In the works The positive reception of the printer designs led to thoughts about starting a business. Rather than rushing out and creating a Kickstarter campaign straight away, Nicholas decided, quite sensibly, to test the waters by offering 20 beta units of each printer. The creation and delivery of these units is still under way, but the experience has already taught him that any further attempt at printer sales would be a bad business move: “I could print custom parts for people for three times as much money. I am now targeting a single arm SCARA design that can be completely laser cut. I have it mostly designed in my head.” He also admits that he “sucks” at production and took flak from some in the community after being behind in the beta run and yet still producing a modification to the Simpson design, codenamed LISA. To alleviate the burden Nicholas introduced discounts for those wishing to receive the beta kit without printed parts, or who would print parts for others in the scheme, reviving a long-held RepRap idea of “print it forward”. The difficulty and feasibility of small-scale manufacturing is highlighted as this beta production run will actually cause a slight loss for Nicholas. Ultimately the biggest loss is that of his time taken away from working on new designs. His goal now is to honour the commitment so he “can get back to being a mad scientist” as he puts it. The mad scientist persona has resulted in a profusion of derivative designs. Alongside several interesting mechanical variations of the Simpson mechanism, which ultimately led to the GUS Simpson, there has
since been a threaded-rod based delta bot (LISA), which followed the incredibly rapid prototyping pattern of the original Simpson, by being turned from idea to reality, and producing it’s first print, in only three weeks . Another is the wildly experimental design called the Sextupteron , which introduces six degrees of freedom to the hot-End. The key limiting factor to the latter is the electronics, something he hopes to remedy in the near future. Another Simpson derivative is BOB, which stands for “Boltless and Bearingless”, an attempt to reduce the vitamin count as much as possible. Nicholas goes on to explain, “he will be a novelty but he will be all plastic except for the hot end, wiring, steppers, string, controller, and possible the bed. I want to explore ways to actually print the bed out of higher temp plastic or print on a surface like a table that the printer sits on. I am viewing this more as a learning experience than designing a serious printer.”
The third issue of RepRap Magazine. Interview with Nicholas Seward, Paste Extrusion, Hot-Ends, and much more.