Interview with Felix Thea from Shopify Masters

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A few weeks back I was asked by Felix Thea if he could interview me for his podcast Shopify Masters. Being a big fan of his podcast of course I said yes!

You can listen to me ramble on about how we generated so many good reviews, trademarks, patents and all that type of jazz here > http://shopifymasters.org/quadlockcase

You can also subscribe to Felix’s podcast on iTunes here > http://shopifymasters.org/itunes

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Form1+ 3D printer review – Upgrading from a Form1

 

Update – 20th May 2015: Having spent a good 18 months using a Form1/ 1+ I thought it’s about time I updated my thoughts on the device. In the 18 months we have been using a Form1 we have had the machine replaced twice. Our original Form1 developed issues where the parts had rough surfaces and what appeared to be thin fins growing on the part. From what I read this was related to Laser issues, even though FormLabs.

The machine was eventually replaced after months of trouble shooting. We wasted considerable time and resin going through the various tests and eventually FormLabs agreed to replace the machine, as long as we would pay for shipping it to and and from America. The replacement Form1+ was a much better machine but within four months the same problems appeared. Again the trouble shooting process started and after months of no improvements after checking, cleaning and even replacing a mirror that appeared to have absolutely nothing wrong with it FormLabs agreed to replace the machine, again as long as we paid the very expensive shipping bill. Everything I read pointed to a laser issue however FormLabs insisted it was an optical path problem.

Would I recommend this machine? When it is working it prints great parts but unless you’re prepared to have it replaced every 6 months its a tough sell unless you are located in the USA so return shipments don’t cost a small fortune.

 

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FormLabs have just announced a welcomed update to the Form1 3D printer. Dubbed the Form1+ (the plus indicating the additional upgrades) the machine looks identical as the original Form1 on the outside but on the inside, the Form1 team have upgraded key components which allow it to print more accurately, more reliably and up to four times faster then the original Form1.

The Form1+ Upgrades include:

  • Second-generation laser module
  • Updated galvanometer control board
  • Reinforced mechanical peel system
  • Complete factory recalibration
  • New, redesigned resin tank
  • Extended 1 year warranty

Introducing the Form 1+ from Formlabs on Vimeo.

If you’re reading this theres a fair chance you are already aware that the Form1 was one of the first low cost SLA 3D printers to take the focus away from FDM 3D Printers that were dominating the entry level 3D printer market at the time. It received huge amounts of interest from industrial designers and engineers as it gave hope to be able to print highly detailed, very accurate parts on your desktop. I was especially excited as the products we develop were all a size that fit nicely within the 120mm envelop.

We received our Form1 in March 2013 and had it printing within 15mins of taking it out of the box. The ease of setup and operation are a testament to the FormLabs team. You can read my review on it here. The parts it produced were much more detailed compared to the parts coming off our Cube 3D printer but thats expected when comparing SLA parts to FDM parts. However the more I used the machine the more I started to notice that the parts were not as accurate as I had hoped and fine small detail was getting lost when the resin to cured between features. Over time this got worse and eventually the parts started to print with weird gill like features making the parts totally unusable. At this point I contacted FormLabs to see what was going on. After many emails back and forth the FormLabs support engineer diagnosed the printer as having a faulty laser. He informed me that I would need to ship the machine back to FormLabs in the USA to get it repaired, however FormLabs would not cover the shipping costs, not even one way! Not exactly impressed with the situation we figured the machine was useless in its current state so we bit the bullet and paid the shipping fee and sent off our Form1 for repair, luckily we had hung on to the packaging.

As time dragged on FormLabs contacted me to let me know that the machine would be upgraded with the new laser and peel system which would be released on their new model. Getting wind of the new model I asked if we could upgrade to the new version of which they eventually agreed to what we would be getting back would effectively be the same as the new Form1+. Unfortunately we didn’t get the extended 12 months warranty as we’re located in Australia but you can’t have everything. I believe FormLabs is no longer accepting orders from Australia so I guess we’re lucky to have actually have a Form1 in OZ.

Three months after the initial contact with FormLabs support we finally received our replacement Form1+ and could get printing again! Out of the box it looked identical to the Form1. I plugged it in, updated the software and firmware on the machine, filled up the resin tray and set of a print. The first thing I noticed is the peel system sounded different and the clicking sound it makes when homing the build tray against the build platform was much quieter than the Form1. The platform plunged into the resin and the laser started firing. Straight away I could see that the laser was much brighter and moved a lot faster than the original. As I was printing a fairly small part the peeling between each layer was the most time consuming part of the print. Two hours later I had a part which would have taken 4-5 hours on the Form1. I removed the build tray and removed the part. Straight away I could see that part was miles ahead of the parts printed on the Form1. The detail was clear with crisp sharp edges and you could see the consistency in the layers. In fact the part was that detailed that I could actually see the tessellation’s in the STL file and this was at the course setting of 0.1mm layers. Note to self, export STL files at higher resolution from now on…

The mounting system I designed (Quad Lock) requires very fine tolerance for the male mount plate to connect with the female recess. Parts I had printed on the Form1 would not fit together as extra resin had solidified on areas it wasn’t meant to making it impossible for parts to interlock without lots of manual adjustment and sanding. However parts on the Form1+ went together straight out of the machine! No sanding required.

I’m much happier with the Form1+ as its now much closer to my expectations of what the Form1 should have been capable from originally. And I am not alone with this opinion as you can see on the FormLabs forums.

If your looking for a great low cost SLA 3D printer I can highly recommend the Form1+. It’s not going to give you the same level of detail as you will get from a professional SLA 3D printer but for the money it is exceptional value.

If you are looking to upgrade your Form1 you can do so here – http://formlabs.com/store/us/buy-upgrade/

 

 

 

 

 

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My interview with Yaro Starak for Entrepreneurs-Journey.com

I met Yaro Starak at a meet-up some time ago. He is a very interesting guy and had just moved to Melbourne at the time so he was keen to meet other people in the startup/entrepreneurial space. Apart from having a pretty interesting journey himself (which I recommend asking him about if you meet him) Yaro interviews entrepreneurs for his website www.entrepreneurs-journey.com

After a bit of time chatting and exchanging stories with Yaro, he asked if I would be interested in being interviewed for his website. Having never really done a one on one interview before I thought why not. Yaro’s website is similar to Andrew Warner’s site Mixergy.com without the courses and subscription fees as all Yaro’s interviews are free.

If you have a spare hour and you don’t mind listening to me ramble about how I ended up making iPhonee cases you can listen to the complete interview here – http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/13316/chris-peters-quadlock-opena-kickstarter-campaigns/

 

 

 

 

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Form1 3D Printer Review from Australia

 

 

 

Update – 20th May 2015: Having spent a good 18 months using a Form1/ 1+ I thought it’s about time I updated my thoughts on the device. In the 18 months we have been using a Form1 we have had the machine replaced twice. Our original Form1 developed issues where the parts had rough surfaces and what appeared to be thin fins growing on the part. From what I read this was related to Laser issues, even though FormLabs.

The machine was eventually replaced after months of trouble shooting. We wasted considerable time and resin going through the various tests and eventually FormLabs agreed to replace the machine, as long as we would pay for shipping it to and and from America. The replacement Form1+ was a much better machine but within four months the same problems appeared. Again the trouble shooting process started and after months of no improvements after checking, cleaning and even replacing a mirror that appeared to have absolutely nothing wrong with it FormLabs agreed to replace the machine, again as long as we paid the very expensive shipping bill. Everything I read pointed to a laser issue however FormLabs insisted it was an optical path problem.

Would I recommend this machine? When it is working it prints great parts but unless you’re prepared to have it replaced every 6 months its a tough sell unless you are located in the USA so return shipments don’t cost a small fortune.

a3be49e0cab6c7d9aa5e292171f8201f_largeThe Form1 has to be the most anticipated product I have back on kickstarter to date. I don’t think I even let the video finish before I was punching in my (well works really) credit card details. And as it turns out it’s also one of the most awesome things that I have backed from kickstarter and we’ve back quite a few projects! We actually have a whole shelf filled with stuff from Kickstarter that we never use… so its great to get something in the mail that I can see myself using on a regular basis.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, here’s a quick run down. The Form1 is a low cost high resolution 3d printer that was launched on Kickstarter back in November 2012. It smashed its funding goal by raising almost three million dollars. Well above the target of 200k.

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Kickstarter Available for Australian Based Projects from November 13th!

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It’s been months since we went to a presentation put on by Kickstarter at York Butter Factory informing us that Kickstarter would be opening to Australian based projects. And now finally they have put a date on it. In an email update this morning Kickstarter announced that from November 13th Kickstarter is open to Australian based projects. From what we were told, Kickstarter will process all the payments directly on their site so project champions won’t need to set up an Amazon payments account and backers will be able to back projects directly on the site using their credit cards, in AUD mind you.

This is great news for Aussie creatives and we can’t wait to see the flood of Aussie projects hit the crowdfunding scene. The official word on Kickstarters blog can be found here.

 

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Should we be scared of people 3D Printing Guns?

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There has been a lot of media hype lately about the potential for a 3D printed gun. I’ve received several calls from main stream media asking if it is really possible to print a working gun so I thought I would shed some light on the topic and give my personal views on the unlikely possibility of 3D Printed warfare.

As far as I can tell the media attention first started when a Thingiverse use by the name HaveBlue uploaded a part for an AR-15 (0.22 caliber) pistol which he 3D printed, bolted it to the rest of the pistol and successfully fired a few rounds.

Following on from this Cody Wilson founded an organisation by the name of Defense Distributed and launched a crowd funding project to raise enough money to help design a 3d Printable gun which could be printed on a consumer grade 3D printer.

So lets get a few things straight. Firstly a 3D Printer is a tool used to make parts. It is no different to a CNC mill, a lathe or even a hammer and chisel. As HaveBlue states on his blog, people have been CNC machining their own guns for years and there is decent online community exchanging and sharing their own personal gun designs. Secondly, unless you have a spare million dollars, you’ll be limited to printing in plastic or photopolymers which do not have the strength or ability to handle the high temperatures required to fire a bullet. And thirdly, even if you have been able to manufacture your own gun you still need bullets!

The main thing that has changed in the last three years is that 3D Printing technology has become more accessible to the average Joe mainly through low cost FDM style machines (reprap etc) and 3D printing services such as Shapeways and i.materialise. So if you give someone a file for a 3D Printed gun, it is quiet easy for someone to have it 3D printed or 3D print it themselves on their desktop 3D printer.

The scarey reality is that you could drop in to you local Home Depot or Bunnings store and purchase parts to build a bomb that would way more dangerous and destructive than a 3D printed gun. And for that you don’t need a 3D printer, a digital file for a gun or even bullets. So if you worried about a 3d printed gun then that should scare the pants off you!

If you remember the “terrorist hand book” that was floating around the web some time ago, well I think this is about as dangerous as that was.

Until then, lets try and focus on all the good and positive things that we can make with 3D printers….

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Seth Godin interview for the Good Life Project

I first heard about Seth Godin through the Shopify build a business competition in late 2011. As chance would have it we managed to win our category in the competiton and were very fortunate to have the opportunity to fly out to New York to meet him. Seth is a marketing guru and has this ability to get straight to the point and understand the most complex situations with an uncanny clarity. He was recently interviewed by the good life project about his recent book that he launched on Kickstarter. If you have a spare 37mins its a great insight into how he views he’s “projects”.

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Kickstarting your product idea.

Since successfully Kickstarting two products we’ve been getting a lot people asking for advice on how to take their product idea to market. Instead of emailing everyone individually I figured it would put together a guide outlining the steps I recommend going through.

Let me start by saying – taking a product to market is not an easy process. Things like Kickstarter can help reduce the risk by validating your idea and raising the capital required to get it to manufactured however you still need to put a lot of blood sweat and tears before you are even ready to kick start it. Raising capital on Kickstarter is no different to pitching your idea to an investor. The more refined and production ready your idea is the more likely you are to get the backing. Unfortunately this means that you need to get your design to a point where its just about ready to go into production before its ready for kickstarter. (more…)

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