We are sincerely sorry for the long waiting. And we are also sorry that you have to go through the comments section and our Forum for the latest information from our replies. Many of you have made your concerns very clear and you’ve also made many great suggestions. All of your comments make us feel again that you are IN this project with us and you are sharing everything you can think of to help us make it come true. We’ve read all the comments and we agree these are all fair concerns. That’s why we are making this update even though it is not as substantial as we want it to be because of the limited progress in production.
First things first, we received the new prototype at the end of March. We didn’t show you because we encountered some serious problems with the control board and the prototype cannot print yet with the revised control board that we plan to mass-produce and use for the mass-produced printers.
Both the original control board that we previously used for demonstrating both in our videos and in the CES show and the revised control board that we’ve been testing cannot be used for mass production for the following major reasons.
1. Some sensors are not successfully embedded on the board yet;
2. The board heats up after a short time of printing which makes us concern about its lifetime;
3. The design issues of the board cause the stepper motor to generate a lot of noise;
4. For sensors already embedded, the readings are not accurate enough.
Right now, our hardware engineer is redesigning the control board, starting from components selection. The following steps include the schematic design, layout, PCB processing, soldering, functional testing, and testing on the printer. The whole process takes about one month. In the meantime, we’ve also implemented Plan B, which is outsourcing the motherboard to an external team. We just finished explaining all the technical and functional requirements to them and settled the contract with them. In this way, we should have two solutions for the control board at around late May.
The problems with the control board are the biggest challenge at the moment as it jeopardizes our testing plan and mass production plan, thus it affects our delivery schedule. Besides the electronic engineering group, here are what our other groups have been doing.
Slicer. As many of you mentioned the safety, privacy, and copyright problems with the Cloud slicer, we’ve decided to develop a local slicer instead of a Cloud slicer to start. The Cloud slicer intends to make slicing easier by making it online. According to our plan, we should be able to share the beta version of the slicer with you in early June and you can test it beforehand for slicing. The Slicer group can start iteration with the help of all of you. We have also made the files for slicing with Cura, Slic3r, KISSlicer, Simplify3D. Our marketing team is proofreading and revising the instructions of the settings. The local slicer is a must as it is necessary for CNC and Laser functions.
LCD. Because of the change of the slicer, the LCD needs to be changed as well. We’ve removed the Explore section and the UI is being refined. There will be four major sections, Files, Control, Status, Settings. All the development for the LCD should be completed around early June and we will share the details with all of you by then.
Home Page of the LCD Display
The Control-Filament Section
- Package design. We’ve completed the appearance design of the package. Considering the transportation fee and safety, we have two plans, one-piece /fully assembled and half assembled. Many of you have been kind enough to share your feedback with us about your feelings and questions about assembling the printer yourself. We will take the transportation fee, transportation safety, the influence of the assembly on the functionality into consideration. In the end, it will be decided by the testing result.
Design of the Package
Right now, all of our team members are still working towards the goal of starting trial production in July. We can see this is a very ambitious goal and you deserve a more accurate schedule. We think after the new solution for the control board is tested, we can provide a more accurate timeline.
This is one of those dark times in our project and we were worried if all of you would still be okay when we break the bad news to you. But we’ve seen how strong and thoughtful you are from all of your comments. To our whole team, we believe that it is natural to meet challenges and difficulties in a big project like IVI and no challenge or difficulty will stop us from keep trying. So we want you to be assured that we will not give up until we make it. And we hope that you can give us some extra time to navigate through this difficult time. Thank you all and hope all of you and your family and friends stay strong and healthy.
IVI 3D Team