Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Sidekick Direct Pellet Printhead Offers Affordability in Materials, Hooks Up to Your CNC Machine

ST Medical Devices

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Bill Roberson

While many innovators come right out of the gate with incredibly useful new 3D printing products and machines, sometimes they don’t always have smashing success on Kickstarter, initially; in fact, often the first campaign is a valuable experiential run leading to much greater ease in reaching the funding goal next time. And while the early bird may often hope to get the worm, in terms of crowdfunding programs, if the entire amount is not met, it’s a no-go for everybody.

In keeping with the persistence of most innovators who truly believe the world needs their product, Bill Roberson went back to the drawing board and has not only returned to Kickstarter with his 3D Sidekick Direct Pellet Printhead, but he’s returned with a new and improved version for rapid prototyping and machining all rolled into one, with the ability to use recycled polymers and low-cost pellets as material.

dffb383354641661f04b4e267a1bac01_originalReporting on his first campaign, we already thought he was setting the bar pretty high for other products coming after him with the original Sidekick, so it’s certainly eye-opening to see that he has added more in terms of instructions for how to use the machine and expand your creative dreams, as well as a dynamic new video for marketing that may do the job simply in explaining to you why you need this extruder. The new Kickstarter campaign runs through August 27th in the hopes of raising $35,000.

As Roberson points out, “big imaginations need a big work surface.” If you have a creative side, you certainly know this to be true, but the fact still remains that what’s great about this extruder is you are free from the world of purchasing expensive 3D printing filament spools.

Calculating that you will save thousands, Roberson invites you to think about how much you can shave off the bottom line just in materials spending a minimal amount per pound for pellets, as opposed to filament reels of $20-30 apiece. Not only that, you can hook this extruder right up to your CNC machine, meaning it is transformed into a large-format 3D printer. There’s some more savings–and suddenly you have two machines in one, without need for a separate work surface.

The extruder system truly embodies what 3D printing is all about in offering you extreme efficiency, affordability, freedom from the mainstream way of making things, and the opportunity to customize and blend colors.fish

Roberson explains how easy it is to mount the extruder to your CNC machine, summing up the process quite succinctly.

“Take your CNC machine and add the 3D Sidekick Direct Pellet Printhead to the side mount of the spindle, connect the control cable to the 4th axis input, plug it in to 110v, and you have just set up the printhead for 3D printing,” says Roberson. “After that, it’s as simple as using the Slic3r program to generate your g-code, post it to your machine and you are ready to create.”

Benefits to the user here are monumental if you already own a CNC machine and especially any sort of storefront where you can now add 3D printing production to your list of services.

Over the past eight months, Roberson points out that this went from a “sketch on a paper towel” to a highly functioning product that has the ability to take those who already have CNC routers to a new level of innovation–and technology.

Funds from the Kickstarter campaign will be used to:fbe1d16ab72eccc11aa85462192f72c8_original

  • Establish supply chains
  • Manufacture tooling and production line
  • Manage production run of units
  • Work on continuing improvements of assemblies, controls and universal mounting system
  • Advertising
  • Deliver the first “Direct Pellet Printhead” to the backers and the world market

Beginning at $1899, you will be part of the ‘evaluation team,’ meaning for this amount you receive a device to evaluate and send back–upon which doing you will receive a brand new unit. Initially with this pledge, you also receive an evaluation unit 3D Sidekick Direct Pellet Printhead “Pro Team” T-shirt and two pounds of ABS pellets for testing. At $2500, you receive the Early Bird new printhead before anyone else, along with the tee and pellets. For those going in large with $8K, you receive the honor of not only four units, but also the title of OEM distributor with a sales territory to be determined on purchase.

Are you planning on supporting this Kickstarter campaign? Discuss in the 3D Sidekick Direct Pellet Printhead forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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