Robox 3D printers are one of the newer names on the scene, with CEL’s original product having been launched during the first quarter of 2012. However, their products meet a very specific need: home printing. There are many naysayers out there who think that 3D printers aren’t necessarily geared towards or even ready for the domestic market or lighter scale applications because they’re perceived as being too hard to use. This isn’t the case though. CEL have designed the Robox printer in aims of simplifying the 3D printing process and making it more accessible to general users. No, 3D printing isn’t the easiest skill to master, but those who have a requirement for 3D printing needn’t rely on commercial printers any longer. Home printers are growing in popularity and it’s only a matter of time before they become mainstream.
Who are CEL?
CEL are a rapidly growing peripheral developer based in the United Kingdom. It is presided by Chris Elsworthy and Kenneth Tam, who are both involved in the development of 3D printers and their associated innovations that make them more suitable for the home market.
CEL is one of the newest companies to begin offering 3D printers for the domestic market. As it stands, very little information exists on the company because their company website was launched a mere few weeks ago on October 25, 2013. However, the public’s reception of the Robox printer has been overwhelmingly positive. For such a short lived company, they’ve managed to accumulated nearly 300 likes on their official Facebook page as of November 12, 2013. This is certainly a positive and encouraging sign for what the future holds!
What Does the Dual Nozzle System Accomplish?
Many single nozzle systems are only able to print mediocre exterior surfaces. While this is generally suitable for prototyping, many home users aren’t concerned with this sort of approach to printing and demand a higher output quality that reflects what they’re printing: usually scale models, figurines, and other artistic pieces. The Robox printer is based on a dual-nozzle system, which points one nozzle towards the exterior in order to accent models with highly detailed surfaces and another that serves to fill the multiple layers within a model without affecting the exterior detailing work. The end result is a more finely crafted piece that accurately represents the artistic qualities that printers sought in the first place: something that’s usually difficult to achieve with a single nozzle system.
What Other Features Are Included?
The design quality of the Robox printer is second to none. The frame and motors of the printer are rigid, accurately positioned, and difficult to bring off course. The components are secured to a single stainless steel frame, which greatly reduces the need for factory calibration since the printer comes pre-calibrated and ready to use right out of the box.
The Robox printer is based on a dual-pinch wheel extrusion system, where filaments are fed to the printer head by two feed wheels. This greatly reduces the possibility of stripping a filament and ensures the printer has a longer product life cycle than traditional 3D printers on the market today. It’s also possible to control the motion of the filament using the printer’s drivers and software, which automatically pause the print job if any errors are detected.
What About Ooze?
One of the most common problems that plagues 3D printers is ooze. This is where the plastic loses its rigidity and becomes softer, free-flowing molten materials that clog the print needles. CEL have implemented a needle-valve system, which completely closes the nozzles at the point they extrude plastics. This eliminates issues relating to stringing and blobbing plastics for a cleaner and more accurate finish than other domestic printers on the market today.
How Much Does it Cost?
The Robox printer has yet to hit the market, but is tentatively billed at costing in the region of £849 ($1,353 / €1,003).
It’s difficult to draw any conclusions on the Robox printer at the present time. While all signs are pointing towards this being one of the most successful at-home 3D printers to be launched onto the market, it it competing against already established names on the domestic scene that have already carved quite a niche for themselves. Only time will tell whether or not this printer actually does well in the grand scheme of things, but I don’t see any reason why the Robox printer won’t enjoy a successful product life cycle and gain a stable foothold on the 3D printer market.