iBox Nano 3D Resin PrinterImagine you own a 3D printer measuring only 4 × 3 × 8 inches, weighing just about 3Ibs and bearing the lowest price tag you can currently find in the market!

Well, no need to trouble yourself with wishful thinking anymore. The iBox Nano is already a reality.

Although ever since 3D technology got popular many new 3D printers have been popping up; there is none so far that can outshine the iBox Nano. To start with, it is the smallest and cheapest 3D Resin printer today.

This means that not only can you easily move around with the printer but you also don’t have to spend a fortune to acquire it like most other previous models.

The iBox Nano is fully equipped and designed to meet the 3D printing needs of the home-based user. For example, most home users of 3D printers only have a relatively small space where they intend to position their 3D printer. The iBox Nano proves to be ideal as it does not consume any more space than you are willing to spare compared to other printers.

According to the creators of this incredible 3D printer; they had set a goal of creating a printer that was small, portable, quiet and inexpensive. Looking at the iBox Nano today, that goal has been met.

3D connoisseurs clearly are excited about this printer. Evidence of the public appreciation of this printer can be seen through the great response the project is receiving on Kickstarter. The iBox Nano has already surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal of $300,000 by over $150,000.

The iBox Nano is going to give many of the other 3D printing machines a real run for their money – no doubt about it. Here are reasons why this small printer has got many people fired up…

Great Material Choice & Design

iBox Nano is made from Laser Cut Precision Acrylic. This material looks almost like glass, only difference is it is over 15 times stronger than ordinary glass and bears virtually half the weight of typical glass.

This is one of the many reasons why this printer is highly portable. The unique selection and use of advanced materials in designing the outer structure of the iBox Nano gives it an exquisite outer form while at the same time maintaining a robust and durable structure.

Wi-Fi Supported Printing

The iBox Nano is WiFi enabled, making it possible for users to carry on with printing without necessarily being tethered to the printer. What’s more is that it also supports browser-based 3D printing and does not limit you to only 1 or 2 Operating Systems as many 3D printers do.

With this 3D printer, users can basically print their designs from whatever browser they are using. It doesn’t matter whether you are using your Windows PC, Mac, iPhone or any other Android device. You have total browser freedom to choose where to print from.

High Resolution Printer

Conventionally, most high resolution 3D printers have been costing a lot. When it comes to the iBox Nano however, the printer offers high resolutions at a jaw-dropping price. It can print at 328 microns Resolution X-Y and can attain up to 0.39 microns on the Z axis.

Now here is the best part, other printers which can match these High Resolutions such as the Form 1; cost over $3000. The price for the iBox Nano is more like $300. About a tenth of the total cost of other high resolution 3D printers that you will find in the market.

Mobile 3D Printing

Are you the type of person who is always on the go? No problem, the iBox Nano is created for people like you as you can just put it in your backpack and be on your way. The printer is not only small enough but light as well weighing approximately 3 pounds.

If you think about it, there are some laptops that actually weigh more than it does. And since it is WiFi enabled, you do not have to tether it to your PC to be able to use it. So no need of USB cables or any other wires that you may find bothersome to bring along while on the move.

Mobility of the iBox Nano is made even easier considering the fact that there is a battery option. The battery lasts for about 9-10 hours meaning it can support a full day use at the office, school, library or wherever you are going to. If you compare its weight with Form 1, which almost had the same resolution as iBox Nano, you will be shocked because Form 1 weighs up to 18 pounds.

Reduced Noise Pollution

iBox Nano is the quietest Resin 3D printer presently available. The thing is most Resin 3D printers use the DLP Technology. The problem with this technology is that a cooling fan must be there; running 100% of the time the printer is working, to cool down DLP projector bulbs and increase their working life.

The cooling fan usually makes a significant amount of noise, which can be pretty much annoying especially if you are using the printer at home or anywhere close to you. iBox Nano has a very low power usage hence produces very little heat making it able to operate without a cooling fan. You therefore won’t have to worry about having to tolerate noise coming from the cooling fan.

When compared to other printers for instance Form 1 and RepRap Prusa: while iBox Nano produces only 29 decibels of noise, Form 1 and RepRap Prusa produce 54 and 71 decibels respectively.

Low Maintenance Costs

A great percentage of Resin 3D printers use DLP Technology thus have DLP projector bulbs. The lifespan of these bulbs ranges from 2000-9000 hours of use after which they need replacement. They do not come cheap so replacing them calls for the user to part with a couple hundreds of dollars.

iBox Nano on the other hand, uses Ultra Violet LEDs which can last for over 55,000 working hours. This is equivalent to almost 20 years of use working for a maximum of 7-8 hours daily.

Best Power Usage

While Form 1 and Utilmaker 2 use 60 watts and 221 watts of power respectively during printing; iBox Nano uses an average of 3 watts during printing. Low power usage makes optional batteries to last you longer, not forgetting that you can purchase 10-20 hour optional battery packs.

Conclusion

If you have been looking for the perfect 3D printer to use at home: iBox Nano can be a good choice to consider. It is easy to use, small and compact, portable, a beautiful addition to your home office and is most of all, inexpensive. For more 3D printers which are under $500 check out the Printrbot Range.

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3D Printed PumpkinsDuring the run up to Halloween I naturally decided to check out Thingiverse to see if there were any pumpkins I could 3D print.

After my recent delivery of Dutch Orange ColorFabb filament I though an orange pumpkin or two would be a great addition to the Celtic Skulls I already printed for Halloween.

That’s when I found the Makies Jack-O-Lantern. Don’t ask me why they called it this, maybe it’s an American thing but to us here in the UK, it’s just a plain old pumpkin.

I started with a low resolution (0.3mm layer height) small orange pumpkin to see how it turned out. I was so impressed I printed a much larger version (200%, so eight times the volume), again in low res.

I didn’t feel the need to print in higher resolution because pumpkins don’t exactly need to be high precision. Besides, I was too impatient to wait any longer than the 5 and a half hours it already took to print the big one.

For my third and final pumpkin attempt I 3D printed a little glow in the dark one using ColorFabbs glowFill filament. It’s a shame my night time photography isn’t very good, because it glowed really well after being charged under a lamp for a while. Unlike my glowFill Swampy, I also managed to charge it without melting it on the light bulb.

RoboSavvy Universal Spool Holder

Universal Spool HolderOne thing that’s been on my ‘to do’ list for months is to buy some NinjaFlex (rubbery) filament. More on this later, but while I was browsing the RoboSavvy website to find some I spotted a Universal Spool Holder Kit.

As much as I love my Broom Handle Spool Holder which does work very well, I have to remember it is only temporary and a better more compact spool holder solution is needed.

The great things about the RoboSavvy spool holder are as follows:

  • It can be adjusted to hold two spools of almost any size
  • The spools run on metal bearings so it’s very smooth and low friction
  • The metal parts are delivered but they email you the files to 3D print the plastic parts
  • After printing the plastic parts and building the kit, you really feel you’ve made it yourself

I only have a few small issues with it, all of which I solved easily:

  • Four hex nuts were missing from the kit
  • The holes in the plastic parts I printed were a bit too small
  • The holder tended to slide easily and moved while printing

Don’t get me wrong, these are very minor gripes which I solved as follows. I tweeted @RoboSavvy who will hopefully be sending me the missing hex nuts. In the mean time I designed and 3D printed my own (4 minutes to print 4 hex nuts) which work really well.

The holes can be made slightly bigger by putting a screwdriver in there and milling them out a little. This only took a minute or so.

Now for my favourite solution. The plastic feet slide too easily on the smooth surface I placed the stand on, so I simply added “rubber stick on feet” to my shopping list… then I looked at the NinjaFlex I’d also had delivered in the same order and scrubbed the feet off my shopping list.

NinjaFlex First Impressions

So, I need some rubber feet and I’ve just had some NinjaFlex delivered. I guess you can work out where this is heading. Out came Tinkercad and I designed a prototype foot. After a few measurements with my vernia caliper, 5 minutes designing and 5 minutes printing I had my prototype plastic foot.

It was slightly too small, which was good because when printed in NinjaFlex it should stretch a little and fit snugly.

Out came the NinjaFlex and I swapped the filament over. The first thing I noticed is that being rubbery, the NinjaFlex wouldn’t feed into the cool end of the extruder. This is because the filament is gripped quite tightly but being rubber, it’s not possible to push it in so the stepper motor gear grabs it.

NinjaFlex FeetThat’s easy to solve though as on the Replicator 2 there’s a lever at the side of the extruder which opens up the hole and allows you to push in the filament easily. After doing this and releasing the spring loaded lever the filament was being fed though the hot end and was being extruded cleanly.

The settings I used for this first attempt were standard PLA defaults using 210 degrees. This was fine for the first layer but after that it failed to extrude. What I noticed is that the first layer always extrudes slowly (on any print) and then it speeds up the extrusion for subsequent layers.

A quick Google search confirmed that the default 90 mm/s extrusion speed after the first layer is too fast for NinjaFlex. Just remember we’re pushing thin rubber though the hot end. It’s like playing snooker with a piece of rope, it’s quite tricky.

I slowed down the extrusion speed to 30 mm/s (a basic setting in the MakerWare slicer software) and upped the temperature to 230 degrees. For many this might seem too hot, but for me it worked perfectly. The first rubber foot turned out perfectly so I printed the other three in one go and they worked great.

The new spool holder is complete, works great and thanks to NinjaFlex no longer slides around on the smooth surface I stand it on. Goodbye old broom handle spool holder, our time together was good but you were always only temporary :)

NinjaFlex KeyringAfter this success with NinjaFlex I remembered a keyring I’d made for someone, who had managed to trap it in his house door and break it within a few days. Maybe a flexible rubbery keyring would be a good solution. The keyrings I make are far more detailed than the simple rubber feet I just made, so I was curious how NinjaFlex would cope with this.

The keyring printed without failure, but due to the number of areas where the filament needed to retract for the extruder to bridge an empty gap, it resulted in quite a stringy print, with thin stringy bits between all the open spaces. I can certainly improve on this, buy tweaking temperatures, speeds, retraction distance etc, so I’m not too worried.

Over all my first NinjaFlex experience has been good. It prints pretty well and is very strong and flexible, making one of the most useful materials I’ve printed with so far.

Photo Sweep Stand

In my quest to improve my photography a little, I found a Photo Sweep Stand on Thingiverse. I’ve been using white A4 paper as a background for my small item photos for a long time, but this stand allows you to hold an A4 sheet in a smooth curve creating a great background for your photos.

Photo Sweep StandDue to the fairly large long and flat parts (there are six parts in all for both sides of the stand) it warped a little but using a raft would have prevented that. It is still fully functional and works just great, so if you take your own photos of small items then I can highly recommend downloading, 3D printing and making this stand.

Just before I go, there’s a couple more things. I have been working on a process for turning 2D drawings in black pen on white paper into 3D prints. With the help of a few free tools I have managed to do it, but I wanted to improve the process before I wrote about it here.

I’d like to write an article dedicated just to this 2D to 3D process so I think that’s what I’ll do. The reason I like the idea of this technique so much is that a major barrier to 3D printing is that designing intricate and complex objects using CAD packages is a little beyond most people.

The idea of being able to draw an intricate detailed shape on paper using a plain old black pen is something even a child can manage… and I can now turn those into 3D prints. I posted a very simple example on Twitter the other week, but I want to produce some better examples before I write about the process. I even managed to convert a single photo into a 3D print, but that process does still need more work.

Finally this week, I created a new 3D Printing Resources Page on my website where I intend to share all the products, services and information sources which I find most useful and can recommend. There’s about ten things on there already but I’ll continually to add more as time goes on. Follow the link above and feel free to have a browse.

Thanks for reading and if you’d like to Share and Like this article that would be great. Also feel free to leave a Comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

Happy 3D printing…

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Austrian Artist 3D Prints Amazing Life-Like Insect Models

November 9, 2014

3D printing has been traditionally associated with small lack-luster plastic objects. However, recently this view has changed because of several amateur efforts that have introduced the world to a novel concept: 3D printed art. We’ve already told you about some of them like Scott Camazine’s Printed Skulls, Stilnest’s Cuckoo Clock and the Art of Failed 3D Objects. […]

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BioAssemblyBot: One Step Closer to Bioprinting Organs

October 26, 2014

One of the most interesting applications of 3D printing is bioprinting. Various companies like Organovo (ONVO) have already succeeded in printing small parts of Human Tissues Including Liver. So, completely printed organs are just one or two decades away. However, 3D bioprinting is currently limited by the lack of efficient hardware and software. Bioprinters in use […]

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How to Fix the Biggest Design Flaw of Many 3D Printers

October 18, 2014

Last week I made a temporary broom handle Overhead Spool Holder for my Replicator 2, which like most ‘temporary’ things is now looking pretty permanent. I also ordered a new glass build plate from Performance 3-D, which has since arrived and has been fitted and tested. More on this later. With the spool holder and […]

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Amazing 3D Printed Electric Skateboards on Kickstarter

October 17, 2014

The Electric Bubblegum is quite an awe-inspiring Kickstarter campaign. It features a 3D printed electric skateboard that bears features and electrical functionalities above the ordinary. Andrew James, a former professional skater; is the inventor of this awesome skateboard. Living in Atlanta, James says in his Bio that he has a habit of going to all […]

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