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lilM8: Silent kid friendly 3D printer

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tyguy2:
Hi all!

I've been working for the past few months as the engineer on this project, and I'm excited to share it here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3dg8/lilm8-easy-quiet-plug-and-play




We spoke to parents, schools, teachers, and kids to find out what we could do to make 3D printing as easy as possible, and what we found were a few main complaints:

1.) Noise:
Most printers were too loud to be run at home or at schools during class, so parents and teachers won't leave them running during the day or over night
2.) Ease of use:
The average person can not use a 3D printer right out of the box, and navigating the printer's firmware can be extremely confusing for absolute beginners
3.) Accessibility:
Learning how to slice files properly is daunting for anyone unfamiliar with 3D printing

We went about solving these problems, with the lilM8 being the end product. On the engineering side, I've put Trinamic's StealthChop drivers on the PCB, and honestly I'm really surprised how well these drivers work. I also re-wrote a large portion of the Marlin code base to make the printer really easy to use. Having my business friend from uni who's never 3D printed before be able to use the printer without instructions was really nice to see.

We also created https://3dm8.com/ for people post pre-sliced models for the printer, meaning users don't need to learn how to slice models to print things.

To help people learn about 3D printing, we're creating courses and material, along with videos on how to use 3D printers, with introductory terms and explanations so everyone can learn. Our first course is here: https://learn.3dg8.com/courses/lilm8-guide/

Something I want to purse if we get enough funding is developing 3D printable toys that people can print and assemble themselves. Just as an example:
https://v.kickstarter.com/1640057889_873959e3e6ba57374b32ffbf7df2b26577f4a2d4/assets/035/677/266/fa142bb26d1becc66fb9e90cd38d189d_h264_high.mp4
I designed a small PCB and 3D printed housing to make a flying hover toy for just a couple dollars. I feel kits like this would really make 3D printing more engaging and fun for people, and I hope we can pursue other interesting kit ideas.

Let me know what you all think, I'd love to hear from you!

sleemanj:

--- Quote ---I also re-wrote a large portion of the Marlin code base to make the printer really easy to use.

--- End quote ---

Where code?

bitwelder:
Clicking on the https://3dm8.com/my-account/ihc/ button on the top, Wordpress threw a 'There has been a critical error on this website'. Uh-oh!
I was curious to see what license terms are for the users of 3DM8 "community", e.g. who owns the objects uploaded to the website.

Bicurico:
For me, the biggest turn-off in getting a cheap 3D printer is the risk of starting a fire in my house.

Low-cost 3D printers use questionable PSU, the nozzle can clog and ignite, etc. Leaving such a device working without someone ovelooking it, is dangerous.

What if a fire starts while you are sleeping? Or when you are not at home?

So, any potential 3D printer has to convince me that there are sensors and what not that reliably assure that a fire won't happen.

tyguy2:

--- Quote from: bitwelder on December 20, 2021, 12:38:51 pm ---Clicking on the https://3dm8.com/my-account/ihc/ button on the top, Wordpress threw a 'There has been a critical error on this website'. Uh-oh!
I was curious to see what license terms are for the users of 3DM8 "community", e.g. who owns the objects uploaded to the website.


--- End quote ---
Thanks for pointing that out, we're still ironing out a few issues with the websites. I'll let our developer know so it can get fixed ;D


--- Quote from: Bicurico on December 20, 2021, 12:45:08 pm ---For me, the biggest turn-off in getting a cheap 3D printer is the risk of starting a fire in my house.

Low-cost 3D printers use questionable PSU, the nozzle can clog and ignite, etc. Leaving such a device working without someone ovelooking it, is dangerous.

What if a fire starts while you are sleeping? Or when you are not at home?

So, any potential 3D printer has to convince me that there are sensors and what not that reliably assure that a fire won't happen.


--- End quote ---
I appreciate this, because I had the exact same concerns. The firmware on the printer has multiple fail safes that detect everything from thermistor failure, temperature overshoot/undershoot, etc. We also ran a lot of real world tests on the printers, with our test units printing continuously for the better part of 8 months. We're also going to be QA testing each printer before we ship them out so each printer has had a human fully test and verify it's functionality.

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