The Ontario-based team at Tiko3D got frustrated with some of the 3D printers they encountered in the process of printing their inventions, so they decided to make their own. In the process, they won $25,000 in the November 2014 Ignite Startup Competition, unveiled their new Unibody 3D printer at Austin’s SXSW, and launched a Kickstarter campaign that ended on April 30, 2015 that netted them $2,950,874 from 16,538 backers (!) The printer had an early bird special of $99, and the standard rate for one was kept under $200. This delta-style printer has many features associated with it: especially price, which is linked to its innovative cost-cutting design. Now, with machines promised to be shipped in November of 2015, Tiko3D updates its backers and shows some of the testing its done to make a very tough 3D printer.
Before we look at testing, let’s review some of the specifications of the Tiko printer. Probably what makes it so unique is the printer’s unibody frame. It has its rails built into the chassis making one solid piece. And this is the secret behind the Tiko3D Unibody printer: the unibody design ensures high quality printing while also lowering expenses.
Other specifications include: it weighs 3.7 lbs.; its size is 15.4 x 8.7 x 9.3 inches; and it has a 2.27 liter print volume. And it’s very tough. How do we know this for sure? Tiko3D has updated its Kickstarter campaign ten times, and the latest update –Make It or Break It! — turns out to have some very entertaining attempts to break machine parts or the entire thing. Take, for example, this 6 foot drop below.
The team reports that nothing broke in that 6 foot drop! Other tests include a rigidity test where arm strength and flexibility is tested with a 5 lb. weight. The arms are made with a special strong and flexible polymer, but its the physics of parallel arm mechanisms that lead to these arms. Tiko3D explains:
“In a delta robot the arms only experience axial loads (as tension or compression) instead of bending moments – much like the trusses of a bridge or a crane. This makes Tiko’s delta mechanism super strong and rigid, yet lightweight and nimble. How awesome is that!? Delta for the win!!”
For the thermal tests, the liquifier was pushed to its max (reaching a “nozzle rocket that went from room temperature to 200°C in ~7 seconds”). This is exciting because it suggests the machine will be able to print with ultra-high performance plastics previously only used by bigger, more expensive, machines. Tiko3D claims this is no longer the case!
In fact, one concrete way you can help Tiko3D along in meeting their November shipping goal is to take this filament survey. They have promised to stay true to non-proprietary filaments, while also developing their own, and they need your help with feedback on filaments.
While the tests are still running for the shipping of this seeming wonder machine, you can see that the team is on top of its business. I really wish I would have backed them on Kickstarter, so I could be getting excited about my own Tiko3D Unibody 3D printer along with thousands of others.
Let us know your thoughts on these stress tests in the Tiko3D Forum thread on 3DPB.com