While 3D printing is being hailed as ‘the next coming’ in manufacturing and design and much more, it’s also become somewhat infamous as a time-consuming practice, with more than a few snarky comments being made about how long it might take you to print, say, a plastic fork. The team at FastBot doesn’t want your 3D printer to be the butt of any more jokes — which is why they created the BBP controller board, just launched on Kickstarter with hopes to raise $10K by April 9.
The BBP is actually an enormous and complex problem-solving device in a small package. After one year in development, FastBot has put the finishing touches on their 3D printer controller board, powered by the AM335x, 1GHZ Cortex-A8 processor, and:
- Five or six stepper motor drivers
- Three heaters
- Six endstops
- Six fans
- One microSD card socket
- One Ethernet socket
- One USB socket for WiFi or camera connection
For just $79, featuring the ‘Geek Edition,’ you receive one BBP board (open to 50 backers). As pledges go up in amount, extra features like a colorful box, wifi dongles, and more are included. Upon reaching the $109 mark (open to 50 backers), you can receive a BBP 1S board and more. As you get up into the higher pledges, quantities of boards increase.
The FastBot team declares this to be the most advanced controller board available, boasting power and speed. With the BBP, you can upgrade your 3D printer and should be able to increase speed and make it easier and more efficient to use. Using a 32-bit ARM with programmable realtime, the FastBot team was able to create a board allowing you to upgrade and make your 3D printer four times faster. Note that it is also suitable for use with: laser cutters, CNC Mills, pick-and-place, and other small CNC machines.
The secret behind the BBP’s success is the firmware FastBot has developed to generate a ‘high frequency step control signal.’ That signal is the reason you are able to reach these higher speeds with your 3D printer. And just in case you need to control your 3D printer from anywhere around the world, you can monitor it and stop, start, or pause printing from any location. The WiFi connection allows you to connect to any web device — anywhere. They aim to set you free from cables! Not only that, but FastBot also created a mobile app, currently on Android, that allows you to manipulate your 3D design in the desired fashion and then, quite simply, click on ‘make.’
As an addition, an even more specialized and powerful version, the BBP 1S, is available to those looking for even further umph. With support of dual Z-axis printers and offering the ability for exponentially more printing, the BBP 1S offers:
- User defined stepper driver for dual Z-axis type 3D printer
- Two thermal couples interface for high temperature printing
- Two extended interfaces for steppers and heaters allowing more extruders for color printing
Beyond the $10K goal for this Kickstarter campaign, which will get the FastBot company rolling, they have a set of challenging and ambitious goals mapped out, including creation of an extended board, and eventually, an open hardware printer for RepRap.
Is this a controller board that appeals to you due to the need for faster 3D printing? Are you thinking about supporting this Kickstarter campaign? Tell us your thoughts in the FastBot BBP Controller Board forum thread over at 3DPB.com.
Based in Connecticut, FastBot is a group of young technology enthusiasts with experience in electronics and science. After working for other large companies, they banded together to create FastBot to make their dreams come true — and to help your 3D printers go faster.
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