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Robox 3D printer enables plug-and-print operation

18 Nov 2014

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3D printing has been a runaway hit in the electronics industry, proving to be a great tool for prototyping and a game-changer in manufacturing. Recently, element14 launched a plug-and-print 3D printer that claims to be the simplest, most reliable and comprehensive 3D printing platform available—Robox.


(Source: CEL)

Developed by U.K.-based product development company CEL, the Kickstarter-funded Robox features a dual-nozzle system that promises to improve print speeds by up to 300 per cent, compared with existing 3D printers available in the market.

CEL Robox

A dual-nozzle system controls the flow of material and lifts the unused nozzle (up) and a smart reel feature equipping an EEPROM that stores material data, allowing Robox to automatically set print parameters. (Source: CEL)

A single material feed can be directed out of one of two nozzles. The smaller nozzle enables production of highly-detailed exterior surfaces, while the larger one is used to stuff the object, multiple layers at a time.

The company points out that the printer does this method of filling without any negative impact on strength or detail, with the help of a needle-valve system that stops 'ooze' and 'stringing' from the nozzles.

Another draw of the printer is a universal interface that allows users to quickly and easily change the head, turning the platform into a different machine performing another function. The HeadLock system will work with all future upgrades to the Robox platform, including a two-material head, stylus cutter, milling head and 3D scanner, according to CEL.

In terms of programming and software, hobbyists and makers who have no intense programming training will find Robox's automatic material recognition feature attractive. Each reel contains a chip that stores all the necessary parameters for the material, which has been thoroughly tested. This way, the printer is automatically programmed and ready to print as soon as the reel is installed.

CEL developed its own platform, which "further enhances the simplicity and usability of the printer for experts and novices alike." The software is divided into simple and advanced modes, with the former enabling the plug-and-print feature. Advanced mode allows more experienced users to alter all parameters of the printer manually.

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