We are very sorry about the waiting for the new timeline. Since our last schedule delay, it has been difficult for us to share the new timeline with you as we are worried if the new timeline will be 100% reliable. We were planning to share the news when things are clearer after the testing of the 4 new prototypes and we thought that the new timeline will be more reliable by then. Still, it is also very important for us to keep you in the loop and keep you posted about the progress and the delays even when things are not 100% sure. Hence, instead of a fixed timeline, we decide to share with you a rough plan of how much time is expected for each step in the next few months. If there is any changes or delays in this new timeline, we will let you know in the monthly schedule update.
The arrival of 4 new prototypes – by 25 Sep;
Assemble & testing of the 4 new prototypes, 1 month – end of Oct (Apply for FCC/CE/RoHS, Start package design);
Trial production & testing of 20 units, 1 month – end of Nov;
Trial production & testing of 100 units, 1.5 months – early Jan 2020.
In total, it is about 3.5 months from Sep 25th until we start shipping to early beta adopters, which is early Jan 2020. Please keep in mind that this is a rough plan of what we plan to complete in the next few months. What makes it difficult for us to be 100% assured of this plan at the moment is the lead time, the yield rate, the quality control, the testing, the SOP, the SIP, etc. and the repeating modifications during these steps. We will see if we can shorten the time but our top priority would always be ensuring the quality.
Below are the component samples we’ve received so far. More components are expected in the next 2 weeks.
Customized 24V/13A external power supply
IVI has an enclosed design and the printing chamber has a relatively constant temperature. Considering the ambient temperature required for the operation of the power supply and the necessity to simplify the assembly process, we choose the external power supply. One problem with the external power supply is that it cannot monitor the AC power-off signal. In case of sudden power loss, IVI cannot record the coordinate position of the print head, which means IVI does not support power-loss recovery at the moment. We’ve discussed with the supplier for adding a power-off sensor inside, but this means the new power supply needs to be re-certified. The redesigning and re-certifying would take a much longer time. The power-loss recovery feature was not included in our original plan, but we started looking for solutions to incorporate this function as it has been raised by some backers and we will keep looking. All of these will be done on a prerequisite that it will not affect the overall delivery time. So it is not 100% sure yet if this feature will be included in your IVI.
External Power Supply
Power Supply Cord
Aluminum heat bed
IVI supports printing with PC, POM, Nylon and other high temperature resistant filaments, so IVI’s heat bed needs to be heated up to 130°C. The maximum working temperature of common heat bed is 110°C so we re-customized the heat bed. After testing the samples, we found that the 24V/250W aluminum heat bed can meet our requirements. It takes about 4 minutes to heat up to 130°C. In the meantime, we are also planning to test the head bed made with 3mm PCB as it is supposed to have better heat insulation function.
Aluminum & PCB Heat Bed
Aluminum Heat Bed
In the previous testing, we found that the carbon fiber board can deform after long hours of heated printing. We also tested PC & PEI build plate separately and found that these two materials do not help with the bonding when printing with PC filament. Also, the heat bed made with the soft magnetic process cannot withstand the high temperature of 130°C and there is severe degaussing. So we decide to change the way of bonding the heat bed and the build plate. We’ll mount the cobalt oxide magnetic steel (which has a higher temperature resistance with a maximum of 350°C) on the aluminum heat bed and the PCB heat bed. The build plate is a spring steel plate with perforated film (PEI or PC) covered on both sides. This design enhanced the adhesion of low-viscosity filaments on the build plate. What’s more, the cobalt oxide magnetic steel ensures the firmness and flatness of the build plate. The verification of the new build plate and the heat bed will be completed before the assembly of the new prototypes.
PC & PEI Build Plate
We tested stepper motors of different lengths. We are still communicating with the supplier for a customized, low-noise, high-precision, closed-loop stepper motor.
The supplier provided two types of cooling fans. The testing so far indicates that when the fans and the activated carbon filter work together, they cannot reach the expected air purifying and dust filtering effect. The new cooling fans and the new activated carbon air purifying bag are being made.
Activated Carbon Filter
Considering the instantaneous high current required by IVI in full power operation or when all resistor circuits are turned on, we use a more stable and anti-reverse high-current power connector. It can withstand 60A current and has passed relevant safety certification. It can be used directly with IVI’s power supply.
Considering safety, especially the high temperature of the heat bed, the print head, and the chamber during printing, we are adding a switch sensor on the door. If the door is not closed before working, the printer won’t start working and the user will be notified. Or if the door is opened suddenly during working, the printer will stop, the print head will go home and the user will be notified. You can still choose to disable this function.
IVI’s timing belt is 2GT precision arc tooth belt that can eliminate hysteresis error. Considering the elastic deformation of the belt, we have customized 6mm, 7mm, and 8mm 2GT timing belt. The 7mm & 8mm 2GT timing belt are not received yet. We will need some time to test these three belts. If they cannot pass the test, we will then try the customized high-strength timing belt lined with steel wire.
6mm Timing Belt
We’ve selected a DC motor used for RC stunt helicopter as the spindle motor of IVI’s CNC module. This motor has a high rotation concentricity and a large torque, which is more likely to meet our requirements for the CNC module after speed regulation. The problem is that this spindle motor also has a comparatively longer lead time. We just received the sample and haven’t started testing yet.
Some other components we’ve received so far
Tube Connector Rand
Tube Connector Fix
Thank you all for your tremendous support and exceeding understanding. Please do not hesitate to share with us your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, concerns, and worries. We are always here to listen and your inputs help us grow faster.