Reviews from All3DP

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A desktop 3D printer that’s affordable, user-friendly, and capable of top quality prints? Read our review of the formidable CEL RoboxDual.

3D printing technology continues to advance with the latest generation of machines making huge leaps forward in design, reliability, and quality. CEL is one manufacturer leading the charge; their latest model, the RoboxDual (RBX02) is a dual extrusion 3D printer.

The CEL RoboxDual follows the company’s previous single extrusion Robox (RBX01), a small and compact 3D printer that arguably packed in more innovations and features than any other 3D printer on the market at the time.

And although it bucked many trends, it swiftly became one of the top ten printers on 3D Hubs, swatting aside bigger name brands like Ultimaker and Makerbot.

All of which means the CEL RoboxDual has a lot to live up to. With CEL’s first release being such a big hit, the industry is closely watching this new arrival — one of the first affordable dual extrusion 3D printers that’s widely available.

CEL RoboxDual Review: Pros

  • Superb print quality
  • Enclosed design
  • Fast to set-up
  • Innovative design and features
  • Easy print removal
  • Automated Filament loading
  • Fast Dual extrusion
  • Can be connected to further printers
  • Future proof with modular upgrades

CEL RoboxDual Review: Cons

  • Small print platform
  • No on-printer display
  • Networking requires add-on
  • Slightly louder than some other printers

CEL RoboxDual Review: Verdict

Mainstream dual extrusion printers are only just coming to the forefront. Until recently, the setup and configuration of these complex machines could be a real pain.

The CEL RoboxDual, BCN3D Sigma and Ultimaker 3 have all recently come to market, and each strives to prove that dual extrusion doesn’t have to be difficult.

But whereas the BCN3D Sigma and Ultimaker 3 have their roots firmly in the maker community, the CEL RoboxDual aims to bring quality dual printing to the mainstream.

The machine’s size, price and quality make this an ideal option for smaller spaces, and the innovative modular design means that the printer has plenty of scope for future upgrades.

In use everything about the printer is aimed at simplicity with auto-loading filament, auto-leveling bed, and easy to use AutoMaker software. The SmartReels enable you to keep tabs of the filament use and cost as well as print progress.

Quality-wise, single extrusion prints are as good as you can get from a fused filament fabrication (FFF) printer, and ABS print quality is almost identical to that of the Ultimaker 3. Dual extrusion prints are equally impressive, mixing materials and colors well.

If you’re looking for a quality desktop 3D printer for the home, office or classroom, then there’s little not to love about the formidable CEL RoboxDual.

c3l roboxdual 3D printer review

CEL RoboxDual Review: The Loooong Read

Before we start let’s take a quick rundown of the features. It’s of course of the dual extrusion type — whether it’s two color or two material the choice is yours — and these two extruders act independently so the temperatures can be adjusted as needed.

Print platforms are always a good place to start and the CEL RoboxDual is 210 x 150 x 100mm. This is pretty small, but for the vast majority of prints at home, this is more than adequate. That print platform size also means that the printer itself has a relatively small footprint of just  370 x 340 x 240 mm.

Filament wise it takes 1.75mm and it’s fully compatible with any standard PLA and ABS, together with a huge list of specialist materials. The hot-ends can reach a volcanic 280ºC, and each extruder uses a unique needle valve to adjust the filament flow for better accuracy.

Cel-UK RoboxDualThe filament is supplied on SmartReels which contain all the filament data, cost, length, etc. Manufacturers supporting SmartReel technology are ColorFabb and PolyMaker. The connection with these brands is instantly reassuring, showing some high-end interest for this machine.

Filament from any manufacturer can be fed into RoboxDual, either directly from the source reel or wound onto a SmartReel with a custom profile written to the EEPROM memory on the reel. This gets around the initial worry that you’ll be locked to high priced filaments and any limitations of range.

Cel-UK RoboxDualAs required by most modern materials, there’s a heated print platform with a max temperature of 150ºC. This ThermoSurface doesn’t require glue or adhesive. The surface is also quickly removable and flexible so prints can be easily popped off if needed.

The RoboxDual is a closed environment when printing, with a top down door locking warmth inside and fingers out. The RoboxDual bed heats from 20°C to 60°C in 1 minute 15 seconds, and to the ABS bed temperature of 125°C in ~4 mins (in comparison to UM3 which quotes <4mins from 20°C to 60°C) .

Cel-robox tempThe dual extruder head is part of the ‘HeadLocks’ ecosystem, an innovative design that enables the head to be removed and replaced for one of several different head options. These additional heads include different nozzle sizes for greater accuracy or speed, along with other possible future cross-grades.

Filament is pushed to the head along bowden tubes using two SmartExtruders. These make the process of loading and unloading easy (bar the filament tangle) and uses dual pinch wheels to minimize any slip.

The list of features and innovations are impressive and, as you flick through the supporting literature, it’s plain to see that most of these innovations are trademarked and unique to the Robox printers.

Unlike many competitors such as Lulzbot and Ultimaker, CEL have from the outset aimed to create a printer that could be used by anyone safely and without the need to tinker. The Lulzbots and Ultimakers are fantastic class-leading machines, but the RoboxDual offers something a little more refined.

Another big departure from the foundation of modern 3D printing is that CEL is a completely commercial enterprise. The printer itself isn’t part of the open hardware community, although the company is actively involved in open source with their other products.

For this reason, the CEL RoboxDual is a very different machine from others in its class, as it utilizes custom electronics, extruders, and hot-ends. These components aren’t designed to be tinkered with, which makes that CEL RoboxDual one of the few 3D printers out there that really should find wide appeal in workplaces and schools rather than just the maker community.

The CEL RoboxDual has also been designed to be future-proof with a variety of modular components such as the HeadLock system. Indeed, the single extrusion Robox can be easily upgraded to the RoboxDual (RBX02) by simply fitting the upgrade kit (RBX01-DMKIT):

This kit includes the new head, second reel holder, and a few other additions to bring the older Robox bang up to date.

Ultimaker, Lulzbot and Makerbot might be better-known brands, and there’s no doubting their abilities and quality when it comes to printing. But the RoboxDual and Robox have both been designed as a usable mainstream 3D printer, much in the same way as any 2D printer of old.

CEL RoboxDual Review: Same Look but Different

You might be fooled into thinking that the new RoboxDual is just the Robox with a different head. Which to a certain degree it is.

The housing for the new RoboxDual is identical to the single extrusion machine, there is no real difference in the shape, form or color. The differences come in the head unit inside. This means that if you do have one of the older machines or want to start off with the single extruder, then it is possible to upgrade at a later date.

The upgrade will set you back around £290, and the head takes a couple of minutes to change once the filaments have been extracted.

From the outset, everything about the CEL RoboxDual shows that this is the work of engineers rather than hobbyists, with a set of design and development features that are not slapdash but carefully considered.

The size and shape of the printer, for example, is roughly that of a traditional 2D A4 printer. That means that it’s the ideal size to have sat on your desk. The other design feature that really sets it apart from the majority of other printers is that almost everything is contained, there’s no feeder tubes — just the two reels sticking out of the side.

Connection-wise, there’s just the power and USB cable. There’s also a covered slot for a MicroSD card on the back, but this is used for internal flash storage and diagnostic use, so should be left well alone. This flash storage is used to store the model file once downloaded from the AutoMaker software.

The CEL RoboxDual connects to your computer through USB. At first, this makes you think that it’s a tethered system, but far from it. The wired connection enables you to fully interface with the machine, and those intelligent SmartReels have a great deal to say along with the printer itself. Once you’ve connected and sent the model to print, the USB can then be disconnected leaving the printer to get on with it.

This way of working has quickly caught on, and although the RoboxDual is the first printer we have seen that uses this workflow, the Ultimaker 3 uses a very similar system. But of course, the Ultimaker 3 has the Wifi connectivity as well.

(Editor’s Note: ALL3DP is currently testing the UM3 for a review, full details on print speeds and quality will be available soon.)

Cel-UK RoboxDual

CEL RoboxDual Review: Innovations

For future innovations, CEL already have the wheels in motion with a successful KickStarter campaign. The campaign has already met its target, which is unsurprising as the demo we saw of the new product at TCT in 2016 was impressive.

The product is a network print system, stand and app called the Root, Tree and Mote. The network part being based on the Raspberry Pi. This means that if you really want must indulge in some tinkering then you’ll soon be able to get the plans and build the network tree yourself.

This innovation is an interesting development and will enable the connection of multiple printers through a network system. This will enable the control of multiple prints from one base station. The root and tree network system makes sense in a commercial or education environment where you can split the prints across multiple printers.

At home, this system will enable you to use the printer without first having to connect through USB, and all files can be sent to the printer from the app. If you want to go retro you can always print from an SD card.

This way you can network and print larger projects across multiple printers, enabling you to minimize any downtime if something does go wrong. Why block up one large printer when you can print on multiple? The downside is of course the cost; more printers means a greater outlay, but then the Ultimaker 3 is more than double the price.

CEL RoboxDual Review: Unboxing and Setup

Out of the box, the the CEL RoboxDual takes around five minutes to set-up, download software and get running. A small plastic clamp that has been printed by your printer during the final stages of manufacture holds the print head in place, and this needs to be removed prior to priming.

Although simple, this clamp shows the quality of print that is possible with the RoboxDual. This quality is no surprise when you take a look through the specifications and see that the CEL RoboxDual has an Ultimaker 2 matching layer resolution of 20 microns.

Once the clamp is removed and the printer is attached to your computer via AutoMaker (CEL’s custom 3D print software) the printer is ready to load with filament.

This process is where the first of the real engineering features come to light. Unlike other 3D printers that require a little fiddling to load filament into extruders, the CEL RoboxDual incorporates two feed slots on the side. Simply stick the end of the filament into one of the slots and the machine automatically grabs it and feeds it through the system.

Cel-UK RoboxDualThe filament loading process is one of the easiest of any 3D printer we’ve used, and swapping the materials out for replacements is equally straightforward using the AutoMaker software.

Each of the two spools is then loaded onto the side, with a small spindle extender needing to be clicked into place to seat the second reel. These reels feature a hub with SmartReel technology. This is a small circuit that details the filament type and weight and is basically along the same lines as a UFID (Universal Filament Identification) system.

As you use the filament, this data is constantly updated so the machine and software know exactly how much filament you have and whether there’s enough to complete a print.

Other companies such as XYZ Printing offer a similar proprietary filament system, which might put some people off. However, the filament is no more expensive than standard quality filament reels.

The filament is also provided by some of the best-known filament providers in the world, including ColorFabb and PolyMaker, and there’s a good selection available. If you want to use your own filament then you can, either by feeding it in and telling the software which filament profile to use or by loading it onto an empty SmartReel and updating the circuit info through the AutoMaker software. The system is open and easy to experiment with.

CEL RoboxDual Review: Slicer Software Automaker

CEL includes their own software in the package, Automaker, with Cura used as the foundation of the slicing engine. But don’t expect to find any similarity between the look and style of the two programs.

When setting up the software, you need to run through the settings prior to plugging in the USB cable. The installation and setup process for the software only takes a couple of minutes. With AutoMaker set you can then plug in the printer and start installing the filament.

Looking at the left of the interface, the printer and filament details are listed. This is where the SmartReels really come into play. Information about the reel size, material and color is all passed to the software along with pricing info, so you can keep up with the cost and quantity of the materials.

This is especially handy if you’re about to start a large print, as you’ll get direct feedback about whether or not there’s enough filament to finish the job. An issue we seem to frequently have!

The rest of the interface is tuned in a similar fashion with plenty of information about the status of the machine and materials.

There’s also a good range of maintenance features that enable you to purge materials as they’re swapped, to ensure that there’s no contamination during the initial print. The purge process is quite lengthy at around five minutes but well worth it (and you can skip if you really want).

CEL RoboxDual Review: Automaker’s Three Basic Zones

Automaker has three basic zones; Status, Settings and Layout.

Status gives you a good overall impression of the 3D printer, showing the materials, hot end and heated bed temperatures along with any jobs that are currently running. At the bottom of the interface are a series of additional options that enable you to calibrate the 3D printer, return the head to home, eject filament and remove head etc.

Auto base leveling is a feature but as with many other aspects of the RoboxDual, it’s completely different to anything else we’ve seen. Prior to a print, the head shoots across the base and presses down into the print platform at several points, the effect of doing this tilts back the head slightly registering the print platforms level at different points. This data is then used for the calibration.

This system seemed to work well, although the slightly mechanical nature of the setup may in time see wear and tear, but the company prides itself on customer service. Feedback around the site and on forums seems to back this up.

The eject filament option nicely rounds off the ease of filament loading; simply click and a list of the two filaments appear, enabling you to either remove one or both.

Another feature to highlight is the “Remove Head” option, this simply retracts the filament so that the RoboxDual head can be removed and replaced with another unit. Soon there will be two other head options, including larger and smaller nozzle sizes, with more in the pipeline from CEL.

Moving on to the Layout screen shows the usual virtual display of the print area. At the bottom of the screen there’s the option to Add Model; if you’re loading a dual material model then the two STL files can be selected and loaded into AutoMaker, which will then automatically align the two sections.

Cel-UK RoboxDual

CEL RoboxDual Review: Settings

The final section shows the settings; the majority of this is handled by the printer with the SmartReels supplying the filament data so you don’t need to worry.

By default there are three print settings which can be quickly selected; these aren’t named, just highlighted with a self-explanatory icon. Under these base options is the Custom quality settings that enable you to get creative.

The next set of settings is the raft and support structure, and this section really starts to show how although it looks seemingly simple, AutoMaker is really an incredibly sophisticated piece of software, enabling easy control over complex aspects of your print.

If you’re printing a support structure with a material such as the PolyMaker PolySupport, then the support section enables you to allocate the material to the correct STL.

We were impressed by both the ease of use of the AutoMaker software and the actual filament with the support it gave and how easy it was to remove from the final model.

CEL RoboxDual Review: CEL RoboxDual in Use

The CEL RoboxDual is packed with innovative features that make the setup and use of this 3D printer feel more like a mainstream commercial product than any other 3D printer we’ve used. Only the XYZ Printing machines come close to a home and classroom friendly design.

Initial setup went without a hitch, and when loading filaments it’s a good idea to place the reel flat on the work surface prior to feeding the end into one of the two feeder tubes. The 1.75mm filament can get a little tricky to handle without tangling, especially on a full reel.

Once the filament is fed into the system, then the reel can be clicked onto the spool. After several weeks of prints and material swaps we did have a couple of occasions where the filament refused to load.

In these cases, despite the filament end being seeming clean, a sharp cut through the filament with a pair of scissors and then reloaded seemed to do the job, along with a little jiggling of the filament back and forth until the machine gripped.

The size of the printer was definitely welcome, and the RoboxDual sat comfortably without dominating the workspace. The completely enclosed design along with the safety catch is also great, as it stops inquisitive fingers and paws from getting too close.

The security lock on the door is also an important feature that will widely appeal to the education sector. A quick release version of this would be a good idea, but the old credit card trick seemed to work. Alternatively, you can switch the safety features such as the lock off in the settings.

Cel-UK RoboxDualAutoMaker is exceptionally well thought out and tries to make things as easy as possible for the novice printer. If you do want a little more, then switching on the advanced settings enables you to check out a G-Code Console as well as open a series of Diagnostic options.

Selecting size, quality and the materials you want to use for the print (either for a mono or dual material print) is also straightforward.

When it comes to the print times for single material prints, the times are directly comparable with the Ultimaker 2 and Lulzbot Mini.

The process of printing a two material rather than single material print is far more straightforward than expected. Although modeling the prints is quite a bit more tricky.

Simply select the STL files that make up your model and then click to assign the print material in AutoMaker. The rest is handled by the printer. There is no complexity to the actual print process; single or dual material prints are equally easy, the only real difference is the time involved for the actual print.

Dual prints do take longer, but side-by-side printing the same model on the Ultimaker 3 you can expect the RoboxDual to be complete in considerably less time.

Noise is always an issue with any 3D printer and whilst the RoboxDual isn’t hugely noisy, it’s also not the quietest we’ve used. The majority of the noise is generated by the steppers and fans, but really there’s no way around this.

In a busy design technology classroom, the noise from the CEL RoboxDual at full print speed is unnoticeable, and even when printing in the office the noise is perfectly bearable.

Print extraction from the platform is the fight that folks least enjoy about 3D printing, whether that’s trying to extract a model from the perforated base of the Zortrax M200, lever a print from the glass base of the Ultimaker 2, or dunk a resin-coated masterpiece from a Form 2. With the RoboxDual (RBX02), however, is a print platform that we can learn to get along with.

A small lever releases the front and then a quick pull and the print surface can be removed. Then just flex and the print pops off. It’s sensible, easy and avoids any injured fingers or impaling.

Cel-UK RoboxDual

CEL RoboxDual Review: Print Quality

However innovative and slick the design of a 3D printer, when it comes down to it all we really want to know is this; how good are the prints?

The quick answer is excellent. But obviously because this is a dual filament 3D printer, we have both the single and dual material experience to evaluate.

The single print experience is as good as it gets, the AutoMaker software makes selecting print quality and material easy, and the fact that you have two materials preloaded means that much of the usual faff of swapping reels isn’t required.

Print quality at all three presets is good, and we used the standard 3D Benchy model to check out how the printer performed.

Quality varied between PLA and ABS, with ABS producing far better results. When printing PLA, the door needed to remain open to help the PLA set quickly.

On the first run printing PLA with the door closed, we found that the low and high-quality prints both suffered from some bubbling of filament.

However, once the door was open for PLA printing and closed for ABS, the print quality was superb and directly comparable with the Ultimaker 2.

Overall the print quality using the default profiles was excellent. The accuracy was spot on and for the most part produced good clean prints with few of the common printing issues.

There was a slight issue with the cleanness of the print around the anchor eyelets, and some very fine stringing on the high-quality print, but these were the only details slightly out of place. On the finest print quality there was sign of some slight fine stringing but ultimately a very good print.

Cel-UK RoboxDual

CEL RoboxDual Review: Summing Up

The CEL RoboxDual may divide opinion, especially among those who are ardent supporters of the open hardware and software communities. The RoboxDual is a closed system; it uses proprietary filament reels, specially designed extruders, and heads that are swappable but only for CEL’s own.

The software is also of CEL’s own design, although Cura is used as the slicing engine. When it comes to customizing settings it is possible, but those options are limited in comparison to normal Cura or Simplify3D.

There’s also the issue of the print bed size at just 210 x 150 x 100mm, which makes it one of the smaller 3D printers on the market.

But then if you just looked at the specifications and moved one, you’d be completely overlooking one of the most innovative printers on the market.

It’s been designed by engineers as a tool, something to be used on a daily basis without issue. In those terms we would say that this is the first 3D printer that truly mimics the ideology of a standard paper printer. It sits there in the corner of the room and prints without any fiddling or calibration, it just gets on with it.

When it comes to reliability there really was no issues with the printing. A purge feature within the software means that there’s no cross-contamination of the filaments as they’re changed.

And the HeadLock system that enables you to swap out the standard dual head for the QuickFill (and further releases as they become available) is where this 3D printer really starts to get interesting. Although it isn’t Open Hardware, there’s plenty of options to cross grade, swap and change components as you need.

The SmartReels are really smart, and unlike other systems that are locked to the filament that is shipped on the reel, CEL have devised a system that enables you to update the reel data, so if you want to load your own filament then you can.

When it comes to quality, the three standard quality settings all produce decent 3D prints. The extruders use a different system to the standard retraction material method, instead using needles that cut off the material dead. This enables faster swapping between materials, but with our 3D prints some very fine hair width lengths of filament could be seen dotted around the surface of the print. However, this hair is easy to brush off.

The low-quality mono prints were produced relatively quickly at 1h 30, medium quality at 2h 17 and high quality at 5h 18. Compare with the Ultimaker and the same model: Fast Print 1h 9, Normal 2h 38, high 4h 22 and Ulti 6h 33. Comparing the quality of the mono prints between the two printers and there’s very little in it at the high end.

When printing Dual materials, the print times are almost double, but so far early comparisons against the UM3 show that the RoboxDual’s dual extrusion system is far quicker.

The CEL RoboxDual is a solid performer; it might be compact but it turns out decent prints and has the reliability and quality to be more than enough of a machine for the hardcore 3D enthusiast.

Feedback about prints, time, cost and filament used in AutoMaker is all useful information that helps you to better understand the costings of your 3D printing habit.

As innovations go, the CEL RoboxDual 3D printer is packed with features that constantly reveal themselves the more you delve into settings and options. Features such as the GoPro time-lapse connection and future product launches such as the Root, Tree and Mote make it a very exciting product.

Dual extrusion 3D printers are becoming more prevalent, and the market in this sector is rapidly expanding. At this point in time,  the RoboxDual offers a printer that is cost-effective, reliable and offers great quality beyond any other dual extrusion printer on the market at this price.

Factor in the pricing, innovation and future modular expandability, and it’s difficult not to recommend the CEL RoboxDual.

CEL RoboxDual



The review is extracted from https://all3dp.com/cel-roboxdual-3d-printer-review/. CEL does not own any copyright.


MakerBay Halloween Special 2016

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On 30th Oct, last Halloween, MakerBay held its first ever workshop “Spooky-eyed Skulls” on their new site, Central (PMQ) in Hong Kong. In the workshop, participants, aged from 5 to 11, were required to drill holes through a 3D-printed skull, run wires through these channels and solder header connectors and cycling LEDs on the wires. These Spooky-eyed Skulls does not only offer extra accessories for kids to Halloween Parties, but also give them a shot to experiment with the 3D Printer. Some said they have never seen a 3D Printer’s in action. Not just the kids, even the adults had fun with it. William, MakerBay’s member said, “It was a good experience for me and I hope this for them too. This is a series of induction workshops on 3D Printing coming up and the enthusiastic response of this time has left us in much confidence,”

Additionally, in November, there’s a fund-raising campaign for Principal Chan’s Tutorial Free World. Do not miss the chance! For more detail, please visit here:  http://www.makerbay.org/collections/makerbay-classes/products/makerbay-central-makerbay-for-principal-chan-free-tutorial-world-charity-course-3d-printing-1-2-3-families

* Photos and info provided by MakerBay and STEAMaker Ltd.

Dr. Cory Glenn’s Implant Pearls and Products

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Dr. Cory Glenn’s Implant Pearls and Products

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Based on Cory Glenn’s Dental Town Post ‘Cory Glenn’s Implant Pearls and Products‘.

If you have a Dental Town login you can see the discussion here: Dental Town Message Board

  • CBCT planning and guided surgery will save you money by decreasing the time needed for surgery, making your surgeries more precise, decreasing the need for lots of inventory, and making your restorative costs more predictable.
  • CBCT planning and guided surgery will make you more money through increased case acceptance, more referrals, giving you confidence to tackle more cases, and by helping determine which cases will be complicated and/or less profitable

Dr Glenn writes:

Which Implants To Use

Everyone’s titanium integrates……. some just integrate much cheaper!

  • Use a value branded implants with a good track record like Blue Sky Bio (my favorite)
  • Use a conical connection with a platform switch
  • Use implants with aggressive threading

Reduce Your Risks:  Failures are the Kiss of Death

  • Flap everything you can and bury the implants with primary closure in a 2 stage approach.
  • Flap rather than punch at uncover to gain keratinized gingival by rolling it to the buccal
  • Avoid immediate placement until you’re very experienced.  I suggest grafting all sites with                 Maxxues 50:50 Mineralized/Demineralized FDBA ($51 for 0.5cc) mixed with Fusion Bone Binder (Woodland Hills Pharmacy) and covered with a collaplug in single rooted teeth or a Cytoplast TXT-200 Nonresorbable membranes ($40) in molar sockets
  • Stick with shorter implants (8 and 10mm lengths).  There’s almost no value in a longer implant unless primary stability is of the utmost importance (ie immediate and single staged implants which you’re not going to do…… right!?
  • Stay 2-3 mm from anything with a name (inferior alveolar canal, mental foramen, etc)

Tips to do More Implants

  • Learn to do conservative crestal sinus lifts. 30% of all potential implant sites you encounter will need a sinus bump or a sinus lift.
  • Buy a CBCT.  Having to refer out for scans creates a much bigger barrier than you realize.  Most dentists find that the number of implants they do doubles once they get CBCT in office.
  • Plan cases in front of the patient.  The purpose is twofold:  you will be able to confidently tell them whether you can do the case and what it will cost right then and there.  It also creates a significant “wow factor” when your patients see you using this level of technology and planning.
  • Lower your prices.  Price is your gas pedal.  If you want to do more, step on the gas and lower fees.  A routine single tooth placed guided takes me an average of 2 hours total time and 3 appointments from start to finish.  Even by charging a bundle fee of $2500, you’ll still generate over $1,000 an hour.
  • Offer in house financing:  Implants are perfect for financing since they won’t get the final product for several months after starting the process.  Not staying current with payments? No implant crown for you!
  • New to Blue Sky Bio?  Listen to this webinar to learn more about the company, the owners, and their products. http://www.blueskybio.academy/public/New-to-BlueSkyBio.cfm

Recommended Product List for Guided Surgery

Read Full Post on Dental Town Including:

3d Printers… 
3d Printing Labs…
What you will need to get started…
Much More

TechSoft: “an amazing machine for such a low cost”

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TechSoft: “an amazing machine for such a low cost”

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We’re very pleased to see leading education specialist TechSoft promote Robox as its No.1 choice of 3D printer for schools in their 2016-2017 Product Guide.

TechSoft was founded in the mid-1980s and soon established itself as a market-leading supplier of CAD and CAD/CAM systems. The TechSoft team have gained great insights into the technology needs and requirements of education in the years since and began supplying 3D printers to schools in 2004.

All of TechSoft’s sales and support staff are either ex-Design and Technology teachers, graduates in Design and related fields or qualified engineers. This means that they not only have a wealth of practical understanding but also understand the subject-specific issues teachers face on a daily basis.

TechSoft’s experience of low-cost 3D printers over the years allows the team to conclude that Robox “stands out from the crowd for accuracy, reliability, cost-effectiveness, ease of use and safety”. We couldn’t agree more. Thank you, TechSoft!


Why Robox is making such an impact in education

By | Blog, blog2, Education, Education & CEL, Youth Program | No Comments

When I first used a 3D printer in 2005, Stratasys and 3D Systems were the only players in town and the costs of their systems were truly eye-watering. The Stratasys Dimension BST we used then cost over £19,000 and reels of filament over £200 each.

In the decade since, key 3D printing patents held by those once pioneering manufacturers have expired and the open source RepRap project has triggered a wave of desktop 3D printer innovations. The cost of 3D printing technologies has now plummeted (Robox costs less than £1,000 with reels of filament under £30 each) at the same time as we’ve seen significant advances in speed and capabilities – thanks also in part to the recent proliferation of very high quality, but totally free, 3D modelling tools. The technology has become much simpler, more affordable and therefore more accessible to everyone.

3D printers are fast becoming staples of secondary school D&T departments. Our work with the James Dyson Foundation is seeing us develop some truly exciting and innovative STEM programmes aimed at encouraging students and teachers to use 3D printers and inspiring them to think creatively about design and technology. While our work has initially focused on programmes in secondary schools, our efforts to help stimulate young people are now leading us to help develop new programmes with partner schools at even earlier stages in the education curriculum.

One exciting programme is being pioneered by Josh Rigby, D&T Leader at Blackfield Primary School, part of the Inspire Learning Federation. His Year 6 ‘Lift Off’ project is now in its second year and engages pupils to develop and build remote controlled hovercraft. They use Robox and free 3D modelling tools from Autodesk such as Tinkercad and 123D Design to customise their hovercrafts for identified target audiences.

Pupils at Blackfield Primary School use Tinkercad to create custom parts for their hovercrafts.

Another project he leads, titled ‘Dyson Design,’ engages Year 4 pupils in the design of modern desktop equipment for the classroom of the future. The project helps 8-year-old pupils get to grips with technical drawings and requires them toconsider a range of materials for their designs, which are then developed in Tinkercad.

We’re also helping to introduce 3D printing to a pioneering, ambitious education project targeting primary age children in Scotland. Martyn Hendry, STEM Co-ordinator in East Ayrshire Council, has just completed a Robox pilot programme in a number of primary schools in his authority to see how 3D printers can be introduced into the curriculum. Working with projects he’s developed to inspire creative thinking, and supported by entrepreneurs and people from industry, teachers have reported a very enthusiastic response from pupils. One school has even broadened the project to the Primary 2 year group of 6-year-olds.

Malachy Ryan, from engineering consultancy Alan White Design, demonstrates design innovations to pupils at St Andrews Primary School as part of the DYW programme.
Martyn is helping to ensure Robox plays its part in the Scottish government’s youth employment strategy, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) – a seven-year programme that aims to better prepare children and young people from 3-18 for the world of work. The success of the Robox pilot programme and Scottish government programmes such as DYW herald the beginning of a much more ambitious rollout of 3D printers to schools and organisations in the region.

Dumfries House Education, a cluster of six bespoke training centres situated in the stunning 18th century Ayrshire Dumfries House estate, is one such organisation using Robox to help deliver experiential, hands-on activities for young people. The centres offer a selection of education and training programmes designed to support learners in Primary and Secondary education with the Engineering Education Centre’s aim being to excite young people about science and technology. Dumfries House Education grew from HRH the Prince of Wales’ desire to see young people engage in learning experiences thatpromote confidence, personal development and offer training in real life skills. Their inspirational workshops are available to schools, youth groups and local authorities in the region and Martyn is actively involved helping to integrate 3D printing into their programmes.

Robox is providing schools with a more cost-effective, straightforward option to bring 3D printing to classrooms and workshops around the UK. As a British 3D printer manufacturer making the world’s only desktop 3D printer with an interlocking safety door, we are uniquely placed to work with the James Dyson Foundation and schools across the country to help improve learning outcomes and empower teachers and schoolchildren to invent, to think creatively about design and technology and not be afraid to make mistakes. Martyn Hendry reports how 3D printers and computer-aided design (CAD) software have helped children as young as 9 understand mathematical concepts such as negative numbers: “There was just no justification for using CAD without a 3D printer. 3D printers embed the technical drawing while the teaching and learning is embedded in the use of CAD.”

For more information about what we’re doing, read a previous article here or contact me directly using the links below.

Profile photo of Grant Mackenzie

About Grant Mackenzie

Grant is Robox Sales Manager for the EMEA region. He’s based in CEL’s UK head office. Contact Grant

SLA vs FFF / FDM workflow and space requirements

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SLA vs FFF / FDM workflow and space requirements

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SLA (Stereolithography ) is often compared to the FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) / FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) process of 3D printing and always shows very impressive results. The detail level is far superior for SLA but there are a lot of complications to the process. Due to the huge numbers of dentists, dental labs and orthodontists contacting us recently I thought I would share some of what I have learned.

The most common comparison is the strength of the parts created from resin vs those created with fused filament which always comes out on top. Next are the many resin handling issues which make filament printers much easier and safer to use.

It is easy to discount FFF/FDM completely by just looking at pictures of the excellent smoothness of an SLA print vs an FDM print. The SLA process can create a smoother and more detailed surface finish and and can create a fully solid, partially transparent part which is difficult to achieve on FFF /FDM machines without post processing.This makes it harder for those of us demonstrating fused filament fabrication printers to keep a viewers attention.

To someone viewing the printed results of 2 models side by side it would be hard to choose the FFF / FDM print if visual quality or surface detail was the goal. In a comparison of useability which requires strength, the FFF /FDM print is far more likely to come out on top particularly due to the huge selection of material types available. The SLA materials tend to be closely linked to specific printers, it is unlikely a 3rd party resin will be allowed or compatible. This limits the SLA user to the resins developed by that manufacturer. In a comparison of workflow the SLA process is quite scary, warning labels and notes on resin handling and cleanup dominate but the consumption of core components of the SLA printer along with litres at a time of IPA (Isopropyl alcohol) and the expensive resin is certainly worth exploring before any decision is made to exclude filament printing. The accuracy of the two methods should theoretically be the same but I have yet to see an SLA print which has been perfectly dimensionally accurate while my Robox is within 0.01mm in all axes without my input all day every day. Cost comparisons are far further apart than the price of the printers would suggest. SLA resin cost is high, plastic filament cost is low. This expensive resin is wasted with every print, plastic filament is only extruded as required. This cost in particular is not shown in “part cost comparisons”, nor is the very wasteful rinsing in IPA to remove excess resin following a print or the cost of the consumable resin carrying and curing parts, or the disposal and storage as well as low shelf life for expensive SLA resins. Oh and the space required for SLA printing is rarely mentioned, you really need a spare room and some strict policies to control the spread of sticky resin the smell and the harm to the environment.

Click the image to make it bigger.

In the chart below I’ve listed some positives and negatives of each method along with typical usage and costs.Blue indicates the best in my opinion for each row. I obviously support filament printers in this, perhaps your comments can sway my opinion?

Limited detail, high accuracy, layer lines visible High detail and accuracy, layer lines hard to see in some cases
Parts and excess material can be disposed of in regular waste Resin waste and printed parts require special disposal. H413: May cause long-lasting harmful effects to aquatic life
No material wasted except with support creation, no mess Wasted resin is washed away in IPA and disposed of regularly in build tank, sticky residue from resin spreads around work area and is hard to clean. Disposal of cleaning products restricted
No use by date on filament with low cost 12 month shelf life and high cost
Material is inert and harmless before and after printing Requires special handling equipment
Can be used in any work area Requires special work area
Materials are widely available and cross compatible Only specified resins can be used with most SLA printers
Minimal requirements for storage of material Requires special storage conditions for resins and required cleaning chemicals in large quantities
No additional equipment Cleaning baths, UV Light booth, safety, storage and disposal equipment
Minimal space required to function Considerable space requirement to keep several large pieces of equipment away from other equipment and work areas
Range of materials in many colours and with a huge range of mechanical properties Very limited range of materials, locked to manufacturer
Opaque parts unless post processed Optical clarity in some materials
Material dependant useable indefinitely Low shelf life of parts due to UV exposure
Low cost of consumable parts High cost of consumable parts
Material cost is low $25 per kg Material cost is high $99 per kg + processing and waste!
Medium flexural strength  (material relevant to medical use) Low flexural strength (material relevant to medical use)
Low upfront equipment cost High upfront equipment cost, printer and additional equipment
Potential for dual material with dissolvable or peel away support Single material with mechanical removal of support
System allows dual material for overmolded parts and pause features for inserting captive objects No system for inserted or overmolded parts
No training required for use or handling High level of materials handling trainingrequired


My conclusion is this:

SLA is not a threat to FFF / FDM printing, if anything the 2 methods can work side by side as their benefits do not overlap. Personally I would not let the resin (or the smell of it) near my home or my family but if I had a dedicated space within a business and the training and staff to run this then I would consider SLA as an addition to several far lower priced FFF /FDM printers. I could print many iterations of a design on the filament printers and perhaps a surface model on the SLA machine once the design was final, actually it might be best to just outsource that part…

SLA should remain in the hands of professional labs or dedicated service providers, FFF /FDM is for everyone. In fact with the low cost of filament printers, every designer should have one on their desk.

Why pay when free software can do the job?

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Why pay when free software can do the job?

By | Design, Robox User Blog, Stuff and Things | 4 Comments

A key driver of desktop 3D printing technology adoption over the last few years has been the proliferation of completely free 3D modelling tools that are, crucially, user-friendly and extremely high quality. Since these tools are such powerful enablers of 3D printing technology and, during meetings with customers, I often end up sharing my thoughts on the merits of various 3D modelling software tools anyway, I considered I should offer a short summary of tools I use personally and would recommend for use with any 3D printer.

Each tool listed here performs distinct tasks in the 3D modelling process so there’s no overlap of functions between them. The purpose of this list is purely to inform of the tools that I use personally, not to offer any kind of comparison. Some more advanced users may scoff at my 3D modelling arsenal, but I’d ask that they bear in mind my non-engineering background. Despite my novice experience and skills, I’ve found that the following tools work very well together to do pretty much anything I want to do – from designing high-precision mechanisms to personalising Xmas gifts. All of these software tools are free to use because, like most people, I don’t like spending money when I don’t have to.

1. 3D Builder

I use this tool from Microsoft all the time to edit 3D models as it has the cleanest, most user-friendly interface of any 3D modelling tool I’ve used. It looks and feels great, especially when I use it to demonstrate how easy it is to customise and personalise any one of the thousands of free 3D models available from online repositories such as Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory (the latter is integrated into Robox’s AutoMaker software). While 3D Builder is in its element when used to emboss text, logos and other images, it’s equally superb in other areas such as splitting and resizing large models into smaller parts.

3D Builder

2. 123D Design

This is another free tool that I use all the time, but for creating 3D models rather than editing them. 123D Design is made by Autodesk and, as a result, it’s clean, simple and easy to use with a range of features that satisfies virtually all of my modelling needs. While it lacks most of the advanced features found in 3D modelling software tools such as SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor, it does boast a key feature not found in most expensive 3D modelling tools – the ability to save to the cloud.

I frequently recommend 123D Design since it’s completely free and offers versatile, powerful functionality with an interface suitable for novices and professionals alike. Its high quality is thanks to it being made by one of the best 3D software development companies in the world, which also happens to make the next 3D modelling tool on this list.

123D Design

3. Meshmixer

Meshmixer is my tool of choice for touching up 3D models. The thing I like most about Meshmixer is the way that models can be sculpted naturally by pulling and pushing on surfaces or cutting parts of a model away. Packed with a wide range of versatile, powerful features which perform extremely useful functions such as smoothing and distorting a surface or hollowing out a model, Autodesk’s Meshmixer is an essential tool in my box of freebies.

An important point to note is that Meshmixer is used to edit organic, rather than geometric, models. An organic model consists of natural, flowing curves and shapes whereas a geometric model is one that comprises perfect, uniform shapes that don’t often appear in nature. The model created in 123D Design above, for example, from geometric shapes such as rectangles, triangles and circles wouldn’t edit well in Meshmixer. However, models captured from 3D scans, such as the duck below, are perfect for editing with this tool, which brings me to yet another Autodesk product…


4. 123D Catch

The final free 3D modelling tool on this list is, without a doubt, the most accessible 3D scanning tool out there. Again, it’s completely free but, unlike the other software listed here, it’s designed to be used on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet computer. 123D Catch is an extremely cost-effective (free!) and convenient alternative to dedicated handheld 3D scanning equipment, which starts at around £300 and typically looks like something airport security would get out if you set off a metal detector. I’ve used the app to scan people, objects, buildings, you name it. The app is easy to use and can produce good quality scans, which can be improved further and touched up using Meshmixer. The only drawback to this app is the length of time it takes for photos to be uploaded to Autodesk and processed. It can be a little frustrating – especially if you have poor mobile phone signal! – but I understand frustration to be a feature of all current handheld 3D scanning technologies to a greater or lesser extent.

123D Catch

I did consider adding a fifth 3D modelling tool to this list since 4 is an unusual number to end a list on, but since these four tools take up around 95% of my 3D modelling time I didn’t feel it was appropriate to add another. Tinkercad would most likely have been the fifth free tool , which you can see in action below:

The combined value of this small collection of tools is considerably more than the sum of its parts. When used together, these apps can transform any 3D printer from a novelty to magic. Although I’m currently experimenting with more heavy duty 3D modelling software such as SpaceClaim (I’ve received a free trial) and may end up adding more software to this list, for now I think I’ll be sticking with the free stuff.

Please note: CEL has no commercial ties with Autodesk. They just so happen to make a great suite of free 3D modelling tools.

The Ferguson Technique – Dental implants using 3D printed surgical guides

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The Ferguson Technique – Dental implants using 3D printed surgical guides

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Dr Rick Ferguson DMD presents a webinar hosted by Michael Saltzman, Director of Guided Surgery from Blue Sky Bio.

Dr. Ferguson is a Diplomat of the ICOI, Associate Fellow of the AAID, Clinical Assistant Professor University of Florida. He has lectured nationally and internationally He teaches live surgery and is a visiting lecturer at the University of Miami GPR Program. He has a full time private practice in Davie, FL. His course in dental implants can be viewed on his website here http://www.implanteducators.com/index.php/courses/3d-course

Dr Ferguson gives a brief look at previous guided surgery techniques and guides and compares them to the current method he uses and teaches in using 3D printed surgical guides. Rick describes the development of his technique which enables in practice low cost guided surgery.

Several cases are presented during this webinar including each stage of the workflow for each case, reasoning and options, costs and alternatives. Please note that case documentation includes 3D scans of bones as well as photos and video of guided surgery taking place which is quite graphic, the information presented is more suited to dentists than patients.

Examples of workflows in past high cost methods and current low cost 3D printed guides. Dr Ferguson shows examples using Robox and provides comparisons to Form2 DentalSG workflows and printed surgical guides.

The free software Dr Ferguson uses in this video can be found in the links below:

You can buy a Robox as used by Dr Ferguson directly from Blue Sky Bio’s US website (select United States from the dropdown on their site) https://blueskybio.com/store/cel-robox or from a Robox reseller closer to youwww.cel-robox.com/where-to-buy/. The material used to print surgical guides with Robox is nGen by Dutch company Colorfabb, you can buy this from Robox resellers on Robox SmartReels. Robox does allow printing with materials from other suppliers and the range of materials available on SmartReels is constantly being updated.

CEL Robox, “a workshop in a box”

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CEL Robox, “a workshop in a box”

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“Robox is an amazing tool for learning. In my studies, it has allowed me to bring my ideas and concepts into the physical world. Producing something traditionally which is as complex or intricate as what can be produced using a 3D printer, would require years of training on professional tools or be impossible to be produced as a single object. This obviously would be an impossibility for a student who wants to envision their ideas into reality. As a student myself, I do not have the skills or knowledge to use high level manufacturing equipment, but have unique ideas. By removing the complexities of the production process, it allows multiple ideas to be produced with ease.

“The innovative design of the Robox 3D printer allows easy to load materials, again, reducing the complexity of the production process. Its simple UI offers ease of use to both new and experienced users with the advanced functionality. My favourite feature is the heated bed, this allows printing to start up almost immediately, and not require bed preparation; which is the case for many 3D printers.

“Robox allows people like myself, to be able to envision our ideas, and make them reality. By having physical objects, we learn from mistakes in design, and gain a more practised knowledge of design. Robox is essentially a workshop in a box.”

Writhlington-SchoolJames Stewart
Writhlington School

Spiral Printing on Robox

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Spiral Printing on Robox

By | Chris Elsworthy Design Blog, Design, Printables, Software Updates, Stuff and Things | 4 Comments

If you’ve downloaded the latest version of AutoMaker then you may have noticed that we’ve activated Spiral Printing for you to play with. Robox is particularly good at spiral printing as it offers the highest ranges of wall thickness without having to remove and replace the nozzle.

Below is a quick guide on how to best use this new feature.
There are a number of things that you should be aware of when trying this feature.

  1. Only place one object on the bed at any time.
    Because of the nature of spiral printing the flow of material from the nozzles does not stop and start. Placing more than one object on the bed means that the models would be impossible to print in one continuous extrusion.
  2. Ensure that your print has only one continuous island from bottom to top.
    This is for the same reason – multiple islands on any layer means that the flow of material has to stop and start. Spiral printing is designed to avoid this.
  3. Consider how thick you want the base to be
    This is one of the few controls Automaker has for spiral printing, the number of layers you choose and the layer thickness will equate to your base thickness before spiral printing starts. The first layer is always 0.3mm and as a guide I would ensure that this is the minimum filament width to ensure good adhesion to the bed. The sequence layers heights are controlled by, yes you’ve guessed it, ‘layer height’. So for example if you’ve chosen a layer height of 0.2mm and 5 base layers your spiral print with have a 1.1mm thick base. (0.3mm + (4 x 0.2mm))
  4. Think about what wall thickness you want
    After the base of your part is completed the system moves to the spiral printed section, continuously moving up as it orbits the perimeter of your design laying down a single line of filament. The wall thickness is controlled by the perimeter width and because its only going to be done in one pass you may want to increase it and use the larger 0.8mm nozzle to create wall thickness of up to 1.2mm. As a guide I’ve found that the ratio between layer height and wall thickness should be between 2:1 – 5:1, the thicker the wall and the smaller the layer height the more likely overhangs will be printed perfectly.
  5. The part must be solid, not hollowed out with a wall thickness
    Because we are using ‘Solid layers at Bottom’ and perimeter thickness to control the thickness of your part the part needs to be a solid to start with. If you want an inner and outer shell, and don’t mind a hollow centre you can use an idea I had when designing the is thermal mug: add a very thin cut down through the part to make each layer a single perimeter again. On the photo below, you can see that the sequence of printing is outside surface of the bowl -> half the handle -> inside surface of the bowl -> half the handle -> outside surface of the bowl… and so on…Thermal MugSpiral Mug Section Small
    6 . Your design is less than 99mm tall
    Robox has a 100mm Z-build height, but because of the way Cura adds the Z move to every move on the layer sometimes the sliced part will come out slightly above 100mm. The post processor will throw this out as impossible print, so to avoid this scale your part to ensure it is less than 99mm high.


You can download the cup above from this link. robox_spiral_mug.stl


Or the Vase with Support engineer Lee’s face on it by clicking the image above. LeeVase_Mk2.stl


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