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Our 3DP Workbench 200 large format printer which has a 1000 x 1000 x 500 mm bed has been busy over the last few weeks. This large format printer uses Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) with a 2.85mm diameter
Obviously, I can't share with you the prototype but the client is very pleased with the progress so far and the support they have had from Cotie.
What was our process?
The client was working away and could not make the first visit to Cotie so they sent us the STL file to import into the software (#SIMPLIFY3D) This is what we use for manipulating and generating supports ready to print on the #Workbench200. If we need any extra help or advice we can always ask the supplier of our #3DPWorkbench200, #GoPrint3D which is now #Additivex, the company may have changed its name but it still has all the staff we know that helped us get #CotieInnovationLaunchpad 'Development Space' ready to support local business to North Devon with their innovations and prototypes. They Supplied us with our Ultimakers, 3DP Workbench 200 and our Formlab Form3's, our Stratasys F370 and MarkForged were supplied by other companies but that's for a future blog.
The first run of the prototype threw up printing issues both visual and technical: The reel of filament ended in the night (this prototype will take several reel changes as stock for the 8.5kg in the clients colour choice is on an 8-week delay). An unusual problem but it can and in this case did happen, the filament was kinked at the end of its run so the Workbench 200 sensor got the filament stuck in it. The sensor thought it still had filament on the reel and I came into the extruder air printing! The stuck filament had pulled the last remaining material out of the extruder while the finishing end was still in the sensor. Several hours were lost while the sensor was unblocked and new filament loaded. Although I edited the G-Code to carry on printing, the original print had cooled and shrunk so unfortunately, we had to start again. The positive from this was it gave us an opportunity to see the bottom side of the print and it was decided that the design needed to have some tweaks. It's worth saying the design is fairly intricate and is both on the top and the bottom. The prototype takes up over 80% of the available print bed. When printing on a small scale the design looks perfect but the larger scale showed up areas to be improved before the prototype is ready for mass production.
One thing that came to light from checking the print in the large format and strangely it was not obvious to the designer, client or anyone who had seen the prototype half printed, until, eagle-eyed Jaime called by, Jaime's background is in marketing and she took one look and pointed out the text spacing was not consistent! Now it had been pointed out it just stood out like a sore thumb! We had been so focused on what filament to use, what the design finish had come out like if we needed to use filler on some bits, sanding If the orientation on the bed needed changing etc we missed something that in retrospect seemed so obvious. Of course, Jaime spends her time looking for text errors in her job but if a lesson is to be learnt from this it is that you can't have too many people checking your work before printing! #IfInDoubtGetJaimeOut
The great thing about the Workbench 200 is we can print very large designs, however, this does mean you need to be prepared, you need to know that it uses large amounts of filament and takes days, weeks or months to print (dependant on design and size). This prototype will take weeks to complete but it's great to see this product through the process, from innovation, to page to a product that can be held and manipulated, seeing the company concept come to life has been a fascinating journey.
Hopefully one day in the future we will be able to share with you this companies product. We wish them the very best of luck with their journey. Thank you for trusting us to help you on your way.
If you would like to know how we can help you get your prototype off the ground please contact us for a no obligation chat. We are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and one of our focus areas is to help you develop your concept or idea. The ERDF has put a lot of funding into the South West to help business start-ups, SMEs, innovators and creators if we can't help you we will know someone locally who can.
Quote from our client;
"Many thanks for seeing me today and for all the prints you have done so far!
They are already looking great and I am looking forward to the real thing!"