A micro-manufacturing platform from the UK, the CEL Robox, comes with an impressive number of features. In this first review of this innovative machine, we will feature unboxing and building the printer.
The CEL Robox is by all standards a top-notch printer. Although it’s just a traditional filament-based 3D printer with a decent sized build volume (8 by 6 by 4 inches), the super-fine 20 micron maximum layer resolution and the fact that it supports all the major filament types from Polycarbonate (a very tricky material to print), PLA and Nylon, makes it a really promising machine.
The features on this printer are what makes it tick and puts it in its own niche. The number of smart add-ons and sensors are just impressive.
Looking at the software side, the Robox comes with proprietary Automaker software that works hand in hand with its hardware features.
Let’s go to these hardware features. The first feature that I noticed is the Headlock system on the head. This integrates an auto bed leveling system which consequently allows you to swap the whole print head at the click of a finger.
The print head also features a QuickFill dual nozzle technology. This is praised for its ability to enable the printer switch between a really large and a really small nozzle in the same print. The idea here is that the larger nozzle will print the areas where speed is more preferred than quality, and the smaller where quality is preferred than speed.
Next is the SmartReel system. This efficiently detects the Robox filament you have installed and will adjust the print setting appropriately.
Then there is the SmartExtruder System. This is credited for adding more sensors to the filament path in a bid to make it more error-proof and easier to use.
Let’s unbox it…
There’s really not much to unbox in this package. The Robox printer comes wrapped in a textile carrying bag, and on the side there’s a small accessories box. The packaging for the Robox printer is very light and it’s not so complicated to make it ready.
After I removed the transparent fasteners, I was pretty much ready to begin using the Robox. I was impressed by the fact that the spool of filament wasn’t really in the accessories box, but a spool of ColorFabb XT filament was already pre-installed.
Oh, by the way you should know that the accessories box holds the AutoMaker software, a USB drive with a few 3D models, and a safety information booklet. It also houses a pair of tweezers, a pack of four mini chisels for cleaning, a small bottle of lubricant for the linear axes, a few alcohols wipes for the printbed and the power and USB cords.
Getting the First Print
After I installed the Automaker (available for Linux, Mac and Windows), I loaded my personal STL files and immediately began printing with the predefined printing profiles. You could also use the “my first print” option, which will load the Robox mascot and print it.
The SmartReel that the printer comes with simplifies everything pretty much. It makes installing the filament to be a piece of cake. If you run out of filament you simply hold the end of the filament spool and lightly push it into the feed hole and the printer will automatically grab into it. The printer will then feed it to the print-head and if there was a different filament loaded beforehand it will ask to purge it.
The first thing that will happen on initializing printing is that the printer will check if the door is closed. It will then begin to heat the bed and the nozzle, measure the bed surface for auto-tramming (auto leveling), clean the nozzle and finally begin to print.
The printer is very trustable. Even with the entire print space locked away and no means of correcting anything happening inside. After all the processed information for printing has been successfully transferred to your host computer, you can actually disconnect your computer. If you are unsettled, you can simply reconnect it and monitor the printing process.
Actually, if you must monitor the print process you will have to use your computer. Because the printer does not offer any avenue for this, except for an ambient LED strip that tends to always glow blue.
Below is the test print that I did on the Robox. The print was successful with very minimum user input, and it needed no single calibration or setup. The print was done within less than two hours. Pretty impressive, huh?