Buccaneer Project Update #38

The Buccy light show!

Hi everyone! (This is going to be a long one)

Brendan here with another update from your Pirate Crew! These few weeks (along with that oh so slow and painful task of procurement), we have been busy stabilizing the hardware build and also sending in units for certification.

This update will cover the things that we have been doing and also some knowledge points about certification and such (I hope you will find that useful and also gain knowledge together with us to appreciate the things that we choose to do).

Certification

The Buccaneer is being submitted under the category of For Home Use. Most (if not all) 3D printers on the market have certification for Trained Users. It is far more difficult to get certified for home use but this is critical for the survival of our company because we sell to many distributors world wide and we always want to position ourselves as a truly home use 3D printer.

To submit for certification, the units presented have to be almost exactly like the ones we are going to send for the manufacturing run. This has proven tough because of the improvements we have instituted thanks to the feedback of our beta backers and this is what we have been working on for the last week or so. Also with feedback from the certifying bodies, we have done rapid iterations on our Buccaneer to have the highest chances of success.

The units have been submitted today (7th May) for a pre-scan and then we will get feedback as to how close we are to passing the required tests. We are going to try and certify (as a start) for CE, UL, FCC and then followed by the rest of the countries.

We have been working closely with TUV (http://www.tuv-sud-psb.sg/) and representatives from UL and here is their feedback to us:

Passing a home use for a heated platform will be very tough because of the heat that is generated could pose “harm” to a user if they touch it for too long. There are other safety concerns but I will not go into deep detail here.

We have a new bed material which has so far proven to be a great replacement for a heated bed which will be in the normal retail units. (Kickstarter units will still have a heated bed although if you have kids, I would suggest taking one without but let’s talk about that next time.)

Our action: We have submitted for TWO types of Buccaneers, one with heated platform (for you guys) and one with our new bed material which is our alternative to a heated platform (which will provide us a safety buffer that at least we will have something to put out to retail if the other one proves tough to pass).

Tests on our new bed material
Tests on our new bed material
Octopi
Octopi
Close up
Close up
Unit prepared for certification (Beta backers will realize the differences)
Unit prepared for certification (Beta backers will realize the differences)
New bed material
New bed material
Heated platform (The wires run through the metal rods)
Heated platform (The wires run through the metal rods)
Almost fully assembled
Almost fully assembled
New spool tub
New spool tub
New Buccy Lights
New Buccy Lights
EMC (I think that's what is is called) cage for electronics so we can pass EMC test
EMC (I think that’s what is is called) cage for electronics so we can pass EMC test
Testing for heat emissions #1
Testing for heat emissions #1
Heat emission testing #2
Heat emission testing #2
Happy Engineer
Happy Engineer
Your crew at work #1
Your crew at work #1
Your crew at work #2
Your crew at work #2
4 Am and its finally done!! (Think this guy hasn't slept for days)
4 Am and its finally done!! (Think this guy hasn’t slept for days)

 Stability of build

Let’s talk about stability of build, which is how sure we are that a printer will work on a massive produced scale. Thanks to the hard work, sacrifice and many suggestions from our beta backers, we have made many improvements to the Buccy for the main manufacturing run.

We have a very stable build for a non heated bed + new bed material and we are sure it will survive a large run. (Because the beta backers did not receive a heated bed)

Situation: It is a poor operational decision to go to mass manufacture without a stable build.

Decision Point: Should we ..

A) #YOLO#SWAG our heated platform build right into mass manufacture

B) Build 20-30 units, send it to some of our backers, let it see a week or so of field work and then make a decision to go full scale

Our Stance: Right now we are leaning to option B because we do not want to give you all a crippled piece of hardware. Again I must stress that producing 50 printers is very different from 3000-5000 pieces where quality of parts and the deviation of such and stack tolerances start playing a very very big and critical role.

What I mean is this:

If I build 5 units myself and build them perfectly and they work well, it does not mean 5000 units built the same way will function just as well. Reason being, at large quantities, you start seeing part variances and in the processes you use to keep production cycle times low is vastly different from a small batch build.

Manufacturing is like a bell curve, the only way you can truly see stability of a build is over a decently sized pilot run where you are sure you can get at least a proper distribution for study (20-30 samples).

We will continue to ponder over this and keep you all updated on the progress. To end off, procurement has been in good progress thus far but there are a couple of big items that we are still waiting for delivery. (Would you guys be interested in going into the details? If yes then on the next update, I go through line item by line item with you all and the timelines of such deliveries).

Thank you all for your patience and support for this project! We want to make it right, admittedly this takes time and we are almost there!

P.S I am not sure if I showed you this before but the new Buccy lights will not be the retro party lights of the beta printers, we use laser ablated plastic to give the lights a more “alive” feel.