Project Update #29: Project Update - June 11 2014

Posted by Jean Le Bouthillier ♥ Like
Hello Backers,
I would like to share the latest news from the production floor since it has been a while. We have been really busy trying to get things moving, but we are experiencing some issues that are delaying production. In addition, the upgrading process from V2.0 to V2.5 has required further designing and R&D work which has also delayed the go ahead for mass production.
All things considered, the project is definitely making progress and I want everyone to know that the additional time we are taking is worth it for everyone. There is no point in shipping a problematic unit or something that doesn't meet the high standard we have promised. I think that the things we are dealing with are normal for a project like this and we are doing everything we can to progress as fast as possible.
Currently we are experiencing three main issues:

1) Our previous RUMBA PCB board supplier delivered an unsatisfactory batch with poor quality components and marginal performance. The samples boards were good, but when it came time for the actual batch, they lowered the component quality resulting in an unstable/marginal board.
The good news is that we have met with the original Rumba board designer this week and ordered 500 pcs directly from his preferred SMT line with a guarantee of top quality components and the latest board layout. Lead time for these boards is 7 days (which is extremely good). The samples we have tested so far perform quite well and are stable electronically.
2) Our machinist for the Hotend introduced an unspecified modification to our design and this also caused us to reject the initial batch of hotends. Basically, they decided to treat the nozzle with an anodization process which gave it a really good look, but dramatically disturbs the flow of plastic by creating a "grainy" surface inside the nozzle channel. This disturbance of plastic flow gives a "shaky" appearance to the print outlines. We have received a new batch of nozzles following the specifications and they are performing amazingly well. The remainder of the nozzles should be in before the end of the week.
The new nozzle following our specifications
3) Heat foils had to be redone to support a true 100 degree Celsius performance. The previous trace was not adequate and took a very long time to reach operating temperature. We will soon publish the new design along with the print surface fixture.
Latest revision of the print surface support pane laser cut in aluminium
What we had a chance to do while waiting for these components:

Experimentation with motion system:
We have been printing with both belt driven and cable driven versions to compare the impact of the drive system on the print quality. The conclusion is that the cable system is superior so we will be moving back to it despite our previous assessment that the belt was performing comparatively. Our molds included parts supporting both the cable and belt variant so this is a no brainer change, but it means higher quality prints.
As it stands the motion system is working really well and the machine is extremely sturdy. More information to follow.
Tweak the slicer profiles:
We've been testing extensively to get the best settings for the machine.
Test Print to check dimensional accuracy
One of our test printer - Printing vases for fun and to evaluate the print quality!
Just a simple video I took from my cellphone to show the print speed and characteristic. We were testing an experimental wipe feature for 5 mm in this particular print.

► Play video

LCD modules are all ready to go:
Some LCD modules among the 400 we've prepared
Packaging concept is ready and undergoing a ship test this week
We've created a high quality shipping concept and will test it this week by shipping a back and forth to see if it survives 100%. Below are some pictures to illustrate the concept.
One of the two inserts that will be found in the box you will receive
The three motion axis (most important part) protected by our packaging concept
The final printer will be black
A sample corner just came back from the paint shop. This gives a good idea of the final look: the machine will have.a beautiful black matte look. Limited edition blue printer will also be produced for higher tier backers.
Black Matte Color
What is next?

Our next step is to create a true reference machine with the latest components and fully tested to our satisfaction. Once we have this machine we will truly scale production to complete all the units.
Everything is in place to scale up the production, but we are not yet ready to begin.
Can you help?

We would like to find around 10 backers that have a lot of experience with 3D printing and would like to receive their unit first. We think this makes sense, because as less experienced users receive their units, there will already be members of the community with the machine in hand. We also think that these "super users" could validate the printer and alert us to any problems that we could correct during the production remaining sets.
We still plan to maintain the priority of orders, but we would include 10 sets for this special purpose at the beginning of the production queue. Please contact us at to apply.
Thank you and let us know your thoughts!