Based on our progress in the past two months, we regret to announce that all rewards shipments are estimated to be delayed for about two months.
After the campaign, we were excited to get started turning our prototype into a final product and deliver to all of you. We started communicating with expert manufacturers before the campaign and conducted trial production for some components. We have been warned, notified and reminded by manufacturers, agencies, friends, and even some of you that product realization can be overwhelmingly complicated and detail-dominant which requires an extremely systematic, well-organized and repeatedly tested workflow. We designed IVI to easily achieve high-resolution 3d printing, with laser engraving and CNC carving as additional functions. To make sure that you will feel exactly the same when you receive your IVI, we have been treading carefully.
We are sincerely sorry for any inconvenience or frustration this delay may cause you. It breaks our heart to tell you that we cannot hit the previously estimated delivery date. However, considering the ultimate demand of all backers and the long term development of the company, we feel the urge and the must to choose the right path instead of the easy path. Rather than hurrying to deliver a less qualified IVI on time, we will still be committed to producing a high-quality closed-loop IVI. We believe something wonderful is worth striving for and worth waiting for. It is our “no irresolution” principle to deliver what we have promised during the campaign. Below is a summary of what we have been doing to deliver a better IVI for you.
Mechanics & Structural Design
Before the campaign, we were satisfied with the functionality and design of the prototype and we were planning to turn it into a product once we are successfully funded. Then during and after the campaign, after listening to all backers’ concerns and suggestions from expert manufacturers, we realized that before we can start the trial production, we need to make another four prototypes. Our original prototype is for verifying the functionality while the new prototype will be used to verify many other factors. The picture below shows the difference between the two types of prototype.
There are many types of manufacturing methods used in IVI. When selecting the manufacturing methods and materials for each part, we will consider its impact on IVI’s performance, the ease of processing technic, the safety and manufacturing cost of the material.
Below are some of the modifications we have been doing.
- Redesigned the filament chamber. The new filament chamber now supports two spools of filament with an outer diameter of 200 mm, making it compatible with more filaments on the market. Both filament roller is equipped with a weighing sensor to detect if the remaining filament is enough for the next model.
- Changed the manufacturing method of the frame’s loop. Originally we chose CNC machining to produce this part, then we found that it is very costly as the cut material takes 90% of the raw material and the efficiency is quite low. After the evaluation, we modified the design and changed the manufacturing method to die casting.
Relocated the position of the extruder. We moved the extruder from the back of the filament chamber to beneath the chamber. This design provides easier maintenance, lower working noise, and the shortened filament transmission distance increases printing reliability.
Redesigned the extruder sensor. The new design not only detects filament suspension but also filament clogging.
Changed the transparent acrylic at the bottom to PC for heat resistant. Changed the frame of the bed from ABS to PC & ABS material for flame-resistant. It is because we found some sort of aging and deformation of the transparent acrylic and the frame of the bed, especially after printing with a filament that requires high temperature. After excluding the possibility of causing by the weight of the printer itself, we found it is caused by the high temperature and the ultraviolet light. The new materials are safer and environment-friendly.
**Changed the heat bed from Polyimide heating film to aluminum plate, resulting in higher flatness.**Changed the build plate from carbon fiber board to black matte PEI flexible board. The heat bed can be heated to 130 ~140℃ . Considering PC, POM, Nylon and other filaments, we might also punch the build plate.
Redesigned the print head to make it lighter and easier for installation. We redesigned the hot end so that you can replace the nozzle more easily. New leveling sensor is being used, making the print head more suitable for high-speed printing.
Added mechanical structure for the shell so that the upper and bottom panel in the front can open, facilitating easier operation for certain situations.
Added dust and smoke filter. The new design can filter laser-cutting smoke to eliminate odors and also filter dust to keep the working environment clean. In the meantime, we added a vacuum cleaner port to facilitate the cleaning process.
- Using thicker carbon fiber rod for the arms so that IVI can work more stably.
We will produce four prototypes after all the details of the design are finalized to verify all the aspects mentioned above. All the design changes will go through a series of systematic test before they can be finalized.
Software, Electronics & Website
- Confirmed the chip for the motion controller. Below is a simplified diagram of IVI’s control system. The low level section was confirmed before the campaign and we will use STM 32 ARM chip. The circuit board won’t be greatly modified. We will only fix the bugs and modify the size of the PCB to match the mechanical part.
- Confirmed the chip for the high-level section. To speed up R&D in the early stage, IVI uses the Raspberry Pi, but the cost is too high. Recently, we chose the very powerful Allwinner A33 (Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.5 GHz).
About Allwinner A33
Allwinner A33 SoC features a Quad-Core Cortex-A7 ARM CPU and a Mali400 MP2 GPU from ARM. This CPU is designed for the tablet and has very powerful processing capabilities. We chose this solution as it can meet all the demands of IVI’s 5-inch display, Wi-Fi communication, camera, etc.
- Reorganized the main functions and interfaces of the LCD and redesigned all the pages. Alpha-version 1.0 has been completed.
- A new interface for IVI’s auto slicer is being designed. The below interface has been demonstrated in the update IVI’s cloud-based auto-slicer, and we are currently redesigning for better user experience.
- Negotiating with suppliers and confirmed the supplier for LCD. Suppliers of other electronic accessories are also being introduced and gradually confirmed.
For the software & hardware, we will continue to optimize all the relevant UI/UX and develop the PCB & software accordingly. We will keep a monthly update for the progress and problems. A detailed and updated timeline will be shared with all the backers once the four prototypes are successfully made.
As a startup company, we really appreciate all the support, trust and help received from all the backers all over the world. Most of you haven’t met us yet, except a few who might have talked with us during the CES 2019. Still, you choose to believe and support our idea and trust us with your money to bring this idea to life. We cannot thank you enough but to deliver what we promised. There might be unforeseen difficulties, unexpected hiccups, and unwanted delays along the journey, but with a little faith, a strong problem-solving determination and a clear mind, we will get there. We WILL get to the place that made us start this journey and the place that made us become a team together. Please give us some extra time to get things done and get them done good. Your support and trust fuel us and keep us going.
Thank you, all the IVIers. Together, we are a team.