Plybot-Kickstarter

A 3D printer like no other. Intelligent. Simple. Affordable.

Plybot is an interesting and innovative new 3d printer brought to Kickstarter by 3 intelligent and experienced folks in 3d printing.

The founders are Brook Drumm the founder of Printrbot,

Ian Wielding from Hangar 75-->http://www.hangar75.com/

Finally, 3d printer visionary.  UK Young Engineer of the Year and Stanford University undergraduate. 

I am impressed and intrigued by the appearance of the printer. It is based on Scara technology and reminds me of Delta 3d printing which I am a huge fan of as well.

I am a backer and am looking forward to getting it in the summer.

I did some research on Scara technology besides what I had heard of before and am intrigued and looking forward to something new in terms of technology in the market place. What is impressive is that the build area is larger than the typical printer. This new innovative printer uses a 32 bit mother board, will have an ipad and android app plus wifi and usb interface capabilities. I hope that it has a sd or micro sd card slot as well.

It should be a well made and solid device based on its founders, their experience, engineering capabilities and intellect.

The following is from their kickstarter page.

Plybot is the 3D printer with arms. Prints awesome, is simple to use, and makes 3D printing fun for everyone! 

Lovingly made in California, USA 🇺🇸. 

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Matte black Kickstarter exclusive 🖤

We’re giving our Kickstarter backers a limited edition, matte black Plybot: a colorway made specifically for the first-ever Plybot launch. Each printer comes with a selection of PLA filament reels, cables that allow you to connect to the printer via USB (should you not wish to use Wi-Fi), and a link to download the Plybot app. Within minutes of opening the box you’ll be making your first print!

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 Arms that give bigger and better prints 🦾 🦾 

Plybot’s arms are one-of-a-kind, and aren’t just for show! Aside from looking human, the vastly simplified arm design allows it to print bigger, faster, and more reliably.

See the print bed? 60% of the printer is printable! Gone are the days of gigantic machines spluttering for hours to churn out one tiny paperweight.

 Electronics that keep the volume low 🤫 

Anyone who has experience with 3D printers knows just how loud they can be – we want to change that. By utilizing the latest advancements in motor drivers, we specifically designed Plybot to deliver the most soundless experience possible. The result? A near-silent 3D printer.

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 Plybot is simple to control 📱

Plybot has its very own app, available on iOS and Android. Use it to control your Plybot, find objects to print, and order new filament and accessories for your machine. If you want to use your own software, we won’t restrict you, but for those of you that just want something that works out of the box –  One-Click printing is finally here!

(We don’t restrict you to using our Plybot App. You can use all of your favorite applications to send files to the Plybot printer over Wifi or USB).

3D printing is now easy 🤯

Plybot will blow your mind with how simple it is to use! Plug it in. Load filament. Tap print! The intelligence we’ve packed into Plybot takes care of everything, so you don’t have to.

Benchy test (Industry standard!)

We feel it’s important to demonstrate the quality of our prints, with the industry standard #3DBenchy. All of the potential pitfalls of a 3D printer can be exposed in this cute little print – overhangs, over extrusion, and warping alike. No matter what, you click it, Plybot will print it!

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Plybot 3D printer. #benchy3d test. 14 Jan 2021

 Lovingly made in California, USA 🇺🇸

Manufacturing your Plybot locally is important to us. By keeping manufacturing close to our home state of California, we keep a keen eye on the quality, and ensure that there are minimal production delays. Our team has experience in building thousands of printers here in California before, and we’re all set to do it again!

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Take a look inside ⚙️  

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At Plybot, we are focused on producing a 3D printer that prints objects consistently well. To achieve this we use the latest components and technologies to provide the ultimate balance between cost and quality.

  •  Mobile App: iOS, Android
  •  Print Volume: 7″ x 6″ x 5″ 
  •  Print Speeds: Draft. Normal. Fine.
  •  Resolution Range: 0.05mm to 0.3mm
  •  Default Resolution: 0.2mm 
  •  Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  •  Extruder: Dual gear extruder with Bowden tube
  •  Print Bed: Flexible magnetic build platform
  •  Part Cooling Fan: Z-axis mounted
  •  Bed Levelling: Under-bed Piezo elements
  •  Compatible Systems: Any browser
  •  Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB, SD Card
  •  Onboard intelligence: 32 bit processor
  •  Motors: 4x NEMA17″
  •  Dimensions: 10″ x 7″ x 10″
  •  Shipping size: 12″ x 12″ x 12″
  •  Weight: 12 lbs
  •  Print Materials: PLA 
  •  Voltage: 12V DC

 Founding team  

Brook Drumm (Right). 3D printing guru. Founder of Printrbot. Former co-host of US series ‘All American Makers’. Josh Mitchell (Middle). 3d printer visionary.  UK Young Engineer of the Year. Stanford University undergraduate. Ian Wilding (Left). Founder of Hangar 75, responsible for pulling it all together.

Backstory

The story starts with Josh Mitchell. In 2018, at the age of 18, Josh won UK Young Engineer of the Year for his first iteration of the Plybot 3D printer. He focused on creating a low cost, high quality, flat-packed 3D printer—made of Plywood—uniquely his printer had ‘arms’ which had a mesmerizing effect when building up the objects.

This is Josh receiving his award, and showing his initial version of the machine: 

Shortly after winning this award Josh moved to California, taking his new home at Stanford University.

In 2019, Brook Drumm joined Plybot. Those backers familiar with 3D printing are likely to have come across Brook. He led one of the earliest, most successful 3D printer kickstarter campaigns (Printrbot), going on to successfully ship thousands of his 3D printers globally. You may also recognize Brook as the former co-host of the Science Channels ‘All American Makers’. 

With a great team in place, lots of support from others, and a thirst to shake up the 3D printing world, we set out on a mission to create one of the most intelligent, easy to use, and affordable 3D printers on the market. We have spent the last 18 months pursuing that mission, and are delighted to launch the Plybot Kickstarter as a culmination of our work.

What can backers expect:

No false claims ❌

Many people looking at backing Plybot will be familiar with 3D printing, the challenges, the technology and the frustrations. At no point will we promise something that we aren’t 100% confident in delivering.  

Shipping dates 📦

Once we resolved the technical challenges to create Plybot, we moved quickly onto production and manufacturing, ensuring that the same level of quality that we have achieved at a low volume could be achieved at scale. We are confident that the stated dates to begin shipping are achievable.

Risks and challenges

Production and manufacturing risks have been resolved. Our pledge to build our machine in the US has allowed us to leverage local manufacturing specialists for key parts. This allows us to monitor quality more closely as well as significantly reduce the time it typically takes to import parts from overseas. As Makers at heart we have also been able to manufacture our own parts allowing us to further control our supply chain. Shipping had been a key challenge in light of the current Covid pandemic giving rise to various freight restrictions. To re-assure ourselves we have been shipping test units across the US to ensure that the shipping time frames we quote are achievable. The mobile software that will control the Plybot printer as well as provide access to thousands of 3D objects is currently in development. This is scheduled for completion in February 2021, with testing already underway.

Should you back it, I did and have faith in the folks behind it!

They ought to come through and deliver a solid product.

Here is a link to Josh Mitchell’s original wooden prototype:

Watch this video on YouTube.

Here is information on the concept and prototype:

According to the young Mr. Mitchell:

After returning from the Swiss Talent Forum I was set on launching a startup and identified low-cost 3D printing as my best bet. It was the obvious choice, as I had been building low-cost 3D printers for years and the only thing driving the cost down was Chinese manufacturing, with almost no change or innovation to the design of the printers.

After running through BOMs of common 3D printers I came to the conclusion that the costs of the vitamins (linear rails, belts, motors, electronics) alone were way higher than I was aiming for, therefore these would have to be compromised. I could either compromise the electronics (opt for slow, cheap steppers) or change the mechanical system to eliminate the linear rails. Using cheap steppers wasn’t an option for me as they created a terrible printer (with a max speed of 10mm/s), so I opted to eliminate the linear rails. After countless hours researching online and emailing creators of different machines, I was set on using a SCARA XY axis, however, all of the ones that had been used before had at least one fatal flaw that made them unusable for a 3D printer, with most attempts being abandoned by the creator. After experimenting with a few approaches I settled on the one I use now, which works great. All the parts were then designed in LibreCAD and either milled on my CNC Router or laser cut.

The Plybot had 4 main goals:

  • Cheapest 3D printer ever.
  • Pack flat in order to ship easily.
  • Use only off-the-shelf parts and CNC milled plywood.
  • Easy to assemble.

FlatPack: The printer packs into a 320x320x60mm box (about the size of two twelve inch pizza boxes stacked on top of each other), so is extremely compact and therefore cheap and easy to ship/transport.

Parts: The PlyBot is completely made out of off-the-shelf parts and CNC milled 6mm and 12mm plywood (aside from the acrylic bearing holders, I couldn’t for the life of me get plywood to work).

Assembly: The frame takes about 20 seconds to assemble and is completely snap-together with no hardware used. In all, it takes probably less than 10 minutes (I put a lot of effort into minimising the number of screws and part count in general).

Speed: The printer has very little moving mass, and therefore the motors can accelerate the print head much faster, achieving higher print speeds and therefore faster prints. I didn’t anticipate or plan too much for the print speeds, as price and aesthetics took priority over it, however, I was pleasantly surprised when I bumped the settings up and the printer kept up. My current settings are Jerk:30mm/s, Acceleration:9000mm/s^2 and Max Speed for Rapids:300mm/s. This makes it one of the fastest printers out there, and therefore the bottleneck of printing would be the extruder, not the speed at which the machine can move.

Other: The printer has a build area of 190x190x165mm (although for the next iteration it should have 200x200x200mm), uses 1.75mm PLA filament, runs off a 12V 5A power supply and print quality is comparable to most commercial printers, with there being no visible differences between the PlyBot and my school’s Makerbot (at 50x the price).

I struggled a lot with many issues, including the snap-fit frame, snap fit bearing holders and extruder, having nothing obscuring the PlyBot logo, stopping the arms sagging, making an ‘invisible’ Z-axis drive, working out the inverse and forward machine kinematics and integrating them into the preexisting firmware, using only plywood (no other custom parts whatsoever), reducing visible screws, cable management and most annoying of all getting my £4 knockoff hot end to stop jamming.