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Kabutoni

3D Modeling; The Future

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kvp

The idea is to use a phone screen as a light source. I would suggest to remove or disable all apps beforehand except the printer and put the phone into flight mode (unless the printer is using wireless, then just remove the sim). The printing app hopefully disables the screen turn off as it essentially plays a movie consisting of the various layers that are printed.

 

Interesting problems:

-pulling plate adherence

-liquid level sensing for proper dipping height calibration

-light leaks for wide angle and inverse leaks for cheap tn panels and non rectangle grid phone screens

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Martijn Meerts

Looks interesting, might have to back that one as well =)

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cteno4

i guess a $200 4" ipod touch would get you 326dpi screen. probably some androids out there similar that are cheap as well. 

 

Really will be interesting to see what the real detail on them will look like! interesting idea. Ive seen folks do DIY liquid polymer like this using a video projector to flash each layer.

 

lots of calibration stuff, but using a smart phone does give them access to some processing, built in communications, and other bits of sensors and such on the phone to use perhaps. plus those hardware costs are on a separate tab!

 

One trend i hate with some modern tech like this lately for the masses (this and one of the new consumer laser cutters for example i was recently looking at) is that there is a "cloud" link in the chain. this is always a worry with startups (and even big companies) that just have IT issues or end up going under and you are stuck w/o that link in the processing chain. it wasnt clear here where/what the cloud link was.

 

its not clear if you can pour the extra polymer back out of the machine and how you clean it, etc. From folks doing the high quality liquid polymer stuff ive talked to they say that one problem with the machines is keeping supplies fresh and cleaning the machine well and they are really designed for more on going use than sporadic use. I am assuming they have some solutions for this system as its consumer and will be spotty in use. But ive ruined a few ink jet printers by not using them enough and having the nozzels get clogged and being uncleanable and thus dead!

 

but if it continues at $99 i guess not as much a problem! but I wonder what the polymer costs will be. it showed like a 1/15 a bottle to make something they said was like 90 cents so im guessing like $12/bottle. of course scale could help this, but it may end up like the paper printer business where they sell the printers at or below cost and then getcha on the supplies!

 

jeff

 

ps i do also hate the new vertical web format with 2 sentence paragraph and photo repeat 20 times for 20 screen scroll! everything is in such small bits of data and does not connect with the rest of the stuff that its impossible to figure out the whole picture of what the page is to say! Makes it very hard to decide if you will drop bucks on something when you scroll thru these very long pages and at the end you dont have much to go on really! dont even want to think about the scrolling necessary on a smart phone to get thru them!

Edited by cteno4
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railsquid

One trend i hate with some modern tech like this lately for the masses (this and one of the new consumer laser cutters for example i was recently looking at) is that there is a "cloud" link in the chain. this is always a worry with startups (and even big companies) that just have IT issues or end up going under and you are stuck w/o that link in the processing chain. it wasnt clear here where/what the cloud link was.

 

Presumably some kind of app is involved, which implies dependencies on a) the app producer and b) the app provider. Hip kickstartup goes bust, and/or the app provider decides the app doesn't meet some obscure criteria? Better hope the app keeps working past the next system upgrade, or you can somehow side-load it onto your next device, etcetera.

 

ps i do also hate the new vertical web format with 2 sentence paragraph and photo repeat 20 times for 20 screen scroll! everything is in such small bits of data and does not connect with the rest of the stuff that its impossible to figure out the whole picture of what the page is to say! Makes it very hard to decide if you will drop bucks on something when you scroll thru these very long pages and at the end you dont have much to go on really! dont even want to think about the scrolling necessary on a smart phone to get thru them!

 

Indeed. Call me old-fashioned, but personally I'd find a site written in invalid HTML 3.2 with a shaky MPEG video of something which looks like it might work more believable than slick hipster-saturated commercials. Anyway, back on lawn patrol, gotta keep them darn pesky kids off it.

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kvp

I've run into problems like these with the sbrick lego control accessory. You have to use their community website for setting up your controls and can only choose from a few presets geared towards cars and tanks, not trains. In the end i resorted to the devkit of the ic provider. It turns out they just repackaged the stock bluetooth chip with PF connectors and a lego compatible house.

 

This printer has a mech in the top and some drive electronics. The phone app just shows the layers and might control the top. If you can find out the controls for that, then you can replace the app with your own. I'm even tempted to design an open source clone, but first there must be answers to the problems i listed above.

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Kabutoni

All of the above mentioned problems will probably have already been thought of methinks.

 

The price per bottle is indeed estimated to cost about $15 p/unit, which I think is very reasonable. Even at 20, I still would buy it, since it's cheaper than ordering prints online. Colour printing at home can still be more expensive than at a copy shop, ao I don't rally think that this is a fair comparison. The technology with 3D printing (at least the moving bits) is far less complex and materials are to be poured in manually. Much less parts involved, thus reducing costs for cartridges and such.

 

As for leftover material, I recall the app stating the amount of material needed (in cm^3 or so) per print, so an (over)estimate can be poured into the printing tray. Maybe we'll see a measuring device or method (e.g. simply weighing on a scale) later.

 

If the composition of the materials involved are found out, 3rd party companies might want to jump in and offer cheaper alternatives later as well. Heck, I can see base materials being sold in small amounts in local shops in the future already.

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cteno4

Tony,

 

Printer cartridges are pretty cheap, it's just marked way way up as that where they know they can make the ongoing profit. I just hope the 3D printer market does not follow this model! With this it could be a lock on the forularions of the polymers, but hopefully third parties will work around this if it happens! The print volume will be the volume necessary to cover the bottom at a minimum plus your build volume. For small bits the cover volume will be much larger but hopefully it will last a while in the tank so you can do a few fast runs of small stuff to keep using that cover volume.

 

Yes I sure they have thought of all these things just want to know what their solutions are! Marketing tends to try to obfuscate details like this and keep folks excited about the $99 price!

 

Jeff

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kvp

Printer cartridges are cheap to make, but many inkjet ones also contain the whole head assembly, so if one dries in, replacing the ink also replaces the head which repairs the printer. They can't really be refilled as the heads wear out after around 2 fills.

 

In this case the 'head' is the phone, so only the polymer is needed. Cleaning out a dried in tank should be as simple as taking the item off the pulling plate.

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Darklighter

its not clear if you can pour the extra polymer back out of the machine and how you clean it, etc. From folks doing the high quality liquid polymer stuff ive talked to they say that one problem with the machines is keeping supplies fresh and cleaning the machine well and they are really designed for more on going use than sporadic use. I am assuming they have some solutions for this system as its consumer and will be spotty in use. But ive ruined a few ink jet printers by not using them enough and having the nozzels get clogged and being uncleanable and thus dead!

 

but if it continues at $99 i guess not as much a problem! but I wonder what the polymer costs will be. it showed like a 1/15 a bottle to make something they said was like 90 cents so im guessing like $12/bottle. of course scale could help this, but it may end up like the paper printer business where they sell the printers at or below cost and then getcha on the supplies!

 

The answers to your questions can be found at the bottom of the kickstarter page. ;)

 

What is the process for printer clean up?
Clean with paper towel and as a final step, swab with standard alcohol.
 
Can you reuse the resin that is leftover in the chamber?
Yes, simply filter any slag and pour resin back in the bottle.
 
How would you know how much resin is needed for a given model so as not to waste resin by over pouring?
The printer tells you how much resin to pour for the selected model. Before you launch the job, OLO will prompt you to fill the chamber with the right amount of resin which is determined from the file itself and an algorithm.
 
How can I buy resin after the campaign and how much will it cost?
OLO has partnered with BackerKit to allow you to purchase extra resin and accessories at the end of the campaign. Once the campaign is over, resin will be available for $15 per bottle (depending on local taxes and import costs if applicable).

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cteno4

Thanks dark lighter, I guess I did not scroll far enough! Funny that some of the most important bits are at the tail end!

 

Been thinking about the pros and cons of using smart phones for this as business plan

 

Pros

- most of their market has one

- built in screen and computer

- not part of production cost of the machine (the most expensive bit)

- coolness to that audience

 

Cons

- ties up cell phone for a few hours

- major headache for permutation of platform os, version, size, hardware

- bugs with phone could be blamed on the printer (or maybe a pro to blame printer bugs on the phone, tech loves finger pointing wars)

- pace of cell phone development and keeping current on it

 

The last con could be a hard one and one that they would need to bury ongoing costs into then polymer. I have a few friends that have been in the cell phone software market and it's a rat race. While if you hit you get lots of return, the pace of keeping things working well on all systems all the time and into the future is an on going issue of how to pay for that. In this case any stumbling there takes out the hardware as well. Also goes for the cloud support needs, security (growing cost), and customer service costs in general when taking tech like this to the real mainstream.

 

They talk like they have thought all this thru, but I've worked in a tech company that went public, went thru the whole external auditing, vetting, and analysis process and saw how many stupid things that were on paper but wildly impossible in actual on the ground business terms be accepted as doable and a lot of money handed over. So I'm just a bit skeptical on these future cost issues as if one of them gets them the unit becomes worthless...

 

I assume they ran the numbers and did some experimenting with just buying their own screens and using a computer to flash the image to it or download processed files onto a flash drive and simple microprocessor to sit there and flash them to the screen and run the tank drive. More hardware, but not much more software and could allow it to be very robust and way more bullet proof and not hassle with the ever accelerating smart phone market.

 

Another reason I'm skeptical is in the last few years ive really been burned by being forced to do things by client just for the sake of using the coolest new tech when it was not needed at all. One exhibit has been running and evolving for 25 years with an ever changing set of equipment (always the best and bleeding edge of video and audio presentation systems) that is mostly all controlled via a few serial connections in the heart of the systems. Some of the new systems are network only control so that's done there,mbut the core is still serial and no need to change. Robust, totally isolated and has never ever failed except where someone pulled a cable loose! But last year they forced it to all network communication. Myself and the other engineer protested, but we're over ruled as they whole system had to be the most modern. Well it took two different tries to get it to be totally robust and then after 3 months it started to go crazy randomly. I kept asking about the network it was on and of course IT said the network would not cause those issues. Since it was an ongoing exhibit putting in more logs and sniffers was alway an issue that they might effect the exhibit and they only allow it to be touched when closed. Well after insisting for 5 months they finally went in and isolated the network the equipment was on completely and all the problems melted away. Yes it is now working well with the current network control, but it cost a lot of money, time, angst, and if some new idiot goes in from IT next month and decides to mess with it to bring it under the control of their systems we are back in the same pot... With a serial cable we never had this problem as none of the IT guys have any idea what they are!

 

So this is all to say I still like to question using the highest tech for simpler things and make sure the payoff is worth it and as many potential gotchas found and solved. In the above example if that was a profit based situation it would have been out of business.

 

Jeff

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Darklighter

Another drawback of their approach is that the brightness of the screen varies from phone to phone. I suppose, this is a critical parameter.

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cteno4

I'm guessing they have a calibration photosensor in the printer unit it stet the screen brightness.

 

Jeff

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kvp

Imho the phone idea might have come from that they have the highest dpi screens in an average home. Much better than most monitors and they are usually flat, so easy to put under a box. The app needs to be rather basic, essentially show full screen images and communicate with the printer (somehow) to transmit start/next dip/done commands. The latter could even be done using bluetooth or using optosensors in a blanked off corner of the screen to transmit low speed serial commands with screen corner flashes or using the analog headset socket for bidirectional serial communication. Steal power from the charger cable and you have a cheap device with very simple hardware or software.

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inobu

Not sure if the technology is actually achieved. A few question that comes to mind. 

 

The unit requires a stepper motor that should be in sync with the phone.

If the light from the phone is the catalyst shouldn't the resin be concealed from light?

The viscosity of the resin is rather thin. How does the unit control gravity's effect on the resin.

If the resin is poured into the closed chamber how does it avoid the vacuum lock.

 

  Didn'teven see a power cord.   .   

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Darklighter

Not sure if the technology is actually achieved. A few question that comes to mind. 

 

The unit requires a stepper motor that should be in sync with the phone.

If the light from the phone is the catalyst shouldn't the resin be concealed from light?

The viscosity of the resin is rather thin. How does the unit control gravity's effect on the resin.

If the resin is poured into the closed chamber how does it avoid the vacuum lock.

 

  Didn'teven see a power cord.   .   

Some answers from the FAQ section:

 

Is OLO only battery operated? Does it have a cord?
OLO is only battery operated. OLO uses an algorithm to determine if you have enough battery power for the print you selected and will let you know if you have enough power before you print.
 
How sensitive is the resin to light? Does it need to be stored in a special way?
The bottles in the video are transparent only for illustration purposes. The actual resin will come in black bottles. Store resins in a cool, dry place.
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cteno4

Yeah I was wondering if they had a 5v plug as well maybe a vampire cord to phone power cord.

 

The stepper could just increment with each flash (i.e. Have a communications spot like kvp suggested) or be blue tooth to do the motor coordination. There is a small amount of communication needed between the phone and printer, but it's not much and like kvp outlined a number of simple ways to do this.

 

the print is started attached to the stepper plate and each layer added at the very bottom of the tank at the phone screen. Each flash of a layer on the phone only polymerizes a thin film at the very bottom right where the printed object is, then it's pulled up a step and repeat. Just means there must be enough polymer to cover the bottom to the end of the print (this coating volume must be there plus the print volume of polymer). Since the print plate appears to float in the tank box I don't think there is any issue of vapor lock as displacements are all equalized above and below the plate or the new print being exposed equalized against the drop in polymer volume.

 

Jeff

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HantuBlauLOL

their printer might be cheap, but their visible light curable resins are imo absolutely not. it's their secret recipe anyway..

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cteno4

Yes they are replacing the laser with the cell phone light mask. Flash a layer at a time. The high res units have used lasers and the control components and lasers are what make them expensive to come down in price to home kits. There have been folks doing this type of 2D mask photo catylized printing DIY with video projectors. There was a chap a year or so in holland I believe doing some remarkable 1/144 scale doll house stuff with the video projector liquid polymer printer he hand built. But this guy is an extreme DIY guy!

 

they have gotten fancy with their polymers to be able to utilize cell phone LED light to do the catalysis. Also may add to their polymer costs and my worry about the long run on costs of they are the only source of their sekret sauce! But to be a consumer level item they have to keep it to within what Joe Schmo will pay, but 2d printing they have been able to strangle those costs up quite a bit.

 

It looks like they can catalyize the whole layer at once with the Phone. But it's basically catalyize a layer then pull it up a step and repeat until done.

 

Anyhow it looks like it will be a fun little printer to at least play with at $99! Even if to so a few things now and then for fun or even if not totally down to 1/150 scale there are bits like walls and roofs and some details that it might work for at n scale! Just have to steal my wife's iPhone at night to run print jobs! Let's hope the polymer prices go down when they scale up or alternatives come in for competition.

 

Jeff

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kvp

Is there any similar visible light based polymers on the market? So far i've only seen uv curable plastics and paints.

 

ps: i would like to experiment a bit as i have a phone and could bash together an arduino based stepper motor driver in a few hours, so only need a suitable puller plate, some flat bottom glass containe, black paint and the magic resin

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cteno4

Also the clear filmmthatmthe polymer does not stick to!

 

I'll go try to find the I think Dutch Guy's site, he had a good blog with details on the build. Was funny a good sized projector and housing with a new lens to focus down to a small area!

 

Jeff

Edited by cteno4

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inobu

They are at $800k..... That's more than what I have.......

 

I think it is a "kickstart" for some one. . 

 

If you work with resin a lot you will see that a chain/chemical reaction occurs during the curing process. I'm not sure that the LED screen with its layers will be able to start the chemical reaction.

iphonescreen.jpg?w=730

If it can the resin has to be some what unstable.

 

This is kinda like 92 89 or 87 octane gas. 87 octane is unstable compared to 92. Performance cars need higher octane because the engine will pack more gas in the cylinders. Using 87 octane it a performance will cause detonation. Meaning the gas will explode in the cylinder before it suppose to causing engine failure. 

 

So, if they are going to use a cell phone LED instead of a Laser then the resin needs to have a very low catalyst threshold. Making it susceptible to light issues.    

 

 

 

 

I guess October will be the releases date so we will have to wait and see.

 

Inobu

Edited by inobu

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cteno4

Well they do show it actually working in their videos unless they are totally faking it! It looks like they have worked out most of the tech details and it's the taking it to market step which was what the funding is for.

 

I know this has been around for a while using dip projectors rather than a laser. Granted a cell phone screen is lower intensity, but they seem to have it working. It sounds like from their info they worked on getting a polymer that would catalyze at cellphone wavelengths and frequencies. Does means the vat should not loaded in bright light and I expect that it may begin to gum up after a few pour backs and extra exposure to light.

 

http://www.instructables.com/id/Chimera-60-DLP-resin-3d-printer/

 

http://www.lcd3dprinter.com

 

Jeff

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Kabutoni

Does means the vat should not loaded in bright light and I expect that it may begin to gum up after a few pour backs and extra exposure to light.

 

That's why they mention cleaning the printing tray with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol after usage. It also seems that alcohol will affect the material, as they also mention post-processing with this to smoothen out printed objects.

 

As I mentioned before, the resins themselves will probably become available as cheaper options later from 3rd parties, as resins that cure by light (daylight or UV) are already available for 3D printers: http://www.photocentric3d.com/  The daylight curing polymer resins are developed for LCD screen printing and cheaper per volume than OLO's. This can already indicate that when popularity increases, other -possibly cheaper, materials will become available in the future (I'm giving it a few years). On behalf of OLO there was some concern regarding the patents, but apparently there was no need for concern for that Photocentric Ltd. stated: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/olo3d/olo-the-first-ever-smartphone-3d-printer/posts/1529670 This is probably because the Photocentric resins are cheaper (sales advantage) and/or OLO actually has their stuff produced by Photocentric. Either way, this already proves that cheaper alternatives will be made and are already there.

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Darklighter

Some critical remarks:

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