Above: The Power Button. Below: Lots of parts. Head, case, lids, screws and a printrbot photo bomb.
Hey guys it's Drew, and I'm back from China! We pumped out lots of Matterform scanner parts at the factory and I brought back enough parts to make seven test units.
Let’s do a quick recap. I went to the factory to oversee quality control and testing; We pulled 17 hour days (pretty normal around Matterform for the last…8 months) and Dylan and I solved any issues that cropped up. Lots and lots of bright orange plastic bits came out of the machines. Why orange you ask? Because first shot is just a tolerance test. We just need to make sure all the parts fit together and work correctly before you do a real production run. We’re talking tolerance changes in the microns, so it’s fiddly work and time consuming, but it’s done!
Continue reading on our blog, click here...
We’ve got some news for you. Some of it good, some of it bad.
We’ll start with the good news. Production is speeding along. In fact, Drew will be heading to the factory this weekend to oversee QA and testing and will have lots to report when he’s there (he’s promised to post pictures).
We’re so close to shipping, we can almost taste it.
Now the bad news: We’re not going to be able to deliver at the end of November.
We’d love to be able to blame someone else, but no, it’s on us. We were delayed a month when we found out our originally designed circuit board wouldn’t pass FCC certification and had to be redesigned. We made up for some of the delay but we now realize that we completely underestimated the amount of time it would take to ship the scanners.
They’ll be travelling to most of our distribution hubs around the world by sea. Our launch will now bump up against increased Christmas shipping traffic (which ties up shipping routes and ports). This means that, for some of you, your scanners will be on a boat for nearly a month.
That’s way longer than we thought it would take and we’re sorry. That doesn’t fix the situation but please don’t think we’re sitting here not caring about the delay.
When we told you to expect your scanner in November, we were working with what we understood about production and international shipping at the time. We’ve learned a lot since then.
Before this, we had no experience in bringing a product to market. Or fabrication, or tooling, production, distribution, electronic product certification or international shipping (that last one was a doozy). But we do now, and we’re still learning. You’ve been so supportive of us so far and for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We’re asking that you remain patient as we move our scanner - your scanner - through to the end of production.
Drew will be able to provide updates (and photos) from the factory once he’s there next week. By the time he returns, we should have a firm date on when scanners will start to leave the factory and make their journey to you.
As soon as we know, you’ll know.
Thanks so much. We’ll have more updates soon.
Check your inbox (and junkmail?)
A little while ago we sent out about 1000 emails to those of you that ordered a scanner to get your shipping addresses (not the retail or mini model perk yet). Nearly 900 of you have replied to that email and filled out your addresses (Thank you!) but about 160 of you haven’t. We need those of you that haven't to check your email or junk mail! If you’re having an issue with the form, let us know (email@example.com, not here where it’ll get lost) and we’ll help out.
Please note, this step is NOT optional. The data we got back from IndieGoGo on shipping from many of you was incomplete. If you don’t click the link in the email we’re sending to you and confirm your order, we won’t be able to ship to you.
Shipping is slated to START at the end of November but we need you to confirm your shipping address through the link we’re sending you so that there are no delays.
Thank you for all your continued patience and support,
The Matterform Team
Matterform Production Update
Molten plastic, rooms of metal, lasers and torque, oh my.
Where are we?
People close to the team and a few of our backers already knew, but 4 weeks ago we began production!
We’ll be going to the factory and checking out the first units off the assembly line soon!
What is tooling? In order to mass produce an object we have to make giant hollow metal molds. Hot plastic is then injected into them to make our parts. And tooling is the process of cutting away the metal in the molds to make the hollow where the plastic parts are made. These molds are liquid cooled and would fill up a 600 sq/ft room. Cool eh? Or scary if you were thinking about standing in a room of molten plastic...
While the lenses we were using were fine there were no registrations points on them. Their outer shape was just round. The team designed a similar lens with the desired fan angle for the laser line and added registration marks to it to ensure it sits in the correct position. This makes for faster assembly, faster calibration, and lens that don’t move over time or in shipment. it also means we don’t have to worry about sourcing a lens or manufacturers changing a part. We are the lens supplier.
Surprise! Even better lasers! How do lasers get better? Better focus. This means a thinner and more even line. Laser lines can have hot spots. We’ve now got less hot spots on a thinner more unified line, than before. This results in a better scan on most objects.
Better Y-Axis Motor:
We didn’t feel that our previous Y-Axis motor had enough kick to it so we’ve switched to one a little stronger and beefier that’s been custom made for us.
We went back to make some edits on our mainboard. We switched to a better DC-DC regulator setup as we said we probably would, and switched from a 2 layer PCB to a 6 layer. This helps with FCC/CE/ etc emissions regulations. We’re making sure this ‘little’ hobby project of ours passes all tests and is a full fledged product. This step ensures things get held up at the border less during shipping, as well as helping to make a more solid product.
......... [Update cut due to length] ....
Continue reading the rest of this post or comment on our blog here: http://www.matterform.net/blog/382/Matterform-Production-Update-Molten-plastic-rooms-of-metal-lasers-and-torque-oh-my
UPDATE: Color Scanning with Matterform
Many of you seem mostly interested in monochrome scanning for 3D Printing, but we did promise color scans, and we’re excited to show some off!
Here’s a teaser image of a color scan we did of a San Pellegrino pop can. There’s a fair amount of reflection on the can so we’re pretty impressed at how well it worked. A normal non-reflective object will have fewer reflection holes (holes which are patched during meshing). We thought for a change of pace we’d show a raw point cloud rather than a final mesh like we usually do. The Matterform scan software will output both. You can see how dense most of the scan is, and this was just a single half pass. That’s a pretty dense point cloud.
We’re working on a few tweaks for the rendering engine to allow the captured color to show in our software. We’ll post more on that and more color scans afterwards. Right now you can save the color scans as OBJ or PLY files. 3D programs like 3DS Max or Solidworks have no problem opening these file types.
Read more or comment on our blog here: http://www.matterform.net/blog/381/Color-Scanning-with-Matterform