CEL looks to make distributed manufacturing a reality with Robox Root, Tree and Mote

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CEL’s Robox line is aiming to become a platform for distributed manufacturing, with three new additions hoping to let users to share hardware, carry out multiple jobs at the same time, with greater speed and reliability.

The new additions include Root, a remote control device which allows users to share, control and monitor multiple prints via a wired or wireless network; Tree, a compact furniture system which houses multiple Robox units in a small footprint; and Mote, a simple, dedicated, low cost, touchscreen interface for Root.

CEL CEO Chris Elsworthy, said: “In a business environment, or where there are multiple Robox units available, these new systems will make prototyping and development much more efficient. Each Robox connected to Root can be visible to others on the network, so an office full of individually controlled printers is also a networked print farm.

A standard Robox Tree, where multiple machines can work in conjunction with others via the Root

“More printers allows faster printing but also redundancy and increased flexibility.”

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Although a typical user might only have one Robox, a Root unit, power by a Raspberry Pi CPU, will allow remote start and stop of prints even when the printer is in another room.

“If they choose to open the system to the web, they can access it from anywhere,” explains Elsworthy. “The system can alert users when a job is complete or of any problems, filament running out or becoming tangled or jammed so they can resolve the problem and resume the print.”

Root together with Tree looks to enable Robox to outperform larger, more expensive systems in terms of speed and reduced risk of total part failure with RAID-like redundancy.

With Mote attached to a Robox Tree, the integrated system becomes a stand-alone print farm shared by an entire office.

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CEL has partnered with RS Components and Polymaker to facilitate this next step into distributed manufacturing; with Robox producing prints, Polymaker supplying PolySmooth materials and RS providing the hardware, the aim is to let users market finished products without the need to outsource production.

To help fund the plans, CEL has taken the scheme to Kickstarter like it did the original Robox 3D printer, with the Root, Tree and Mote campaign already fulfilling its funding goals.