3D Printer Start-Up

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Overview

Company Name: A3D Technologies
Slogan: "Affordable Quality in 3 Dimensions"
Status: Name Registered Nov 1 2014
Date of Incorporation: Fenruary 1 2014 (Projected)
Contact: [Ryan Blackwood]

Team

At the moment I am the only team member, though I have a few "consultants". I am looking for people to join my team. Along with helping with design and construction, I could really use some help with our online presence(Set up a website, forum, and social networking accounts), managing supply chains, developing software, and doing research into materials, shipping, etc.

This is a work in progress, so many of the details below will probably change more than once. Please check back often for updates, and feel free to E-mail me above with any questions/comments/suggestions.

Primary Concept

Provide an affordable consumer level 3D Printer that is easy to set up, fast, and very high quality.

How we're different

What sets us apart from all the other 3D Printers flooding the market right now?

Our primary focus for our printers are quality and speed, while still being affordable. All of our printers are constructed with the highest quality Stainless Steel hardware (almost all other printers use zinc alloys, which corrode and rust very easily). All of our printers are fully tested and calibrated before being shipped (and will just need to run a quick calibration once opened). Our printers are FAST. Most printers print around 100-150mm/s (Many claim they can do 300mm/s, but no one has ever seen them actually do it), our printers currently print at over 300mm/s and we're working on getting them up to 500mm/s. All of our printers are fully enclosed (we're using custom acrylic enclosures at the moment, but may expand to aluminum as well)


Key Features

Print Area: 220mm^3 and 305mm^3
Print Materials: PLA, ABS, Nylon(Projected)
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Single Direct Drive (Dual Direct Drive Optional)
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $500-1200 USD Depending on Features

Goals

Our eventual goal is a professional looking, consumer level 3D Printer that can print right out of the box (after running a simple calibration test, much like an inkjet test page) for under $700.

Speed: Print .3 Layer Height at 500mm/s

Quality: Stainless Steel Hardware; Acrylic, Aluminum, and HDPE parts; fully tested and calibrated electronics; 1 Year Warranty

Ease of Use: Ready to print straight out of the box; just plug in, install software, run a simple calibration, and it's ready

Affordability: A $700 price tag for our Standard model, with a possible $500 Basic model

Print Materials: PLA, ABS, Nylon, and More

Design Phases

Phase 1 (10/2014)

Plan:Start a kickstarter selling kit and complete v1 printers that run on open source software. v1 printers will still require some assembly and calibration prior to printing. The Basic model will be only partially enclosed and will have mostly printed parts as opposed to mostly formed parts in the other models.

Printer: Q3D Basic-v1
Print Area: 220mm x 220mm x 150mm
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 300+mm/s
Extruders: Single Direct Drive
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $500 USD
Printer: Q3D Sv1
Print Area: 220mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Single Direct Drive
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $700 USD
Printer: Q3D Sv1-B
Print Area: 310mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Single Direct Drive
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $900 USD
Printer: Q3D Dv1
Print Area: 220mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Dual Direct Drive
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $850 USD
Printer: Q3D Dv1-B
Print Area: 310mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Dual Direct Drive
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $1100 USD
  • Prices are for complete printers, kits will be 10% less.

Phase 2 (7/2015)

Timeframe: 3-6 Months after all printers from the initial kickstarter have shipped.

Plan: Continue selling our v1 printers online (Minimum of X, plus a few extra to exhaust remaining inventory specific to those designs) Start a kickstarter for our v2 printers. Other than minor differences below, the v2 will be slightly more compact, have more modularity, and will not be offered in a kit. It also shouldn't require as much assembly and calibration os the v1.

Printer: Q3D Sv2
Print Area: 220mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Single Direct Drive (Upgraded)
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $700 USD
Printer: Q3D Sv2-B
Print Area: 310mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Single Direct Drive (Upgraded)
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $850 USD
Printer: Q3D Dv2
Print Area: 220mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Dual Direct Drive (Upgraded)
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $800 USD
Printer: Q3D Dv2-B
Print Area: 310mm^3
Print Materials: PLA & ABS
Material Size: 1.75mm or 3mm
Nozzle Size: .2 .3 .4 Included
Print Speed: 400+mm/s (Aiming for 500mm/s)
Extruders: Dual Direct Drive (Upgraded)
Heated Bed: Included
LCD & Controls: Optional
SD Printing: Standard
Price: $1000 USD

Phase 3 (1/2016)

Timeline: 6-12 Months after all printers from the 2nd Kickstarter have shipped. Plan: Offer our v2 and v3 printers, which will run on open source software, but will also come with custom host software with the most common print settings pre-loaded. v3 printers will print at at 500mm/s, be capable of printing Nylon, and be ready to run out of the box.

Printer: Q3D Sv3, Sv3-B, Dv3, Dv3-B
Print Materials: PLA, ABS, Nylon
Print Speed: 500+mm/s
Price: TBD


Q & A

       The XYZPrinting DaVinci already hits this price point, build volume, and is enclosed. How is yours different?

The XYZ printer uses proprietary cartridges with chips that you have to buy from them, the chips tell the printer when it's out of filament, and it sounds like 90% of the time there's still filament in the cartridge when the printer says it's empty.

It only prints in ABS, not PLA and prints slow (My v3 will also print Nylon and print fast)

The software with it is pretty bad (I'll bundle repetier-host with the v1 & v2, but I'd like to develop better software for the v3)

It's on the loud side (I'm hoping to make mine very quiet)

       Do you intend to make a 3D printer using printed parts?

-Not necessarily. The v1 will have several printed parts, but far fewer than most. The v3 will probably not have any printed parts (to reduce size, weight, & cost).

       What do you have to offer that others cannot? The market is saturated with 3D printer options and this printer has to stand out.

-The v3 will be ready to print straight out of the box, and along with the v1 & v2 will be quieter, faster, and more reliable than most printers on the market.

       While the $500 price point is appealing, what tradeoffs are being made to reach this price point when compared to the $1000 mark? 

-The initial units will not be $500 (right now I'm looking at $700), but $500 is what I'm aiming at for the v3. With bulk pricing you can get every physical item for a decent printer for around $400.

       How many units would you plan on being produced?

-Phase 1 (v1) = 50-100 units, Phase 2 (v1 & v2) = 500 units, Phase 3 (v2 & v3) 1000+ units

       Do you have a budget developed for each of the components?

-Yes, we have broken down each printer into 5 categories: Enclosure, Hardware, Electronics, Extruder, Miscellaneous

       One of the killers with 3D printing is the speed of print.  Typical Cartesian-based printers are slow. 

-v1 & v2 will print at least 300mm/sec, I'm hoping for at least 500mm/s on the v3

       Microsoft has support for 3D printers in Windows 8.1. Making a simple "plug and print" system is ideal.

-We hope to have this capability by v3

       What kind of fume extraction will there be? 

-Our enclosure will have an exhaust port with fan, that will activate once the print is complete (or by manual control). The port can be fitted with a carbon filter, or a hose to vent outside.

       What testing will be performed on production-representative units?

-Full testing will be performed on a select group of printers (I'm thinking about leaving them at the space for people to use all they want, with cameras recording the prints to keep track of print times and failures. The complete printers being shipped will have a special test item printed in both PLA and ABS(similar to http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:33902) and those parts will be included with the printers as proof of quality control. Kits will have their electronics set up on a test printer and will be tested and calibrated with the same test item (which will also go with the kit as proof)

       Will the printer be made of metal and injection molded parts? Will you make it?

-The enclosure will most likely be acrylic, I have a couple quotes from different companies but am still finalizing the design. An Aluminum enclosure may be offered in the future. Most of the other parts that are not off the shelf will probably be made of HDPE or aluminum for strength and ease of manufacture. Due to the high cost of equipment and facilities, the enclosures and other manufactured parts wil most likely not be manufactured in house.

       Logistics. Manufacturing will likely will have to be sourced in China.

-The electronics will probably come from China, but all other components will be manufactured and assembled in the US. If there is a lot of interest in Europe we may set up a facility in Europe as well, in which parts will probably be made in Europe. We're using some Chinese parts for our prototypes, to keep costs low, but production printers should be 80% US Made.


   I'm not familiar with the SMIT.  What is it?


-http://www.meetup.com/Southern-Maryland-Innovation-and-Tech/ it's an incubator program that is working with Paxspace to help entrepreneurs to meet co-founders and secure funding.