Sep 21, 2016 | By Alec

Remember Robo 3D? Way back in 2012, when the 3D printing movement was still a teenager, they found spectacular Kickstarter success with their very first 3D printer. In what doubtlessly became an inspiration for the many 3D printing startups that would come to rely on crowdfunding, they managed to raise a spectacular $650k for their Robo 3D printer. The San Diego manufacturer has now returned to its kickstarter roots for the Robo C2 and the Robo R2 smart 3D printers, which are faster, smarter and completely accessibly through an easy and comprehensive iOS app. And, of course, they look fantastic.

This is doubtlessly also the start of a new chapter for a remarkably successful desktop 3D printer developer. Like so many of us, they started years ago as a couple of guys tinkering with hardware in their garage. Their original Robo 3D printer, which was an excellent model for its time, eventually put them on a path to success and growth. 2015 was an especially successful year for Robo 3D, during which their revenue doubled and they even secured a $3.6m investment round with the help of several venture capitalists. Right now, they have a team of over thirty employees.

It could thus be expected that Robo was working on something new, and they already shared a glimpse of their upcoming hardware at CES at the beginning of the year. But the two new additions to their product line look even better than expected. Both have been developed during a back-to-basics, inside-out R&D process aimed at developing the next generation of desktop 3D printers, and especially their sleek exteriors are perfect examples of how a 3D printer should look like anno 2017. It also showcases Robo’s new brand, with a shorter name (previously called Robo 3D), a new logo and a very modern look.

But ultimately every 3D printer is judged on its interior, rather than its exterior. And there, Robo is betting it all on accessibility in the shape of Wi-Fi connectivity and a platform that is completely controllable through an iOS app and touchscreen. As its developers explain, they believe that the 3D printing revolution must grow beyond the specialized consumer market and provide a “more inclusive experience regardless of age or skill level — whether the making happens at home, in the workplace or in the classroom,” they say. “And with the new Robo C2 and Robo R2, that aim is realized right out of the box — giving anyone with an idea, a vision or a purpose the tool needed to help turn their passion into a physical reality, as quickly and as easily as possible right from a mobile device.”

Of course, that new level of accessibility largely relies on the Robo app. While some other developers already enable 3D modeling or 3D print monitoring through an app, Robo offers users the opportunity to seamlessly interact and control the Robo C2 and Robo R2 3D printers through their iPhones. “The app lets you connect and print right from your mobile device, monitor the progress of every print in real time, manage multiple prints and printers at once, connect to cloud libraries and access thousands of 3D models, make in-app purchases (filaments, accessories, print kits and more) and get access to 24/7 support and helpful tutorials,” they say.

Aside from that smoother user experience, the Robo C2 and Robo R2 have also been designed to offer a state-of-the-art desktop experience. That means increased 3D printing accuracy (20-300 micron resolution), shorter print times (print speeds of up to 16 mm3/s per second), near complete automation and a 12-month Autodesk Fusion 360 subscription. The smaller Robo C2 3D printer offers a compact 5 x 5 x 6 inch print volume, and features a 3.5 inch touch screen and automatic print bed leveling systems. Dual high-speed fans will ensure print accuracy, while a filament tracking system will alert users when they are running out of filament. Most importantly, it is compatible with just about every filament that doesn’t require a heated print bed. “Robo C2 is engineered to fit any space with its small footprint, while still delivering a product that can scale nearly any project with the utmost detail and efficiency,” its designers say.

The larger Robo R2 (successor to the Robo R1+PLUS) offers all of that and more, with a spacious 8 x 8 x 10 build area – including a heated printbed. Moreover, it also has enough room for an optional second printhead, and is compatible with more than 30 different 3D printing filaments. Combined with its on-board camera for remote print monitoring, this makes the Robo R2 a perfect option for more demanding 3D printing projects.

According to co-founder Braydon Moreno, both 3D printers will offer a highly satisfactory user experience. “Robo C2 and Robo R2 will continue empowering people to make the imagined real as they bring their ideas to life with our simple-to- use technologies and create anything from prototypes of new products, to household items, to customized and personalized pieces,” he says of his new flagship products. “We know the future of 3D printing is bright and that future’s now with these two new products — coupled with the ride that is the Robolution.”

So why are they returning to Kickstarter years after their original success? After all, both 3D printers are already nearly good to go, with the Robo C2 ready to launch in November and with the Robo R2 hot on its heels in January 2017. But as the Robo team reveals, they want to stay true to their roots and offer their loyal clients exclusive rewards and discount pricing on a limited run of new models. Depending on the selected packages, backers can get a discount of up to $300 on Kickstarter, with the Robo C2 starting at $499 and the Robo R2 at $999.



Posted in 3D Printer



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