Utah-based Invent-A-Part, a 3D printing service bureau, has returned to Kickstarter with a new 3D printer of their own design, the RigidBot. It is off to a fast start, having quadrupled its funding goal of $31,500 in the first 36 hours. Remaining available pledges range from $330 for a RigidBot kit, to $725 for a fully assembled RigidBot BIG. LCD screens and SD card readers can be added for $175.
The RigidBot's unique metal bar and injection-molded joint frame construction make it expandable. The printer's size can literally be customized by replacing the metal bars. As a result, the initial Kickstarter offering includes two versions, standard and BIG. The standard printer has a build envelope of 254 x 254 x 254 mm (1000 cubic inches), while the BIG printer has a build envelope of 300 x 400 x 254 mm (1920 cubic inches). It comes with an acrylic build platform, adjustable by four corner screws (many printers use only three screws). It is capable of a vertical layer resolution of 100 microns. Suggested 1.75 filament is either PLA or LAYWOO-D3 (wood), to help avoid shrinkage sometimes associated with ABS (aka; curling).
The RigidBot is intended to work with open source software commonly used by the Reprap community. However, according to Michael Lundwall of Invent-A-Part, "We are just getting started. We could end up offering a printer that runs on proprietary software someday, if we think it can increase ease-of-use."
This is not the first 3D printer Invent-A-Part has launched on Kickstarter. After spending a small fortune on R&D, they introduced the L5 in October, 2012. The L5 was a very slick design, with an injection-molded plastic body that looked inspired by Italian auto makers or perhaps science fiction. Priced at $1,050 with an LCD screen, the L5 model performed well, but funding was cancelled as it neared completion, due to feedback on Kickstarter. It seems a segment of the interested backers didn't want the plastic body, something that still has the 3D Printer World staff dumbfounded. Since the body was a large portion of the first-run production costs, Invent-A-Part stopped funding and went back to the drawing board. When asked about the L5, Lundwall responded, "We love the L5 and know some people want its attractive desktop look. It is still in development. You could see a newer L5 in the future."