austin Rocks. 2. 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.

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.

1. Printing bottle openers live with a view 2. @rpr_rebecca talks to Rep Cathy Morrison at Capital Factory 3. @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.

1. Boardcraft on Gigabot 2. 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.

1. Jimmy Kimmel with the Gigabot Moai 2. @samanthasnabes speaking at SXSW 3. @gerty resting on our 3D printed stool 4. SUP Participant Reunion 5. 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.

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!

1. @chief_hacker and @samanthasnabes with Enda Kelley 2. 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.

1. @larajeremko pitching at the regional National Hardware Cup in Austin 2. @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!

Ernie travels w/Gigabot to share his insights at SXSW, the Austin Mini Makerfaire and UBM Minnesota
@Ernestophocles taking a break on 5th street in Gigabot

re:Tech – Extended Watch Dog

Secondary Micro Controller connected to single board computer by UART

Arduino Mini Pro from Sparkfun ($10) (open source)

image48

Features:

  • ATmega328 running at 16MHz with external resonator (0.5% tolerance)
  • 0.8mm Thin PCB
  • USB connection off board
  • Supports auto-reset
  • 5V regulator
  • Max 150mA output
  • Over current protected
  • Weighs less than 2 grams!
  • DC input 5V up to 12V
  • On board Power and Status LEDs
  • Analog Pins: 8
  • Digital I/Os: 14

Filament Monitor

Filament usage monitoring concept, which uses a filament switch, and mechanical encoder to measure how much filament has been used and if it runs out.  The encoder can also measure if the filament is still moving to detect if the hot end has jammed.

image49

Internal lighting

OpenGB will include fade-able internal LED light strips controlled by the Arduino mini, with the option of having a proxy sensor to fade the light on when a user walks up to the printer.

Proxy Sensor Features

  1. Distance measuring range: 20 to 150 cm
  2. Analog output type
  3. Package size: 29.5×13×21.6 mm
  4. Consumption current: Typ. 33 mA
  5. Supply voltage: 4.5 to 5.5 V
image51

Stepper Motor Fault Detection

Detection for over temperate, over current, under current, and skipping will be included in the Arduino Mini Pro or through the main controller.

Nozzle Crash Detection

Accelerometer mount on the trolley can report spikes in acceleration, including in the Z directions.  This is an experiment addition to better detect nozzle crashes.

Features:

  • Operating Voltage: 1.8V – 3.6V
  • Typical Current: 300 μA
  • Range: ±3g
  • 3-axis sensing
  • Bandwidth adjustment with a single capacitor per axis
  • 1x Mounting Hole

 

image53

Redundant Temperature sensors on Extruders and Bed

These can use the same circuit as the main control board.

Ambient Temperature and Humility

image54

Features:

  • 3.3-6V Input
  • 1-1.5mA measuring current
  • 40-50 uA standby current
  • Humidity from 0-100% RH
  • -40 – 80 degrees C temperature range
  • +-2% RH accuracy
  • +-0.5 degrees C

re:Tech – Control Board

Controller

The new controller for OpenGB is loosely based on the open source RAMPS 1.4 control. The RAMPS 1.4 controler mounts on an Arduino Mega as an extension board (known as an Arduino Shield). The goal of the OpenGB controller is to include the following: motor driver for each motor, thermo couple and thermo resistor inputs, enough MOSFET power output for dual extruders, fan, and bed relay, endstops, and extra serial port terminals. This configuration keeps all of the active components on the professional board (arduino) and allows us to design with (mostly) with passive components.

ramps_board

The controller board will include the following features:

Stepper Motor Driver Sockets (7 drivers)

A total of seven motor drivers will be included, one (1) for the X-Axis, two (2) for the Y-Axis, two (2) for the Z-axis, and two (2) for extruders. The sockets are based on the Ti DRV8825 chip carrier board available from a number of suppliers and are currently used in the Gigabot 2.0.

image40_cropped

The sockets will also add support for the fault and VREF pin on the Sure Step carrier boards. This will allow for better error detection and for programmatically setting the current of each driver.

Preliminary Motor Driver Socket Schematic

Thermocouple Support (3Circuits)

Two thermocouple inputs will be included in the preliminary controller. They will be based on the AD8495 chip.

image41_cropped

Thermo Resistors (4 Circuits)

Four thermo resistor inputs will be included in the preliminary controller. They can be used for controlling the temperature of the two extruders or monitoring the temperature at other locations on OpenGB. The inputs can also be used for other analog sensing needs.

End Stop Terminals (8 terminals)

Eight (8) end stop inputs will be included in the preliminary controller. They will be labeled X-min, X-max, Y-min, Y-max, Z-min, Z-max, Filament Out, and extra.

Power Mosfets (4 circuits)

Four (4) power mosfets circuits will be included in the preliminary controller, based on the STP55 mosfet which is rated at 55 amps. Each circuits includes a indicator LED. The Circuits will be labeled Extruder 1, Extruder 2, Bed Relay, and Extra.

Serial Connections (2 terminals)

The arduino serial connection UART 0 and UART 1 will have terminals for easy integration. The SPI and I2C ports will also be broken out for onboard access.

These can will used in future iterations to avoid going through the USB hub with a direct UART to UART connection between the single board computer and the controller.

Reset Switch and Input

A reset switch will be included on the control board. There will also be a terminal block for an external reset switch. This switch should not be necessary for any normal operation.

Input for Induction bed Sensor

A single voltage divider will be included to enable the use of a bed touch less bed sensor to be used as the Z min limit switch

image46

First revision is shown below, but I am assuming that it is going to change. After we test it I will post the design files, so you can take a look.

–Patrick

patrick@re3d.org

re:Tech – OpenGB Cat proofing, Size and Shape…

(note the image above is a concept image only and not a real design)

The OpenGB project gives us a chance to think about how to add design elements or change the Gigabot configuration to make it fit better in a home office setting.  There are a few of us at re:3D that have Gigabots at home and also have cats, dogs, babies and whatnot.  Unfortunately our loved ones don’t really use common sense when jumping on the Gigabot or nibbling on it to see what it might taste like.  (I have explained to Mr. Squeakers that the Gigabot is not a cat toy / house, but he’s a bad listener.  It is a character flaw.)

But anyway…

So at the preliminary design review we identified a couple of area to see if we can make less tempting for little hands or paws. What do you think? Do you have a cat that attacks your 3D printer? Let us know, email patrick@re3d.org.

pinch_and_burn_point

Because of it’s large print volume the Gigabot 2.0 does not fit through many interior residential doors.  While there is some work arounds for this in a pitch, OpenGB is an opportunity to try to balancing shrinking one dimension of the Gigabot to less than 30 inches while trying to maintain the large build size.  How big are your doors?  Email and let us know, (patrick@re3d.org)  My interior doors are around 30″, and searching Home Depot and Lowes doors seem to be 30″, 32″, and 34″.  But there doesn’t seem to be a standard (for internal doors).

–Patrick

patrick@re3d.org

re:Tech – The Great Big Gigabot Experiment (or GBGE if you love acronyms)

At re:3D we are constantly evaluating opportunities to integrate open platforms and philosophies into our company & products. From the firmware that interprets Gigabot’s G-code, to 3D Thursday Google hangouts with our Kickstarter backers, we recognize that the best way to operate is by partnering with our community. With that in mind, we are experimenting with an iteration of our Gigabot open source design with an eye toward the Maker, the Tinkerer, and the Educator. We want to enable home or school-based manufacturing in a way that reflects today’s trends of openness, iteration, and personalization while solving some challenges you have shared.

Throughout this process, we’re learning a lot. Not only about 3D printing, but about how people create things, and what their challenges are. So in the coming weeks we would like to share this experience of gathering user experiences, and solicit as much feedback as we can from the tinkerers who have ideas and thoughts to share. We are also researching different ways to approach manufacturing, so you may see some alternatives to our current, low-volume approach that you see today in Gigabot.

Our aim is to align this version of Gigabot with the philosophies of the new industrial revolution that we see ourselves within. Customizable – yet having standardized interfaces. Modifiable – yet with a clean design. We want “Your Gigabot” to continue to be a melting pot for multiple industries, but have some specialized features that really take advantage of the size, and the diversity of input material.

The  “experimental version” of Gigabot which we are currently calling “OpenGB”  is designed to be built with open source development boards like the Arduino, and Beagle Bone. It will also explore solutions to some challenges our home based users and those collaborating on 3D printing projects have shared.  We think there might be a better name than OpenGB, but haven’t found it yet. We’re are hoping you will have some ideas.

This Gigabot has been inspired by the feedback & needs of our hobbyist hackers. As we adventure into an even more open Gigabot, we feel it is important to share our plans, and collect your inputs along the way. We invite you to check out our blog for project updates and to contact us directly with feedback at  engineering@re3d.org!