Assembly Day 2 - The RigidBot Experience (Part 4)

Day 2 assembly really focused on the frame of the RigidBot, and the electronics. With the case for the main board installed on the bottom frame, the board itself is installed. During the Kickstarter campaign, all of the main boards had to be reworked due to an early design defect. There were multiple factories that performed the rework, and as you can see in the photos, I received a “red wire rework” board done by one of the Chinese factories.

Now that the campaign review is over, I want to put the challenges of actually getting the RigidBot behind me and focus on the printer itself. After much anticipation and persistent refreshing of my FedEx tracking screen the RigidBot finally arrived at the front door. The box certainly showed signs of having been bounced around a Chinese factory, crammed in a shipping container for a few weeks, then manhandled through the FedEx network, but cosmetic evidence aside things looked good.

Back in April 2013 I backed a Kickstarter project for the RigidBot 3D Printer. I’ve had many positive experiences on Kickstarter, and am a huge supporter of what Kickstarter represents—the idea that anyone sitting in their garage with an idea can create something great, and potentially define their future. That said, when one is throwing money into the pot on Kickstarter, you have to do a little due diligence to vet the campaign, product, deliverables, timeline, and the creators themselves.

I think it’s probably my due diligence in this area that has kept me in a position where I’ve had a very pleasant Kickstarter experience overall. Over 90% of the campaigns I’ve backed have been on-time, and many have delivered well beyond what is expected. There’s certainly campaigns out there that are horribly run, and much like buying stocks, there’s always a risk that you get nothing (or something that doesn’t work). This particular project had a lot going for it.

As someone who's always been into building things and understanding how things work, in recent years I've naturally been pulled towards the 3D printing space. The idea of being able to manufacture your own components (either replacement parts for things that have broken, or new things that you've designed) really gives you limitless possibilities.

My first exposure to 3D printing came in early 2013 when I was working on the design and first tests of a tracked robot I designed to take timelapse sequences with a DSLR camera. As I searched for appropriate pulleys for the drive mechanism (to no avail), I ended up commissioning those parts to be 3D printed—purpose built, one-off components, for a unique and specific need.