Better 3D Printing Material

We want to make high-quality, more affordable and locally made 3D printing material for the community!
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Michael Cao
Technology
Dublin, Ohio
United States
7 Team Members

Thank you for the media attention!

HiVelocity Media

3Ders.org

3DPrintingIndustry.com

Who are we and what are we doing?

We are Michael Cao and Larry Knopp.  Michael Cao has been in the automotive industry for about 10 years as a product design engineer specializing in interiors. Throughout that time, he's also used various commercial 3D printers to prove out concepts for plastic parts. For the past 2 years, he's dabbled with desktop 3D printers and has built and tuned about three dozen Repraps, Makerbots, and others.  

Larry Knopp also has a mechanical engineering backgroud, is an IT systems expert and enjoys teaching.  He has spent nearly everyday experimenting with desktop 3D printing for about 2 years.  Larry loves to spend his free time contributing to 3D printer forums and groups and has helped hundreds of people start printing on their own.

Together, we've gone through A LOT of filament from various producers and are frankly tired of poor quality in the form of loose diameter tolerances, DEBRIS in filament, low quality raw plastic base and paying overseas shipping in some cases. 

What exactly are the problems?

Diameter: Most desktop 3D printers, such as Repraps, Makerbots, (and even the 3Doodlers) drive plastic rod that's usually 3mm or 1.75mm in diameter through a tiny hole (and, in some cases, a tube, such as in Bowden systems) to then get melted.  While typical "extruders" can handle slight variances, most systems will jam and cause filament stripping if the size is too large or too small.

Debris:  Nearly all producers of 3D printing filament primarily produce the product for the plastic welding industry. Plastic welders take 3mm filament and push it out of a 3mm nozzle.  Any debris in the filament doesn't get detected, therefore the manufacturers only need a certain low level of quality control. The nozzle on most 3D printers is only about 0.25mm-0.5mm in diameter!  Any tiny piece of sawdust or cardboard shaving will cause clogging (which will pretty much ruin your weekend).

Plastic source:  Not all ABS is created equal. ABS is an engineered plastic.  Therefore, thousands of different formulations have been created to cater to various product needs. Some are designed to be very hard for things like safety hard hats, while others are designed to be more flexible and support fine detail like for automotive interiors.  ABS that works great for one industry doesn't necessarily extrude well in 3D printers.

Moisture: ABS and PLA, which are the two most common materials for 3D printing, are slightly hygroscopic meaning they absorb moisture.  When the material that's about to be extruded in a 3D printer contains moisture, it will essentially boil in the hot-end then create a little bubble that pops out of the nozzle.  This is not only bad for surface appearance, but will cause poor layer bonding which can be disastrous for structural parts.

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How exactly will we address the problems?

Diameter: We will implement a 2-way laser gauge.  This is a non-contact measuring method that will check the diameter from two different angles (90 degrees apart).  This will also ensure that the roundness is within spec.

Debris: Cleanliness is perhaps our main focus.  This is in no small part due to our fair share of unclogging hot-ends.  We're designing custom in-house systems to tightly control the logistics of the raw pellets.  We're also creating methods to ensure that the raw pellets coming into the factory get cleaned before entering any equipment.

Plastic source: For the past 2 years, we've used plastic filament from over a dozen sources in various printers and even pushed it through a few different types of hot-ends.  We've narrowed down the type of raw plastic that just works.

Moisture: To ensure the raw plastic material is free from H2O, every single pellet will travel through a drying system before entering the filament extruder.  To make sure moisture doesn't get into the product after we make it, each spool of filament will get vacuum sealed with a packet of dessicant.

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What We Need & What You Get

We're asking for $20,000 to help cover some of the cost for equipment, raw materials in bulk, factory space and hiring skilled local operators. In return, not only do you get high quality, lower cost, home-grown filament, you'll be helping us bring this filament to the entire 3D printing community!

Your contributions will go towards an industrial size plastic extrusion production line (big!), several tons of virgin ABS pellets (heavy!), supplies such as spools, labels and bags, factory space, and most importantly, a skilled operator (brave!).

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What will we be making and why?

Type: At this time, we're going to only produce ABS filament.  We personally enjoy printing with ABS for its extruding characteristics (less oozing), mechanical properties (less brittle and squeaky), chemical properties (acetone-fusing smaller parts to make big ones), and post-processing ease (acetone vapor washes are just fantastic).  Our central Ohio 3D printing community also seems to favor ABS.  We understand that PLA is also a very popular material along with the growing use of Nylon.  So, we will not rule out producing this material in the future, perhaps with a second extruder to guarantee material purity.

Size: We mainly use 3mm diameter filament for its ease of handling and toughness against stripping vs. 1.75mm.  From our experience in the 3D printing world, it seems that the split between 3mm and 1.75mm filament users is pretty close to 50%.  Therefore, we plan to start extruding 3mm filament first, followed shortly by 1.75mm size.

Color: We will be offering our standard palette of colors.  This includes:

  • Natural
  • Black
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Green

Keeping a limited selection helps control color quality as well as maintain lower costs by reducing the material handling time.  Sorry, avid users of puke green and bubblegum pink...

We'll send out a survey after the campaign ends to get your preference for size and color.

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Perks:

We've designed the perks to cater to these categories of printers:

The casual printer:  makes their own prototypes, toys, and other gadgets to impress their co-workers and also to keep their spouse from getting upset at all the time they spend 3D printing.

The frequent printer: gets requests to print things from everyone they know, from the dentist to the moms of their buddies.  His peers are usually jealous that he owns a 3D printer.

The start-up:  This guy got a printer and started making some cash selling Reprap kits.  Knows the difficulty in finding a good low-cost filament supplier, but wants to buy wholesale for his own printing and to re-sell on his site.  Dreams of quitting corporate America.

The hackerspace:  a group of local guys who hang out regularly to make stuff and geek-out together.  They enjoy helping each other form theories about the existance of "Z-banding."  Loves group buys.

The printing libraries:  Now, this is a cool concept that's starting to pop up all over the country.  Libraries (the ones full of 2D printed objects...) are starting to obtain 3D printers and train up librarians to print things for people.  Just awesome.

We'll send out a survey after the campaign ends to get your preference for size and color.

Schedule:

June (mid)    - Campaign ends, kick-off equipment build.

July (end)     - Receive equipment and materials.  Test & tune.

August (end) - Deliver first spool of plastic!

 

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Please help us spread the word to those you know who are 3D printing!

 

Oh, and we'd like to say one more thing while it's our turn on the soapbox...

Just say NO to PROPRIETARY FILAMENT CARTRIDGES!

That's just dumb.

 

A very special thanks to...

Columbus Idea Foundry

The Columbus Idea Foundry, run by a great guy named Alex, is Columbus Ohio's premiere hackerspace and incubator.  Those guys and gals are doing truly awesome things and helping out a lot of people, including us!

B3

B3 Innovations is founded by two very talented (and funny) guys who have a vision to create the perfect 3D printer hot-end and much more to come.  We've personally helped them beta test, and we can tell you that it's definitely worth the wait!  Keep an eye open for their Kickstarter campaign launching soon.

 Graviton

Graviton Entertainment offers a whole host of media needs including video production, graphic design, brand imaging and a ton more.  It was truly a pleasure to work with these professional gentlemen.


Thank you...

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IC3D logo

Contact Us

info@ic3dprinters.com

http://ic3dprinters.com/

Find This Campaign On
$22,112USD
raised by 87 people in 1 month
111% funded
No time left
$20,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on June 15, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $35USD
    I print stuff for me!

    One (1) 2lb spool of high-quality ABS filament. Free US shipping. (Intl orders please add $8 for shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website!

    35 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $50USD
    I wanna help more!

    You get the snazzy 4GB flash drive AND a 3D printed coin-op bottle opener! Free US shipping. (Intl orders please add $8 for shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website!

    3 out of 200 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $80USD
    I wanna help even more!

    Two (2) 2lb spools of high-quality ABS filament. PLUS the snazzy 4GB signature USB flash drive. Free US shipping. (Intl orders please add $15 for shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website!

    0 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $130USD
    I print stuff for friends!

    Four (4) 2lb spools of high-quality ABS filament. Free US shipping. (Intl orders please add $20 for shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website!

    15 out of 30 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $300USD
    I print stuff for everyone!

    Ten (10) 2lb spools of high-quality ABS filament. Free US shipping. (Intl orders please contact us about shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website! Delivery can be staggered and can start towards the end of August going into September.

    17 out of 20 claimed
  • $685USD
    Botfarm & Hackspace Package

    Thirty (30) 2lb spools of high-quality ABS filament. Free US shipping. (Intl orders please contact us about shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website! Delivery can be staggered and can start towards the end of August going into September.

    8 out of 10 claimed
  • SOLD OUT

    $1,000USD
    The Ultimate Printer Package

    Forty-Five (45) 2lb spools of high-quality ABS filament PLUS a 10% discount coupon for future purchases through our website. Free US shipping. (Intl orders please contact us about shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website! Delivery can be staggered and can start towards the end of August going into September.

    4 out of 4 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    The Ultimate Package #2

    Forty-Five (45) 2lb spools of high-quality ABS filament PLUS a 10% discount coupon for future purchases through our website. Free US shipping. (Intl orders please contact us about shipping). You also get a THANK YOU mention on our website! Delivery can be staggered and can start in September going into October.

    0 out of 5 claimed
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