August Promega Update (Part 1/2)

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Aug 10, 2018 - 4:28 PM

Dear Backers,


One of your most awaited Promega updates is finally here! Topics of the day include:


Shipping Positions, Domestic & International Deliveries


We are excited to announce that Promega pre-order deliveries are closing in on 30% fulfillment and we shipping about 10 Promega orders a day. One of the most popular questions we’ve seen is where everyone stands in terms of their shipping positions, order dates, and so on. To give you a quick estimate, we expect everyone who completes their checkouts to have a printer shipped out no later than by the end of November 2018.

When your order is ready to ship, we will send you an email to verify that your information on FitForLaunch is correct and that you are available to take this very special delivery. Once you confirm your availability, your backer checkout on FitForLaunch will get locked in so that we can start getting your Promega 3D printer packaged with all available ordered add-ons. Once FedEx/DHL picks up and scans your package, you will receive another email with your tracking number (or numbers, if your add-ons require a separate box). This is the ideal time for you to get familiar with Promega documentation & getting started guide contained therein. We urge & strongly recommend you to follow our guides as the Promega is a much more advanced and configurable machine than 3D printers like the Micro that most of you may be accustomed to. And don’t forget free up some desktop space for your new printer!

https://store.printm3d.com/pages/promegalaunchpad 

Domestic deliveries have been underway for customers in the United States and we are actively shipping orders on a daily basis. We do our best to follow the number of assigned shipping positions but there may be some minor rearrangements if we find that they are in the best interests of the end user. One of such rearrangements was starting to ship outwards from the East Coast while we were testing our packaging and shipping procedures so we could now ship to the West Coast more confidently, make packaging improvements, etc.

Please keep in mind that not all users were assigned a shipping position number and we will not be assigning shipping positions anymore. We will instead keep you updated via email when your orders are ready to ship.

International shipments have not started yet, but will begin soon as well. Due to the specific challenges of international shipping (long distances, shipping costs, VAT payments), and the intensity of cost and time impact in case of damage, we are reviewing our processes very carefully and looking for alternative packaging and delivery implementations before starting shipping. Now that we’ve made good progress with the East Coast and having moved to the West Coast of the USA, we will be starting to test international shipments in the next few weeks.

After a lot of discussion, we decided to try and get the bulk of the shipments to the EU safer through a bulk DHL shipment. This means building up enough printers that they can give the batch special attention to ensure it is treated with more care. Accumulating a significant number of printers for us to ship in bulk will take time, so we appreciate your patience in awaiting the delivery. In the meantime, we will keep testing new packaging methods to make sure that your orders get delivered safely. 

Special note about freight forwarders: We noticed that a few backers are using freight forwarders, i.e. having M3D ship the order to a US address and get it forwarded internationally. Please keep in mind that M3D is only liable for the product until it reaches the destination of your order. As such, if you give us a delivery destination in Florida, for example - a common site, the liability transfers to you after that point, as another entity takes possession of it. Unfortunately we cannot package or ship any safer or offer free support if printers are damaged while in your freight forwarder’s possession. So please instruct them to inspect & ensure the package accordingly when they take it over.

International power supply configuration notice: A very important thing to keep in mind if you forwarded your printer out of the United States is to check your power supply voltage setting. It must be the proper setting for your country. All units currently shipping are set at 115VAC. If 115VAC voltage is applied on a wrong setting, the risk is low (12V might be the output). However if 230VAC is incorrectly applied to the 115VAC setting, the power supply will be damaged by trying to put out 48V, well beyond its rating!  

If you’ve already received a printer, please also be sure to follow the wiring notice later in this update.

Promega Lite Kits

Promega lite kits need different quality control, packaging, and shipping processes than what we have implemented for the Promega. We’re setting that up now and will be able to ship kits as soon as we put together a video guide for the assembly steps. While this is in the works, the plan is to do a few early kit releases as a beta test.

If you are located in the United States and would like to become a tester for the Promega Lite Kit, help us prepare guides and provide community support, please send an email to orders@printm3d.com. You will receive your order ahead of everyone else in exchange for helping us test shipping, packaging, documentation, etc. Regular deliveries will follow once shipping processes and assembly instructions are confirmed successful and finalized.

To those of you who had a change of heart and would like to opt in for the assembled Promega instead, we will offer the option to upgrade your Promega Lite Kit to the full Promega Assembled during the checkout process in FitForLaunch. You get to keep your order number and shipping position, so your place in the delivery queue will not be affected by the upgrade.

Backorders & Add-ons 

For those of you who are waiting for backordered items, current estimates are as follows:

  • Blue Tape Sheets & All Nozzles: just arrived and backorders will start shipping soon.
  • Back Covers: we expect to have 50 this month to start fulfilling backorders and are expecting a bigger boat shipment in September. Test shipments have just begun to ensure covers are well protected in shipping and assembly instructions will be forthcoming.
  • Filtration System and Filter Replacements: parts for this are landing by air at the end of the month, and that’s the last remaining part that we are waiting for!
  • Quad Heads: we have a few to ship to beta testers who have already received their Promegas and would like to help us write documentation for other users to benefit from. Please email your Promega order number to orders@printm3d.com if interested. Early release of Quad heads required the user to develop fan mounts and cable extensions. These will be solved by the time we start delivering the QuadFusion head to the masses.
Shipping and Packaging Updates

At M3D one thing we aim to do is innovate in and around the product - including business processes. For a printer launching at $1,000, we knew that it wouldn't be reasonable to charge industry standard rates like $300 for US truck freight + $75 residential delivery fee. Having been successful in the past with non-standard approaches to shipping, we designed a slim package suitable for ground transportation that proved to be successful in early tests. This package cost our users a drastically smaller shipping fee (quote a shipment for a package online and you’ll see), so we invested in 1000 units worth of packaging materials.

However, as with any scale up, we never imagined that a small number of packages will have severe mishandling damage amid a mix of a very high (97%) success rate for other packages. We did not plan to have to protect our packages against what was shown to be 60” falls, according to internal tests we did to match the impact of height with the bending damage we saw. After meeting with our FedEx Rep, we found a common pattern and learned how this discrepancy could arise. It turned out that FedEx drivers may put the package on the top shelf of the truck (with a nearly 60” height) where the Promega barely fits and falls off during the destination route most often. We've remedied this on the pickup side and delivery now, added handles to the box, and added insurance at our cost for all backers. FedEx is also setting up a special handling procedure for our packages on the major sorting lines.  

Our packaging size will stay the same and we will absolutely take care of users with any damage to their printers as we improve the process even further. We believe this was the best decision to save our backers a $300 hit to shipping cost. In all of the shipments to date, we have only had to replace 5 printers with outer damage to the frame.

Additionally, we recently improved our inner packaging methods to prevent printers from getting damaged internally as well. You will see these improvements propagate typically two to three weeks after we implement changes. Here is an example of our most recent packaging revision that eliminated bed issues and internal damage:


If you are happy with what you’re seeing and are eager to get your Promega 3D printer ASAP, you don't have to do anything further. If there is any damage to your printer, we will take care of you at our financial cost - the only cost here is your time. You can also always ask to defer your shipment and let us ship your printer when we feel we’ve hit the point of diminishing returns as far as improvements - just let us know when we email you to inform that your delivery is ready.

For users who are not satisfied with the above approach to shipping, that’s okay too! We are happy to provide more options that may reduce the risk further - this will be an additional service at an extra cost. This additional service option is enclosing the printer frame in a complete hardwood crated box. We find that this drastically reduces repeated fall damage in those rare instances when boxes are dropped from a height. This option is quite costly, especially as the wood has to be a certified for import in most countries. The fee for this service will be $40 USD per printer and it will be available as a new add-on that you can purchase by logging in to FitForLaunch, going to “My Contributions” and “Add Items.” Just like all other add-ons, this is extremely optional, but is highly recommended for international shipments or if you know your delivery region is prone to damage as damage claims can take many weeks to get resolved.

Electrical Wiring Notice

Most Promegas shipped prior to August 10th, 2018 have the line and neutral wires of mains/household power wired to the power supply in the reverse sense of what is intended. Specifically, the LINE (black wire from the power plug that carries 115VAC or 230VAC with respect to earth ground) should be connected to the "L" screw terminal, and the NEUTRAL wire (white wire from the power plug) should be connected to the "N" screw terminal so that the Promega matches common household wiring standards.

We have consulted the vendor of the power supplies and while we do not expect this reversal to affect product performance, we are recommending that users make a fix proactively to ensure the longevity of their equipment.  Users should exercise caution and follow the below instructions carefully.

Many thanks to several technically savvy users who brought this to our attention, helping make our community and products better.

WARNING: The Promega power system integrates hazardous voltages (120VAC or 240VAC).  Contact may cause electrical shock and injury. Disconnect power before servicing.

1) Disconnect your printer from main power:
UNPLUG your printer's power plug from the wall or surge protector. Wait five (5) minutes for the unit to drain any residual charge.

2) VERIFY that your printer is not getting mains power. Attempt to power the Promega by flipping the blue power switch on the right side of the printer. The power switch LED as well as LEDs on the Duet should stay dark, indicating no power is present.

WARNING: ONLY after the above steps are confirmed, proceed to rewiring the white and black cables as shown below.

3) Flip the protective plastic cover (orange) up to gain access to the terminal screws. Unscrew the black and white wires from the power supply terminals. You will need to back the screw completely out from the terminal block to free each ring terminal. Notice how much force it takes to unscrew these because you will tighten them the same amount.

4) Place the BLACK wire at the "L" terminal and replace the screw removed earlier. To test that the screw is tightened sufficiently, you should try to rotate the wire with your fingers. It should not move.

5) Place the WHITE wire at the "N" terminal and replace the screw removed earlier. Test the screw tightness in the same manner.

6) Confirm that your power supply wiring matches the following picture:


7) Flip the protective plastic cover down over the terminals. Finally, you can plug the unit back in to power and turn the unit on.


Key Resources for Promega Users

Below are a few links that we encourage everyone to review thoroughly prior to working with the Promega:

Promega LaunchPad: https://store.printm3d.com/pages/promegalaunchpad 
Promega User Manual: http://promega.printm3d.com/getting-started 
GitHub: https://github.com/PrintM3D?tab=repositories 

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/fzA83gd 

Cura-DuetRRFPlugin for Cura 3 that adds output devices for a Duet RepRapFirmware printer: https://github.com/Kriechi/Cura-DuetRRFPlugin 
Multi Duet Web Monitoring and Control HTML5-based web interface: https://github.com/DanalEstes/MultiDuetWebMonitor 

New Filaments Are IN STOCK!

Last but not least, we have a quick announcement for those of you who are actively 3D printing and have been waiting for new filament materials… brand new 3D Ink is now in stock!

Some of these materials are also available in 500ft spools (HIPS, Low Temp PC, and Carbon), so it's better to go to the master page for all available options:

https://store.printm3d.com/pages/filaments 

(Please note: All filament orders from the main store will ship separately as we do not unfortunately have the ability to combine shipments with existing orders & pre-orders.)

The second part of this update - August Promega Update (Part 2/2) - will focus on Promega users who already received their printers and will be posted later this month.

Cheers & happy printing! 

Early June Update

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jun 5, 2018 - 5:33 PM

Hi everyone,


We are still roughly on track and aiming to produce about 9 Promega’s per day. All of our assembly lines are now complete, our QC checklists are being completed with extreme scrutiny, and we are continuously making minor improvements where we can. A boat with parts for 250 more printers will arrive in approximately 10 days. The back covers are the only item not already on the way to us, they had to be moved to the next boat shipment. We revised them to be a black-powder coated aluminum instead of steel to help keep shipping charges affordable for everyone.


Shipping has been underway and going well! We put together a video overview to compare our finished production model to the original prototype and highlight all of the improvements that have been made.



We are starting to populate Launchpad.printm3d.com with user guides. This will be your go-to home for ALL resources such as alerts, file upgrades, crash-course guides, a knowledgebase, and more. Additionally, we are making guides in real time for users as your questions come in.


We have also been working on improving the packaging to ensure your Promegas are protected against the worst possible shipping damage, we will be posting a video about this soon on our youtube channel.


Moving forwards our current main focus is to keep shipping a low rate of printers every day until we feel more confident and have more confirmation that our current processes work well. This way, when we ramp up we can do so quickly, and in the best way possible.


As always, join our community discussion board on Discord to stay up to date on the latest news.


Thanks for being part of this journey,

M3D


May Progress Update

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

May 24, 2018 - 4:37 PM

A couple of weeks ago, we shared a Promega progress timeline with backers on Discord. Today, we’ll be going through an update of that timeline, what’s left to do, and what the current delivery schedule looks like.



By May 8, our production team had been trained in Promega assembly procedures, including quality checkpoints and known process times, with a complete production assembly guide. The assembly itself was verified to be within specs. This was part of a larger QC process with 3 major checkpoints, and 100+ items associated with each. We had gone through failure analysis to improve parts proactively, resulting in a highly tuned production line that is capable of efficient and consistent Promega construction.

From there, we laid out our plan for the next two weeks, which was to add cable assembly procedures to complete the line, develop processes to commission, test, and burn-in printers, and start shipping.

We spent some time last week backtracking to improve process and performance on the Z platform motion and bed leveling. Thanks to that work, we now can control the tracking of the nozzle, so that the tip is physically leveled to the surface of the bed, instead of relying so heavily on the IR bed level sensor. The IR bed levelling procedure has also been improved. We are at about 0.2mm runout over 18", which exceeds our initial expectations for flatness, and the procedure maps the bed down to about 30 microns. The refined process also gives more robust responses to transparent glass, and surfaces with black and white on them see around 25 micron repeatability on a given spot.

At the same time, we revamped the assembly procedure of the Z platform and related subsystems to drastically improve alignment of the Z platform corners, reduce backlash in the system, tighten up the belts, and improve the belt tensioning clips. We also revised the Z belt QC test one last time, and refined the parts to ensure they can handle stresses with a larger safety factor. Further bed level improvements will be coming in a few weeks with firmware updates to the Duet 2 Maestro, which should help in mesh leveling a large point map for large print beds. 

Cable assembly procedures have also been done. Wiring validation is critical, as one bad actor out of 100’s of termination points can halt a printer. A major revision to the cable chain anchoring and wire guides on the extruder allows much better access for users to replace individual connectors. The cable chain has been made more robust and quiet in operation. We fixed rear PTFE tube access to keep filaments on their spools, and improved anchoring to the extruder at the other end.



Besides that, we are just working on the finishing touches. We’ve found a fingerprint-resistant coating for aluminum, so the aluminum frame will stay nice and bright for longer. We also ran aggressive shipping tests, including the least respectful treatment we could imagine from a delivery courier. The 'delivery' was quite successful at handling multiple falls and kicks after corner guards were added.

To wrap up the update on our most recent progress, we are currently working on the commissioning and shipping processes, and in parallel we’re shifting to creating organized guides, which will live on what we’re calling the Promega Launchpad. We want our users to feel that much more effort is put into their post-delivery success than ever before. This will be a single site dedicated to all of the Promega resources, from first-start guides to every intricate detail you may need to know down the road. It's a big undertaking, one that will take a few months to perfect, but it is a modular system. We’re starting with the first-time user guides.

Last week, we received 250 cubes and related sheet metal parts, and started production of the next 40 units on the main line. Looking ahead, we expect printers to ship this week, and as these 16 units leave, our focus shifts to the next lot of 40. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon when those 40 units are out the door!


Promegas Have Left The Building

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Apr 19, 2018 - 10:21 PM

Earlier today, the first Promegas were handed off to Supporters. We are excited to see what this first group of three people (one Promega owner not in frame of the picture) will be doing with these production units. As we receive updates on their printing progress and Promega performance, we'll be sure to share with you as well!



Timing for shipment of units came up in the Q&A session we recently hosted. For anyone who may have missed it, below is the transcript of the Promega discussion during that chat with our CEO, Michael Armani: 


Quick Promega Overview:

In the last two months we’ve taking delivery for bulk production items. We normally build in batches of 250, 500 or 1000 sets. You may not have realized it but we’ve built and vet test units virtually alongside our China-based team. We approved them for first 50 and had them shipped via air. That’s when physical QC began at our Maryland headquarters to match drawings and go through complete assembly and testing (including quality printing). We have since received most things in at 250 quantities (frames are on a truck making their way here) (as of the writing of this post, an additional 16 frames have arrived).


What can you do with a dual print head? What types of materials would you use? What kind of things would you make?

Two color prints for more professionally finished products are now possible with a dual-print head since we can do two different colors within the same layer. As opposed to doing ‘traffic-cone’ prints where the color difference is between stacked section on a print.

In terms of multi-material prints. For instance, you can have a dissolvable support material in addition to the normal wall and infill material.


What is the expected shipment rate of the first Promega units?

In the next 30 days we’re going to move more products. We have been doing checks and tests on the initial batch first set of frames. Final frame units are continuing to arrive. Scaling up to 250 units with all parts in house for this first large batch will happen within the next 3-4 weeks. In the meantime, we’re building sub-assemblies quickly and easily due to how the Promega was designed and will be able to hit the ground running once all pieces are in house. We are aiming for a Promega to be assembled in about 4 hours per printer which is impressive given its size and then number of parts.


What is the expected shipping timeframe between first units and those who wanted to hold theirs until the end?

Generally there will be a 90 day gap between first Backer and retail-ready units. Some purposefully held it in hopes of further advancements on the printer. We don’t expect a lot of that to happen over the 90 days but surely think some small tweaks will happen as these printers are in the market and we hear customer feedback. 


How have things changed with M3D’s resource allocation to make this printer possible?

Everything about the Promega is a stark difference from the Micro. And it all began with the design: we designed in flexibility and scalability in order to make changes easily, quickly. Everything has screws vs snapfits or affixed items. Given our team as a whole is around 50 people. In addition to gaining experience with 3D printers as people have grown within the company, having 20% of it comprised of managers is a big difference. Overall, our team is more experienced.


For the Promega, what’s new is that we have a 15-person off-site team in China doing virtual QC of the components. We ship part of the batch, do further QC it here, approve it and then we get the rest of the order. This way we’re not liable for full shipments that turn out to be unsuccessful. We are more agile in finding and correcting errors.


Glass bed: Is it removable, does it cause any changes to Z Breathing? 

Yes, the glass part of the bed is removable. The platform for the bed is also removable- with some screws and effort. As for breathing, .2mm is possible on printers when going from room temperature to 100° (concave or convex) as it goes through heat cycles. With the Promega glass bed, it’s not locked down. Further, its glass bed adds conveniences which helps to stabilize it such as its weight and durability.


Have you considered doing lead-screw systems?

While it seems there are advantages to lead-screw systems, it is inferior to the belt system as it provides indirect motion with more force than is necessary (which has a negative effect). Further, there was no good way to isolate the rotation of the lead screws and its effect on Z movement despite the different approaches we tried. 


Compound: Nylon as support material? 

Have not tested Nylon yet. Traditionally nylon is used for an engineering material over support. It’s essentially a dream material: low wear, low friction, semi-rigid. It absorbs water from the air so it absolutely needs to be heated and desiccated at all times which can be inconvenient. If you do want to use nylon, use lowest temperature nylon such as bridge nylon from Taulman. 


We are always innovating new materials. One coming out soon is low-temp poly-carbonate. It’s a hybrid that solves the warp problem with low friction. Alternatively, we suggest using POM > polyacetal or delrin. It’s extremely hard to work with because it warps but it doesn’t have the water issue. 


With the KTana, have you solved the drip issue that happens from all dual set ups?

A dual extruding system with Z Hop is something more often found on a higher tier 3D printer (~$5K printer). When you have two independant nozzles, there are really only two ways to keep material from one nozzle from affecting the material in the other. One way is retract upwards and hope for the best with help from an ooze shield within a slicer. The other option is to do a waste pillar and extrude as much material as possible and then cool the extruder to prevent further extrusion. (That’s one of the reason why we came up with the Compound system that handles it internally.)


Why aren’t there more images available of the Promega? 

We quickly move through test prints and are segmented between teams to a degree, and across timelines and projects. The Promega campaign is done in a different way than most crowdfund campaigns. We announce the product and give people the opportunity to buy it early on. With that, there is more uncertainty throughout and then as there is more clarity with images, specs, etc. as the project finalizes. That has seemed to work out and our customers understand that approach. After a product starts shipping, we focus more in iterative testing and getting printers in your hand fast. On an average day there may be 50 prints on the floor with minor tweaks needed that the Engineering team fixes. Now and then someone will go and grab a picture of them (which is what you’ve seen so far). We’re trying to keep the engineers focused on getting printers to you over the pictures knowing that our Backers will probably print more interesting things once they have them up and running. 


Is the breakout board needed for the Quad head, what good is it: Duet boards are set up for 5 motor controllers: 3 for XYZ, 2 for the 2 extruders. If you want a Quad Head w 4 motors, you need more drivers so we designed in the ability to control two more motors with an expansion board. All Duet 2 Maestros come with the ability to take that  Breakout board, control all four motors independently and operate the Quad head.

---

And that's it for now! We'll continue to keep you posted on the Promega's production and shipping progress, as well as users' experiences as more Promegas find their way to Backers. 

A Spring In Our Step

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Apr 2, 2018 - 10:37 PM

CHECK THIS OUT

As mentioned in our last update, the new Quad Head Extruder coming out this Spring is going to make full-color 3D printing possible as it will allow for four different filament types to be used and mixed. Recently added to the check out, Promega Supporters can get the new Quad Head extruder before anyone else, with the full Promega configuration of fans and motors included, in addition to the Promega rails adapter. So, whether you want to go full-color and print any of over 200 colors through a mix of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) or print with different materials for infill, walls and support, the Quad will make that possible. 


Another item recently added to the Promega checkout includes an expansion board, specifically for use with the Promega’s Duet Maestro. With this board, users can add two additional Trinamic TMC2224 “Quiet Movement” stepper motor drivers to their Promega configuration… all of which will help meet the hardware requirements for the Quad Head on the Promega. 




Backers interested in these items, or any items available in the check-out store can add them to their order from their FitForLaunch account. Access the check-out store through ‘My Contributions’ and then ‘Complete Order.’ You can continue to add items to your check-out cart as needed. Please note the above two items (in addition to others as noted in the check-out) will be available to ship in the coming months. Per your preference, we can ship your order in batches as the Promega and parts are available or, for minimizing shipping costs, we can hold your total Promega order until everything is ready to ship. 


SO WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON WITH THE PROMEGA? 

During our various print tests, we found the new FR4 bed was ‘breathing’ from the on/off heat cycles. With that, we added more retention points to better affix the bed to the platform and, ever since then, there have been significant print quality improvements with Promega prints.


In the coming days, more final production parts will be arriving, including the Duet Maestro and cable cords. 


A huge highlight this past week was showing the production team how assembly for the Z platform works. They quickly learned how to do this and were able to put several together in 10 minutes. With everything documented and parts in house, we're expecting to start production of 100 Z platforms in 7-10 days.  


TIMING IS EVERYTHING

By month’s end, Promegas will be in the hands of just about ten Backers. After that, production will really pick up and we aim to have several hundred shipped by the end of June. By the end of the summer and into early Fall, we’re planning for all orders received thus far to be delivered. 




JOIN US AT OUR NEXT VIDEO CHAT

As promised since the last time, we’re going to host another video chat on Wednesday, April 4th, 2pm EST. M3D’s CEO, Michael Armani, will talk about the development and progress of  the Promega. This is also a chance to ask him your questions. And because we want to do our best to address what’s on your mind, you can submit your questions to us here. We’ll plan on discussing as many points from the questions during our chat on Wednesday. Talk soon!


Nice Chatting With Everyone!

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Mar 14, 2018 - 3:18 PM

On March 12th, M3D spoke with our Discord Community on video chat with JJ Biel-Goebel, our COO. Below is a quick summary of the Promega items discussed: 


PRODUCTION UPDATE:

Parts for the first 500 units are continuing to arrive at M3D’s production facility. When everything is received, it is our goal to first assemble and ship out 10 Promegas to supporters who have personally helped us to develop the printer and then get up to our full production level of shipping 200 printers per month within the next 60 to 90 days. 




QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION:

What new products will be added to the check-out and when will we be able to update our orders?

The check-out will soon include new products such as:

*Check Discord for information about the Quad head


Within the coming week after these new accessories have been added, users will also get the opportunity to add these and any other additional items to their original checkouts. You’ll be able to go into your account and access the check out the same way as the initial go around. Notification that it’s ready will be sent primarily via Discord.


The toolkit will include hex and torx head tools in order to swap out hot-ends, tighten belts remove the bed, as well as for maintenance.


Could M3D add a filament runout sensor to the Promega?  

We have a few ideas on how to do this and will look into making this accessory available in the future.


If I ordered multiple printers, will I receive them together or separately?

Those who ordered multiple printers will receive their first printer per the queue. Additional Promegas will be shipped separately, again per the order in which they were received. As many of the multiple-Promega orders were not done on the same date, we want to be fair to all customers and make sure that some customers aren’t receiving 2, 3, or 4 printers before someone receives their first.


What comes next for the Promega? 

We see the Promega becoming its own platform from which to build upon. We plan to see how the larger 3D printing community accepts the Promega but if all goes well, here are some of the things we have been asked to work on. 


What else is going on with the Promega these days?




AND THAT’S EVERYTHING FOR NOW

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us on the video chat. It was a great way to interact with you, our Supporters. We enjoyed the live question/answer format and, based on feedback, will try to do more of them in the future! 


Hope everyone has a Happy Pi Day!

Things Are Really Cruising Along Now!

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Feb 22, 2018 - 4:04 PM

Wow there’s lots to cover off on in this update. Some housekeeping, some exciting Promega progressions and a shipping update to appease any anxious parties that may be out there. 

First let’s talk about how the Promega is progressing along. There has been a lot of build up for our various nozzles, the Compound and the K’Tana with their dual-extruding capabilities, so let’s see how they’re coming along. The engineers have been working on the Compound nozzle first, making sure it completely mixes filament together as it passes through the hot-end block and nozzle.




What’s important to note here is the solid color of each pile. Why? As we’ve shown before, the Compound nozzle works by mashing together two independent filaments; one on the left and one on the right. Due to the side-by-side nature of the nozzle, it was important that the filament be truly blended together, and not simply extruded in a similar columned, side-by-side manner. The above image validates the design of the extruder block and prints mixed colors as intended: mixed filament extrudes with smooth, continuous, solid color and without any of the sides being heavier or lighter in color (that such a side-by-side extrusion could have otherwise resulted in).


A test has also been done with the K’Tana nozzle where we printed a model while  simultaneously using PLA and PVB. The picture below shows a close up of the print. 




As you can see, the PLA printed with an even surface and consistent layers. With the PVB in this case, it’s also apparent that it somewhat over-extruded. For this specific purpose of creating a soluable layer in between support and model, over-extrusion doesn’t hurt the integrity of the print. Knowing not all applications will be as forgiving, the team is going back to make adjustments and prevent this from happening. Sit tight for a future post where we show the original and the updated (and hopefully corrected) print, as well as the print having been dipped to easily remove the support material.


Moving on to the housekeeping items, most Promega Supporters (for 2017 assembled orders) have already completed their check-out surveys, and secured their shipping position, accordingly. There are still many who have not finalized their orders, though. For those who have yet to do so, we advise that taking care of this sooner rather than later is in your best interest, in order to also receive the best shipping position possible. Simply log in to FitForLaunch and, under My Contributions, click on Complete Order. A list of what comes standard in both the Assembled and Kit versions of the Promega can be found in the Overview tab of the Promega here on FitForLaunch, at the bottom. (2018  Assembled and Kit supporters will be receiving their shipping position in the coming days, as well.)


Speaking of shipping… Now that the queue is being established, we’ve been hearing a lot of “so what does this mean, exactly?” We get it. An arbitrary number without the context of timing is like providing a 3D printer without a model to print. So let’s settle this matter with actual dates. 




APRIL. With everything we know now, with part delivery, assembly and quality checks, April is when production units will begin shipping out! Once again, set your calendars for April. Between April and May, it is our goal to get as close to a few hundred units out as possible, with hundreds being sent out every month after that. Ultimately, all orders to date should be shipped by August. 


What we owe Promega Supporters next is a timeframe per your shipping position. That will become available next month; we’ll be sure to get that information out as soon as more details become concrete. 


As these last months close in, it’s exciting to think about this just being an idea a year ago and it becoming a very real thing over the course of the past several months. This ride is just beginning, and we can’t thank all of our Promega Supporters enough for being on this journey with us. As anxious as you are to receive the printer, we are just as excited to see what users create with the Promega in just a couple months! 


Survey Says...

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jan 16, 2018 - 2:39 PM

Promega Backers are in the midst of taking a very big step forward towards securing their Promega: selecting add-ons and finishing their purchase survey. 


GET INVITED TO THE SURVEY PARTY

Invitations to the check-out survey is being done in batches throughout the week, based on initial order date of the Promega. By Friday, everyone who has ordered a Promega (assembled and kit) should receive an email with instructions on how to reach and make their add-on selections in the survey. The sooner folks complete the survey, the better. Why, you ask? Shipping order will be determined based on completion date of the survey. (BOOM.)


HOW THE SHIPPING LINE WILL WORK

Each batch will be given one week to complete their surveys. After that time, we’ll place the confirmed check-outs into a shipping order, prioritized first by the original purchase date of the Promega, and then secondly by the survey completion date within that batch. Don’t worry, we can assure you there will be no line-cutting. So, once all that’s done, you’ll be able to log into FitForLaunch to see your spot in line. To note: those who complete their surveys after the one-week period will be given the next available spot after the initial batch placements.



Spoiler alert: get ready for some pleasant surprises during the process... 


End of the year means wrapping up the development of the Promega

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Dec 26, 2017 - 7:20 PM

The last post talked about ways in which the Promega’s design is being wrapped up. As promised, this update will cover the progress made with ordering parts, when final checkouts can begin with accessories and add-ons, and more.


As we are now safely at the end of December, the year-end also marks the end of the Promega’s development. All of the following systems have been tested, tweaked and further QC’d to meet our high-quality standards:


With the final stamp of approval on those systems, we now stand at over 75% of parts ordered, with the goal of being 100% ordered in the coming week or so. 


One key part that has been a little troublesome to lock down is the aluminum frame supplier. For one reason or another, contracts for the frame fell through in the past months, which was really disheartening and lead to delays mentioned in earlier posts. We are very happy to announce that we have developed a partnership with our preferred vendor of choice for the part, Xometry, who is also based out of the US (Maryland), just like we are. In the maker community, Xometry is probably best known for their rapid prototyping services, but they also offer sheet metal and CNC fabrication on production run quantities of parts. We’ve partnered with them to make the sheet metal frame, as well as a few other miscellaneous sheet metal parts. Working with a domestic supplier like this gives us tighter control on the production, so we can identify quality issues earlier in the process flow. Additionally, with them being based just down the road from us in Maryland, we have the added benefit of being able to do on-site inspections before having to approve any parts to ship to us, so we can have complete confidence in what we’re getting. Finally, with the size and weight of the cubes, buying domestic means we save boatloads (literally!) on shipping costs, combining high quality with low prices.


Here is a glance at some of the belts and frames starting to roll in…




Some news that will surely get Backers excited is the forthcoming checkout for add-ons and accessories! The online store to order extruders, nozzles, belts, hot-ends, HEPA filter and more will be coming mid- to late next week, as well. 



One thing worth noting is that pricing is very competitive on many of the parts, including the nozzles, hot-end and PT1000 temperature sensor. Prices on some of these items reflect as much of a 50% savings compared to similar open source parts! So, regardless of whether you order for the Promega or for another printer, you might want to stock up on these items. (They’re a good value, especially when considering our nozzle is steel instead of brass and still a good price.)


To any Promega lurker out there who had been considering ordering a unit but just wasn’t sure, now is probably the time to make the move. With product design finalized and parts being ordered, the price will be jumping to $2,500 come January 1, 2018. From there, as units start shipping out, the price will start increasing at a steeper rate until finally landing at the full MSRP of $3,500. 


Don’t forget that we have a trade-in program to help offset the expense when trading in your old/current 3D printer, in addition to a payment plan allowing to divide the overall cost into monthly payments (email orders@printm3d.com for more details about the payment plan). 


It’s been exciting to build the Promega these past couple of months. We’re glad to have had all of the input from our Backer community in Discord, which helped shape what the Promega has become. We therefore hope that the printer will meet and exceed your expectations and the entire M3D team is on the edge of our seats in anticipation of what this awesome Community will create with it (:


From the team at M3D, we wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season, and a Happy, Healthy New Year. Cheers to some great 3D printing in 2018!




Wrapping Things Up...

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Nov 29, 2017 - 9:48 AM

With December almost upon us, we are wrapping up the final adjustments to the Promega design. As things stand, all major systems have been tested and vetted, and the latest prototype is showing great results. From here on out, we’ll be working on from here, we’ll be focused on ordering parts and working through our roll-out plan! In this update, we’re going to fill you in on the final tweaks we’ve made to get the Promega across the finish line. 


The extruder has been adjusted to reduce friction on the filament when it is being pulled by the extruder motor. The filament’s route to the extruder has been straightened and the entrance into the print head has been filleted. These changes will allow for easier printing with stiff materials like PLA, and will extend the life of the extruder motors, letting them run cooler, quieter and with less energy waste.




At the time of the last update, the Z motion was one of the few subsystem that lacked adequate testing to call complete. Since then, we’ve tweaked some things in the design, and found a configuration that works as intended. With the change of Z motor belts being beefed up from 3mm to 6mm, the sliders glide easily along the vertical rails and we haven’t seen any noticeable skipping. The whole thing is rock-solid. 

Those of you who have been following our progress on Discord know that one of the last pieces to nail down was the print bed itself. After several iterations of the Z platform, we have landed on using a single plate of FR4, a fiberglass and resin mixture that most people will recognize as the material used for the bulk of printed circuit boards. It’s light, flat, and durable. Best of all, it’s well-known for its ability to accept metallic traces onto its surface, which means we can integrate the heater coils of our heated bed directly into the bed itself. The bed will have a hard, smooth varnished layer on top suitable for most printing jobs. Knowing one print surface can’t accommodate every type of print, we are offering glass and polycarbonate sheets, so you can accessorize your Promega to suit your specific needs.

Glass has several properties that make it attractive as a build surface. It’s incredibly flat, and won’t change shape as it heats up. It’s easy to clean, and leaves a super smooth, glossy finish on the bottom of the print. Polycarbonate (PC) is one of the most versatile surfaces, especially when it has a somewhat rough finish like our replaceable sheets. Combining it with a heated bed further improves bonding, and makes the completed part easier to remove. 



Finally, the cube itself has gone through some alterations. While the main focus of this printer is and should always be function, we recognize the value of aesthetics and are making sure the Promega looks every bit the part of the sleek, industrial, and professional 3D printer that it is. Earlier in the design process, some cosmetic features of the cube body had to take a backseat while we focused on getting all the functional subsystems up and running. Now that we have bulletproof extruders, gantries, Z platform, etc, we have turned back to tackle the look and feel of the outside of the printer. 

One of those elements that was previously on the back burner was the front door. We needed a way to mount the door in a way that was sleek and practical. We tried hinges, tabs, and latches, but ultimately none stood out as particularly robust or elegant. A solution was found, though. The door will attach itself to the front frame using magnetic screws that will also rest in recesses on the panel. The recesses have magnets behind them, and the combination of the magnets and the weight of the door itself ensures that the door stays firmly on the printer. (See image below.) The connection is solid but allows easy door removal, while the whole construction has a very minimalist, futuristic feel.



We’ve mentioned before that a primary design constraint of the Promega is ease of use and maintenance. To that end, we’ve kept the back of the printer open so users can access the CoreXY motors, PCB mainboard, and (with utmost caution) power supply. A result of this openness is that the back of the printer doesn’t hide any of the brains or guts: what you see is what you get. While that can be seen as a feature for many, we

understand those who might see it as aesthetically “incomplete”, so we’ve made a back cover accessory available, for those who want something that looks sleek from all sides. Check out some of the renders of the latest design below:


There you have it. A couple months and dozens of refinements later (check out the prints below!), we really feel that we’re crossing the finish line on design. The next couple of weeks will be a flurry of contract signing, part orders, quality control every step of the way, and soon: assembly and delivery of the first backer units!



Having just celebrated Thanksgiving last week, know that the M3D family thanks all of our backers and supporters, past and present, for their continuing support and encouragement. We really mean it when we say we couldn’t do any of this without you. 

(If you didn’t see the newly released Promega Lite Kit that launched on Black Friday, see the update below for some details!)

Brand New Promega Lite Kit Tier

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Nov 27, 2017 - 3:13 PM

Hey everyone, 


We wanted to let you know we have a brand new offering: The Promega Lite Kit. Now you can get everything you need to build this incredible printer yourself!



The Promega Lite is exactly the same as the Promega except it is not fully enclosed, and has a single extruder. Separate add-ons will be available to add the full enclosure and second extruder. 

M3D's New - Non-Leaking - Hot-End Solutions

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Nov 10, 2017 - 10:52 AM

NEW HOT-END SOLUTIONS


We've said it before and we'll say it again: there's a lot of innovation in our Promega 3D printer, including our new hot-end solutions. While the concept of a single nozzle extruding multiple filaments or materials is not a fundamentally new idea to the 3D printing world, the fact that we've made our own that is essentially leak-free is groundbreaking. Lots of testing with different open source solutions was performed and, in the end, our own Compound hot-end has been the most reliable option. Our nozzle setup provides for fine control in the mixing ratios of the filaments to expand the available color palette and material properties, full mixing within a short distance in the hot end to minimize waste, and a near leak-proof nozzle design to extend hot end longevity.


This update will explain the new hot-ends in great detail. You can also cut to the chase and watch the video which explains the Compound hot-end, the dual-extruding, single mixing nozzle version.



Compound Hot-End

With the Compound hot-end, you will have the ability to control how much of each filament goes into the final extruded layer, between extruding only the first filament to extruding only the second, and any allocation between the two. This is accomplished by varying the speed of the two independent extruder motors, and allows for very fine tuning of the color/composition of the final product from the two original filament colors or materials. Talk about control!


The mixing of the two filaments occurs almost exclusively in the bottom 2.25mm of the nozzle. The filaments are kept separate above that region by our specially designed PTFE sleeve, so the transition from one color or material to another can occur very quickly, with only the bare minimum of filament wasted in a so-called “purge tower”, the sacrificial column of filament that is printed to transition between spools in the middle of a print. Reducing the amount of wasted filament is good for your wallet, it decreases time for a print job to finish, and it’s better for the environment. It’s a true win-win design.


The nozzle itself is also unique, and has several distinct advantages over what’s currently out on the market. First, the Compound nozzle is machined from a solid block of 303 stainless steel and extends all the way through the heater block (and therefore the entire phase transition region of the filament). This means that filament leakage is all but completely eliminated during normal operation, since the soft, flowable filament has nowhere to go but down through the nozzle end. This contrasts with the standard nozzles which screw into the heater block, but do not extend through the full heated section of filament. The result is a spiral path along the nozzle threads which, over time, will inevitably let filament seep through and leak out, potentially damaging the hot end or the print. Secondly, in the spirit of being as open-source as possible, however, both the M3D Compound nozzle and the heater block have been designed to be fully compatible with E3D-style standard parts, so you can still use your old nozzle, heater block, or both, in the Promega, whatever your preference is.




K’tana Hot-End

‘We have also created a system called the K’tana hot-end, which is another dual-material hot-end solution. The K’tana is not for mixing, however, and is a dual-nozzle setup. Similarly, tests show that it performs better than the open market solutions for similar reasons- the nozzle doesn’t allow a path for filament to easily leak, and the region of flowable filament is intentionally kept short. The main benefit of such a system is having two clean filament paths with no cross-contamination in the nozzles.




Promega Backers will be able to choose which hot-end solution they’d prefer or, can opt for both as an add-on.

Production Update

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Oct 27, 2017 - 10:09 PM

Production Update


A lot has happened since last month’s update. We’re working fervently through the design, development and production of the Promega, and are committed to making it an extremely high-quality product. 


It seems that almost everyone is on Discord these days - so we highly recommend joining the Discord conversation if you haven’t already. You’ll get updates weeks earlier than posted updates here since the chat is in real-time, and you’ll be able to ask other backers and M3D CEO Michael Armani questions first-hand about the printer. (Download Discord  and then join the discussion). It’s always helpful to check out the dedicated Promega landing page on M3D’s site with the most up-to-date specs, too. 


Production/Delivery Timeline

Let’s first address the main question you’ll want to know - ‘when do we get our printers?’.  If you haven’t been following the daily discussions with the CEO in Discord, here is your executive summary of the major production updates from the last two months:


We plan to ship the first full-production Promegas in December, and estimate that most backers who have pledged up to now will receive their printers by end of February. As always, keep in mind that we don’t add fluff to our delivery schedules, so we update them only when there is tangible reason to update the schedule such as a notable delay in supplier deliveries.  Below shows the estimated cumulative production and shipments for the coming months:

December: 1-25

January: 26-175

February: 176-425

March: 426-676+


As we get closer to the December shipments, we should have better knowledge about the assembly time and success rates of delivered components to be able to give you a more exact timeline for your specific delivery. We’re also working with the team at FitForLaunch to enable you to login to FFL and see your specific shipping estimate. We believe this functionality should be available around December 15th.  If you have questions about any of this, please contact us directly at info@fitforlaunch.com or on Discord.


Design Update

There are several reasons why we are delivering the Promegas on this new schedule, which is based on the best decisions to give you the most satisfying outcome in the end. By far, the majority of our active supporters on Discord have said that they would rather wait a little longer for us to work out any final design improvements, in order to give them the highest quality printer.  And that’s what we are doing, without letting perfection become our enemy.


Currently we are ordering all finalized parts for bulk production, having waited on certain aspects of the printer design to be solidified before we could order these parts. For instance, the changes to the Z-platform amounted to a big quality leap, by eliminating Z-wobble using direct drive. In this update we are adding two final changes, which are greatly to everyone’s benefit, and updating everyone on one production snag that slowed things down bit.  


Two New Major Upgrades - Free For Your Wait:

Already announced, everyone is getting a free genuine Gates belt upgrade and IGUS sliders for the CoreXY system, which give a smoother print and more consistent finish.  Other upgrades everyone will receive are:


Upgraded Heated Bed

The Z-platform upgrade made our print quality so consistent that we were able to notice a new problem when the heated beds were turned up rather quickly. We found that this bed works okay, but we felt that it wasn’t great. What we were seeing were some inconsistencies in bed height as much as a few hundred microns due to warping caused by thermal expansion, and want to ensure this frustration is not experienced on the final production units. 


Now we are also pleased to announce that we are upgrading the heated bed from polycarbonate to 3.2mm-thick fiberglass to give a flatter, more rigid print bed. Inside this bed, we’re embedding the heater traces, which was also a manufacturing challenge using the old design. Alongside these traces are options built in for later adding on bed-leveling sensors, such as electrical and inductive, in addition to our standard infrared-sensing. To allow users to easily add their own features to the extruder, we’re adding 4 extra wires routed to the printhead. We’re also expecting to make this bed removable for print removal. The new bed will come coated in a sheet of material that is ideal for print adhesion and remove that competes with PEI, Glass, and other common bed coatings, while alumino-silicate glass will be offered as an add-on.


Upgrade to Duet Boards for All

In addition, every printer will now come standard with a new Duet board. Originally, the goal was to provide a Smoothie board because of its lower cost, and to allow people to upgrade to a Duet for an additional $99 if they chose.  After a few weeks of discussion, we’ve been able to establish a formal partnership with the Duet team to quickly develop a new open-source Duet board, with all of the features needed to run the Promega, while leveraging our economies of scale.   


This decision allows everyone to get a Duet board, and everyone will be automatically upgraded to one. This was an easy decision because it simplifies support by maintaining one common set of instructions, because the Duet board’s firmware is much better at handling native Compound mixing, the Duet web interface is liked more by everyone, and because the Trinamic drivers they come with offer quiet, extremely accurate, 1/256 microstepping. By contrast, most motor drivers can’t do low-speed microstepping accurately, and ‘sing’ when they drive motors, which is not very professional. Updates on the specific M3D Duet board will come next month.



(This Duet board is for illustrative purposes; this is not the exact M3D/Duet board.)


The one production snag

The Frame Supplier we had lined up to fabricate the aluminum frame on the Promega recently backed out on us. We spent 3 months vetting samples with them (shown below), only to have them cancel the order a week after we gave the contract to them. In the meantime, we found a backup partner that we purchased a smaller number of frames from, and have a third backup in the works as well.  The frame is one of the first things we need to have when building this type of enclosed printer, so this was a really big and disappointing occurrence that we wish could have been avoided but things like this are hard to predict.



We would like to take this time to say THANK YOU to everyone for their support, and continued support, of us and this project. Please know that we are continuing to move forward in areas where we can, buying parts that are confirmed and continuing with tests and refinement on the Promega as needed. We are committed to creating a fantastic printer at a great value and only with your support do we get closer to that goal every day.


More Final Design Decisions...

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Sep 14, 2017 - 5:25 PM

Let’s get back to these updates. Labor Day came and went, but don’t worry, we’ve been working on the Promega nonstop. Let’s dig into some of those details:


Extruder Tests




Next exciting extruder steps:



Frame and Enclosure


This latest render depicts the back expansion:




And here’s how smooth the the gantry system (per an earlier update) will work on the Promega. (Note: this will ultimately be the X-rails, for video sliding purposes, we filmed it moving up and down vs. forwards and backwards.)



Last but not least you know we couldn’t end this post without mentioning how we’ve surpassed the $2 MILLION mark for MSRP pre-order sales! This success is not a small accomplishment - the Promega is the ONLY 3D printer pre-order project in recent history to sell so many units at the $1000+ mark.  In fact there is only one other project that ever reached this level of success and it seems we are set to surpass them in time.  



The rapid growth of the Promega campaign is especially incredible considering the fact that we did not make a traditional hyped marketing video. Instead, we focused on including you in the development process as we finalize a new product.  We are sure people are picking up on intent to focus strongly on quality and keeping the design versatile. There is a lot of buzz and positive word of mouth surrounding the Promega and we couldn’t be more appreciative of it all. Due to this early success and clear demand we are able to commit further by hiring more team members, including engineers, to ensure the design is refined and production goes as planned. We’re creating a solid, reliable, quality 3D printer - and we are confident you will not be disappointed in having backed it.  

Parts Are Arriving!

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Aug 23, 2017 - 4:26 PM

Check out these shiny, new, pre-production metal parts that have arrived! In addition to sliders, rails, power supplies, and some electronics, parts arriving means that we are just about ready to start producing our first couple dozen Promegas. One big thing we are waiting on is finalization of the sheet metal provider (for the frame), but all in all, things are progressing well. 


Week 8 Update

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Aug 11, 2017 - 3:03 PM

We’re jumping back into the questions log for this update, covering inquiries about Filaments and High Temperatures on the Promega.


FILAMENTS

  1. How well does the Promega handle infused and novelty filaments? For example, wood, metal, carbon fiber and wax?

The Promega is able to handle all of the above mentioned filaments, as good as the best printers in the industry because of the stainless steel nozzle parts being used (vs brass), control over temperature and hardened stainless steel drive gears. It’s still depends on using filament that is a match for the nozzle size, because carbon fiber and other particulate-filled filaments can clog smaller nozzles in any 3D printer. We do recommend using higher-grade filaments (those without dirty particulates in them) as they are known to be abrasive and corrosive to nozzles

  1. Can I print with flexible filaments on the Promega?

       Yes, what is special about M3D printers is their direct drive extruder design.  This makes them extremely well suited to with flexible or non-rigid filaments like Tough, Ninjaflex, TPU, TPE, etc.  Most printers, especially lower-priced ones, use indirect bowden-style feeds to reduce machine complexity. This further cripples their ability to extrude non-rigid materials especially 1.75mm filaments.



LARGE AND SMALL SCREW/BOLT PAIRS PRINTED ON THE PROMEGA


HEATING

3. What is being done to protect the motors from the high temperatures in the enclosure?

As the question implies the Promega heated bed is so large and can heat as high up to 90°C, the area above the bed will naturally become hot. There is no concern about the motors overheating as they will be within the designed limits. That being said, with the enclosed frame and the area above the bed increasing in temperature, the potential of everything warming up makes this a very valid question and we are exploring if a temperature reading on the build chamber is necessary. PLA is the most sensitive as it can't be printed much above 50°C: the filament becomes gummy and can't be pushed. When cooling such a system normally, most printers aren't so effectively enclosed, so they bring in cool air from the room.

In the case of the Promega there is also a fan on the front of the extruder for keeping the motors, filament path, and nozzle transition region cool. A second fan cools the print at the tip. These keep things cool. Worst case, the top lid is magnetically attached, and can be propped open if needed.

Another solution is the right combination of settings. For example, for PLA, the bed really should never be above 50°C; doing so can actually mess up print quality and reduce adhesion on the bed. At this bed temperature, the motors are fine. On the Promega, we have found that the Nema 17 motors, themselves, are running cool and are outside the convective path of the bed. The motors we are keeping a closer eye on are the Nema 14's which are directly above the bed, and also heated by the hot end and the motor-self heating. These motors can easily handle 80°C, but we run them at about 50°C (top opened). So a +25°C heated bed temperature for PLA Printing won't raise them to a hot enough level.


4. Is there a thermocouple on the Promega?
No, a thermocouple is not currently planned to be part of the Promega. We may explore it as a possible add-on, or provide a tutorial for to add one on independently.


5. Will the carbon filter system actively push air out of the enclosure or will it just scrub escaping air?

(To note: this question discusses a future add-on for a carbon HEPA filter.)

It will do all of the above. In the carbon filtration system, most of the air will be recirculated so as to scrub particles over a HEPA filter multiple times - and pass organic vapors through a carbon filter as well. As part of this cycle some of the air is allowed to escape too. When we are at the stage to design this add-on, the ability to control the rate at which air is pushed out will be explored.


6. Is there any plan to offer a high temperature extrusion system (up to 350°C)?
Yes, but since these extrusion systems are all metal, they should only be used for printing with high temp materials like PEI, and polycarbonate; not for use with PLA as printing will not work under the all-metal, high-temp system (per the above Question/Answer #3).



WORKING MECHANICAL WRENCH PRINTED ON THE PROMEGA


We'll continue to post updates as the product develops, and more prints come out.

Week 7 Update

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Aug 4, 2017 - 3:29 PM



Monday’s Open House was the perfect chance for Backers and Prospective Customers to see the Promega in person and inspect quality prints that have come from it. This opportunity to meet with schools, agencies, individuals and companies who see the great potential for M3D and the Promega, and are standing behind it financially, meant everything to us.




It was exciting to hear what people intend to do with the printer. The Promega’s purpose and benefit is becoming more and more clear as the day goes on: creating custom parts. Whether it be for cars, wheelchairs, or adapters to other tools and machinery, being able to create large-scale (fill-in-the-blank) items means our Backers will not only have better prints, but be able to do so much more as a result of them. Other interesting use cases for the Promega were more along the art lines. One involved making unique ‘worlds’ that blended 3D printed orbs with clay overlays. The other use case involved a museum and how they could benefit from making replicas for damaged artifacts. 3D printers and their ability to improve productivity and/or add functionality to our daily lives is not just something you read about with large firms and from NASA: it’s happening in normal civilians’ every day lives, and the Promega is making more of that possible.


Educators also talked to us about the great benefits to 3D printing. Students become enthralled with 3D printing and watching something they designed materialize before their eyes. They dive deeper into how 3D printing works, what goes into designing a good model, the attributes of good 3D printing and then the benefit of the prints, all while learning the mechanics and technology behind it. Schools are also benefiting from reduced costs to their robotics teams as they’re able to print custom parts for their creations.



PROMEGA PRINTS SHARED AT OPEN HOUSE


See M3D CEO and Co-Founder Michael Armani's talk during the Open House on Facebook.


OTHER PROMEGA UPDATES:

Per the previous update, printing has continued on the new GATES belts and we are happy to report back they are working exactly as intended, creating prints with smoother results.


The next two updates cover new design changes. While it was difficult for us to make this big of a change at this stage, we are committed to the highest quality 3D printer and the best user experience for our customers. And so, the tough decisions were made, the plans were updated and the end result is one we’re all happier with.

  1. Moving the CoreXY motors to the printer’s exterior. This will allow for easier tensioning of the belts, for the printhead to be truly square to the frame and for reduced risk of overheating motors should users make modifications (for example, if users install their own external Bowden feed).

  2. The Z-system is still undergoing design and testing. While quality prints are possible on the Promega as it stands today, we want to ensure it will be able to handle prints that are scaled up in size. It took a lot of knowledge from the engineering team to get the Z system to perform well. In the new proposed system the Z would get roller bearings on a stiffer aluminum extrusion - and we would drive the Z directly instead of on threaded rods.  This makes it possible to do mechanical leveling in seconds, is intended to reduce any chance of Z wobble, and should increase the consistency and speed of production at scale, among other benefits.



This feedback comes to us from our Backer Community. Join the discussion (whether you’ve backed or are purely interested in the Promega) to get the quickest updates on this game changing 3D printer. Download Discord and then join the Promega Chat.



Week 6 Update

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jul 29, 2017 - 11:05 AM

It’s been nearly 6 weeks into our launch and the #1 question we’ve received is: when will I get my awesome new Promega printer?  We’ll answer that question in this update, along with details about what we’ve been focused on during the past 6 weeks.


Z Gantry Subsystem Redesign:

Knowing even the biggest, brightest ‘FRAGILE: Handle With Care’ sticker can sometimes read as a fun game to package handlers, we have spent roughly 2 weeks redesigning the z-axis rod arms to ensure, as best we can, that Promegas are constructed to be - and will remain - extremely sturdy and resistant to printing artifacts from bent rods. The extra production cost is $20 per unit and it has slightly extended shipping deadlines by 2 weeks, but we feel it is time and money well spent, to avoid having problems in the field and considering the overall cost to ship back the printer.


Shipping stress test

We shipped a printer successfully across 5 states and had it arrived in the same condition, even considering its intentionally poor packaging.



2.2kg Spool Use: Verified

We designed for only 1kg spools, but we've since proven that Promega can hold and handle pulling 2.2kg spools with no impact on print quality



50 microns, Temperature and Print Setting, Optimizations per Material

We've shown stellar printing in 0.2 mm and 0.1 mm layer heights. In fact the quality is so good there is very little benefit from printing below 200 micron (0.2 mm) layers. This is a Hallmark of smooth finish due to consistency in the mechanics of the printer, and it will save you time. We've also printed in 50 micron layers with no noticeable difference in quality. Below are some images showing examples of this. They look good but with the layers and details being so fine, we hope to better capture the fine layers of such prints in the future.


Example 1 - controlling M3D black on PLA from gloss to matte finish simply with temperature and speed (0.4mm, requires constant flow rate printing)


Example 2- 100 micron printing while tuning.  The three different print areas show effects of print speed and temperature.  It was only possible to capture the layers well with flash, which highlights even the smallest deviations from printing well.

Example 3- Infill optimizations.  What we aimed for and achieved here is an attractive surface finish on the top layers.



Example 4- First layer successful adhesion optimizations. We are finding removable printed sheets to be the most robust material.  Adhesion is always perfect, even slightly too good, but with the heated bed prints can be released with ease.


Example 5- We're now seeing the hallmarks of an impressive 3D printer as far as price, size, speed and most importantly quality. Pictures, which can often amplify even the smallest inconsistencies, are showing nice prints. With extrusion consistency, we’re happy to say that both temperature (shininess) and physical dimensions lead to a smooth surface. Further, tops of certain areas of prints look pixelated, reflecting that they're an exact copy of the desired path rather than looking sloppy-looking. As a plus, nothing escapes the top of the current layer, meaning there is excellent layer deposition and cooling. With regard to rigidity, a nonrigid gantry will move up out of the way at times and we don't see that here. Last but not least, we see no skin artifacts such as z smoothness.


This was printed in black M3D PLA, on Cura, with 0.35mm layer heights. Any ripple you see is part of the scan of the animal (www.thingiverse.com/thing:22115)

Overpriced Heated Bed Quotes

While this may be a detail Promega owners will never see a difference on, we had to change the source used to create the heated bed ‘foundation.’ The original plan for the heated printed was going to use a stainless heater element inset in machined polycarbonate. The frame sheet metal for this came in almost 3x over cost targets so we have redesigned it and resourced materials to better align costs. While we are happy with the end result, one that doesn’t sacrifice quality, it did take a week’s worth of time to solve for, but was contained inside the same 2 week delay of the Z system redesign.


Rewards Fulfilment Schedule:

At present we see the most likely scenario as order numbers up to 120 going out early to mid October, then order numbers through 428 shipping in early November and order numbers through 768 going out late November. Beyond that, we hope to get even better and faster at production and will release a schedule as time gets closer. Rest assured we will plan to ship hundreds more in December and January, and as the campaign continues on.

Please note that these schedules are likely to change if there are any in New expected bumps in the road, such as suppliers untrue to their quotes, product schedules, or shipment schedules, or if we need to redesign components. For every week of additional delay accumulated we will give you a delivery update here and through Discord’s Promega Chat.


FREE Component Upgrade

Good news - as a result of this delay, all backers will receive a FREE belt upgrade. The long, 2-meter open belts used on the COREXY gantry will now be upgraded to high quality, reinforced fiberglass GATES belts, at our cost. The impact expected is less belt stretch, stronger and longer-lasting belts, slightly better print quality, and more consistency overall.

We hope you now can better understand the cause of the delay, while feeling even more confident in the quality of the Promega. This is a natural process in product development and your patience is going to be rewarded with an outstanding printer in a couple short months.  


Next on the list: printed pictures. We’ve got our Open House next week, too, so hopefully you’ll see lots more of what we’ve been printing real soon.



Round 1 Q&A

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jul 24, 2017 - 2:02 PM

The first month of the Promega launch was met with great excitement from the 3D Printing industry and our Backer Community. Raising over $1.5M worth of MSRP value from Backers across the world is an incredible testament to the validity and the value of the Promega 3D printer.



Showing off the Promega at New York's CE Week.


We’ve received a lot of questions this past month so we’ll address some now, and will continue to do so in future updates.

  1. What is the Ramped Reveal about?

A new and unique launch strategy, the Promega was launched at just $1,000 with a known final retail price of $3,500. Everyday the price increases by a small amount, giving value to the people who bought it earlier, and rewarding those who believe in M3D the most. In the earlier stage of the launch (i.e. first 3 months) there is more uncertainty and a longer wait time; thus prices are lowered accordingly. As time goes on there is more certainty as confirmed capabilities, accessory pricing, printer videos, in-person demos, backer reports, and 3rd party reviews become available. Combined with shorter delivery times, the price increases accordingly as the campaign progresses. This ‘ramped reveal’ has proven to be a new and effective way to gain and retain momentum and interest of a newly launched ore-order project.


2. What nozzle sizes will be available on the Promega?

Promega 3D printers will ship with .35, .4, .5, .6 and .75mm nozzles to start.


3. What are the standard Promega nozzles made from? Does it use an M6 thread?
Using the same materials and fabrication method as the Pro and Micro nozzles, we turn 303 stainless steel and then heat treat to harden them, making them the most durable nozzles available on the market.  Our nozzles are designed as a single body, which makes it impossible for material to leak. This is a fundamentally different design than the most common hot ends, which have the body broken up into three stages - a stainless throat/heat break, and aluminum heater body, and a final stage being a 6mm brass nozzle.


4. What Slicer can I use with the Promega?

With the parts used to build the Promega, it is expected to have full and easy compatibility with all open source slicers based on its Smoothieboard-clone or Duet3D boards. We are also in talks with Simplify3D and others to ensure compatibility settings are figured into their software.


5. What is the effective build size when using a dual extruder set up (non-mixing?)

With the dual independent extruders, the build size effectively becomes 14.8x15.3x15.3” - that build size assumes the area of the dual nozzles overlap each other. If using two materials at the same time (vs a second one for support), plan to minimize depth by 12mm.


6. How hot can the heated bed get on the Promega?

The bed is designed to reach 110°C, an industry standard temperature.


7. What version of the Smoothieboard comes standard on the Promega?

Standard units of the Promega will ship with an MKS sbase V1.3 board.


8. What warranty comes with the Promega?

M3D is happy to offer the following warranty for Promega printers:

Hardware: 2 years, Electronics: 5 years, Support: Lifetime

This Warranty is meant to support those who have used the printer according to Manufacturer’s guidelines, and does not cover mishandling or modifications to the printer, nor breakage of the heated bed. As always, the M3D customer support team is based out of the USA.


9. How do I stay updated about the Promega?

We'll continually post updates here on FitForLaunch. The best way to make sure you have all of the latest and greatest details is by joining the Promega Chat group through Discord. Download Discord and then join through: https://discord.gg/2Wt8tBS . We look forward to you joining the discussion!


Pictures of Promega prints coming soon... we promise you'll be impressed, stay tuned!

Access Your Promega Remotely!

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jul 12, 2017 - 1:28 AM

See how the Promega can be accessed remotely from anywhere on your network, and controlled via your phone or computer, when using a Duet or Smoothieboard connected to Ethernet. Interact with the Promega with the Duet/Smoothie web interface, where users will gain increased control in a user-friendly manner. Executing compatible G-code commands (and your own customized macros) on the printer is now faster and easier than before and makes an LCD screen unnecessary.




Promega Prototype Vase Print

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jul 7, 2017 - 5:18 PM

Watch a complete test print on the Promega prototype. It is highly precise and with great dimensional accuracy, printed on a PEI sheet and 80-90' heated bed. Shown printing at 50mm/s (this is not a time lapsed video), we are making good progress toward the printer working at 70mm/s.




First 11" Print!

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jun 22, 2017 - 11:58 AM

Continuing to fine tune the Promega prototype. Video shows the Promega printing at 70% of its max speed limit, using ABS-R and resulting in a high-quality, 11"-tall gnome print.


 

Finished Print next to a Micro and a Pro!




Promega Auto Bed Leveling

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jun 21, 2017 - 12:53 PM

Promega prototype test of critical infrared, multi-point bed-probing for full platform leveling.




Promega G-Code Print

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jun 19, 2017 - 12:52 PM

First Promega print of a calibration cube from G-code file provided by Backer. This milestone means the Promega is ready to handle any open source-standard g-code.




Promega Launch Party

Posted By: M3D LLC - View: public

Jun 16, 2017 - 8:42 PM

The Promega launch party was a success! Thank you to everyone who came out to see the printer in person, and to Tech Shop for letting us use their space!

 

Here are some pictures from the event:

 

IMG_0488.JPG

M3D CEO Michael Armani presenting the Promega


IMG_1099.JPG

 

IMG_0501.JPG

 

IMG_1110.JPG

Our lead engineer JJ watching it print


IMG_0494.JPG

A print from the Promega


IMG_0528.JPG


IMG_1123.JPG

The Promega can print up to 8 Micros!


IMG_0519.JPG

The Micro+ inside a Promega


IMG_0518.JPG

The Pro inside a Promega


image2.jpg

Getting attention from people passing by while we were loading up the car