Joseph Chiu and Taj Chiu with the help of kickstarter.com users have shown how to to become a large professional 3D printer manufacturing company from a scratch within months, by starting the Raise3D project. In the end, their backers received high quality 3D printers at half a price, the community got a new brand that is growing fast, and the founders got their own Christmas gift – the dream coming true.
You can learn more about Raise3D and their products from this article.
The path of Raise3D's growth is rather unusual for a modern 3D printers manufacturing company. Firstly, it’s not a Chinese company but an American one, its founders are a married couple of two ‘technogeeks’ – that’s how Taj and Joseph Chiu like to call themselves. Secondly, the company has been founded in the September of 2014 and in November 2015 their Kickstarter campaign has raised $445,900 within 30 days, surpassing the original goal of $50,000. And thirdly, it was the first new 3D printing company that has aimed to produce professional printers right from the start.
Taj and Joseph succeeded – their competent Kickstarter campaign attracted the backers with the possibility of getting 3D printers of this level with a relatively inexpensive price, which has helped the manufacturer to grow. These days Raise3D has 60 employees, their annual revenue is $5.8 million and the main manufacturing is located at the Shanghai plant.
Raise3D's product line includes:
FDM 3D printers
Accessories and replacement parts for 3D printers
3D printing materials
What makes Raise3D printers stand out? The main reason is a great build quality. Their factories not only just manufacture the printers and parts but they also have a multi-level quality control system, that almost completely eliminates the chance of defective products getting to the customer.
The printer’s closed case allows for even heat distribution across the durable magnetic print bed, which prevents the model from shifting.Built-in software called ‘Ideamaker’ not only functions as a slicer, but is also a full-fledged 3D printer host, that can dispatch the tasks and give the user access to all settings. Combine that with a huge touchscreen and a remote control option and you’ll get the whole picture of what to expect from the Raise3D printers. All of the models have a built-in fan with a HEPA filter, which eliminates the smells. The print head temperature allows printing with almost the whole range of the available FFF-materials with the minimum layer thickness of 0.01mm.
The need to use small (under 1 kg) filaments might be a small inconvenience for the users, but you can always use even bigger ones, placing them outside and getting the material through a hole in the case. The Pro2 series is already sold with a factory calibrated print plate.
Raise3D printers have their own software called IdeaMaker – a slicer optimized to work with the printers of the brand. The software allows for deeper control of the settings: for example, there’s a ‘free cut’ tool that gives you the ability to partition the model into several pieces. There’s also the Max Fit option, it expands the model to a maximum size after just one click. IdeaMaker also has a tool that allows to check your model for mistakes.
After preparing your model for printing you can click the “Start” button. It will open a new window with your print template. It allows you to control the layer height, the speed of printing, infill and support parameters. You can use a pre-made printing templates, or create new ones with your own parameters being set. The temperature settings in the pre-made templates are not always set correctly for certain filaments. You can change the settings using IdeaMaker on your PC or change them manually right on the device after sending the model to printing.
It’s a fully enclosed 3D printer with a dual extrusion. It can print with the materials of two different colors and chemical makeups. The enclosed case allows to work with temperature sensitive plastics. The extruder shifting technology called Electronic Driven Lifting makes two-material printing more stable.
Raise3D Pro2 has a redesigned dual-gear driven extruder that provides a better grip of a filament and makes the extrusion more reliable. The new extruder is almost 50% faster than the one in the N2 3D printer.
Build volume for single head extrusion: 305 × 305 × 300 mm;
Build volume for dual head extrusion: 280 × 305 × 300 mm.
Dual head is one of the main features of the Pro2 series. Not only it allows to print with two colors, but it provides the ability to use soluble filaments for printing supports. The Pro2 printers use dual-nozzle system on a single print head. Shifting between the nozzles is electronically controlled and happens within less than a second.
Raise3D's flagship is available in two versions – the regular Pro2 and the Pro2 Plus which has a doubled print volume (thanks to a longer Z-axis). Weighing 52 kg, it’s rather heavy and is not recommended to be placed on a table. It’s better to free some space on a floor of your lab for the printer. Useful rolling cart with a blockable wheels allows you to easily move the Pro2 Plus and place it anywhere you want.
Built-in camera allows you to remotely control the printing process.
Built-in HEPA filter absorbs more than 91% of particles released during printing.
For printing accuracy of 10 microns there’s a possibility to change a standard 0.4 mm nozzle to a 0.2 mm one. There are bigger nozzles for faster and less accurate printing.
Raise3D is confident that despite of its pricing the E2 model is going to be popular in schools and other educational institutions, thanks to improved safety features, small size and being easy to use. Built on a sturdy aluminum frame, the E2 has a fully enclosed print area and a highly effective air filtering system. The latter reduces the amount of fumes and the chance of warping of the materials.
This printer has an access to the RaiseCloud cloud service, it’s also able to use filaments of the other brands, if they’re a part of the Open Filament program.
The E2 has the sensors that detect the lack of filament (in case of run-out) that stop the printing until the problem is solved. The sensors also detect power outages, so the printer can stop printing and save the progress. The printing process will be resumed afterwards once the power comes back.
Raise3D E2 features an IDEX setup – meaning there are 2 independent print heads on one axis. The setup allows for dual extrusion printing without the regular shortcoming of usual dual extruder print heads – filament oozing from inactive nozzle. The E2 has a “Duplicate” function that creates an exact copy of the print, and an “Inverse” function that creates a mirrored copy, both of the functions streamline the process of printing similar, identical or symmetrical parts.
Like all of other Raise3D printers, the E2 models comes with a pre-calibrated printing bed, but the company claims that this model also has a special exclusive feature that automatically creates an offset after leveling the bed after printing. It should technically reduce the chance of print failures.
The printer has the feature that stops printing if the build chamber is opened, the reason is to provide safety for students, because the device was designed with educational purposes in mind. The Raise3D E2 also has a removable flexible magnetic surface that is coated with silicone. It makes the removing of finished prints easier and optimizes the printing process. The reason is the ability to swap out the used plate for a new one, which provides a faster turnaround.
The N2 series of 3D printers, which has been crowdfunded, is the reason for the impressive success of Raise3D. And the main reason is not that the company raised 9 times more money that originally planned, but that the community was very supportive. The series consisted of 4 models: base N2 and 3 additional ones – N2 Dual, N2 Plus and N2 Dual Plus. The ‘Dual’ means two-material printing an the ‘Plus’ means that the Z-axis print volume is doubled.
Later it was clear that the base N2 and N2 Plus are not popular among the consumers, so the company focused on producing N2 Dual and N2 Dual Plus. For the consumers who has bought the base models there was an option to upgrade them to the Dual ones.
The N2 is no longer produced, but the devices are still actively used by their owners and are often modified and upgraded.
The main idea behind the N2 series is a fully enclosed design, featuring heated print bed. That makes the N2 printers great devices for printing with ABS and nylon filaments. Other than that, the N2 3D printers also support printing PLA, PETG and HIPS, as well as using special filaments with infills. There’s a built-in backup battery, which can stop the printing in case of power outages, saving the data about the print head position and continuing printing after the problems are solved. проблем.
"We recently printed scale models of the Apprentice and Master Mason Pillars at Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. We've been working with the chapel for a number of years on various scanning projects and this latest one was to create handling objects for visitors.
The prints are 466mm tall (15% height) printed on a N2+ out of PLA. Layer height is .15mm and each print took around 140 hours.
Really pleased with the results", — writes Alrawly
According to the forum user named Brad: “Here are some shots of large prints I have done, I have used PETG and ASA (similar to abs) for my parts. As for layer shift, I have found that the ideamaker slicer is not the smartest slicer when it comes to travel paths.”
He continues: “I get around that by everytime I retract I do a z lift 0.01 mm higher than the print, and make sure the x/y gantry is tight. Not many slips after that.”
According to Forge:
“This printer is huge, and i love how many materials it can take. I use a lot of ABS since it's easier to process, and holds up to heat better in the Vegas sun. It also does dual extrusion well, which I don't use too often, but is usually very tricky to get right when I do want it.
I used to hate the lack of the auto leveler, but it's stayed level for the last 4 months without issue, and it actually turns out to be quite a bit of time saving too.
I haven't had to work with their support department yet, so I can't rate on that, but I'm hoping that Raise continues to make the Raise Academy videos. One of my biggest hurdles was getting through the documentation to get started, but now that the video series is getting posted, I haven't had any problems.
I figure, it's not for everyone. The price is definitely up there, but the software is great and the presets "just work". I have a lot of smaller printers that I have to fiddle with to get settings right, but I can just a send file and not worry about it. It's reliable enough for my product orders or last minute costume jobs. If you have a business and can afford it, it's worthwhile.”
Jetguy explains how to work with the mod that he recently found on Flickr:
“Please note, this is actually bad guide tube placement and will cause breakage of the filament in my testing. Do not pass the encoder guide tube through the N1 holes. This will cause breakage of the splices. It's minor change that the encoder gets mounted using the supplied Velcro to the cable channel rail on the N1 and the guide tube becomes more vertical in nature preventing sharp bends.“
"The Mosaic Palette is working great and getting better and better every day I use it. I'm right in the middle of trying to finalize some implementation information (how to connect it, where the scroll wheel works best, calibration tests and tips, extruder feed guide tube attachment, and other aspects of usage).
Sorry for lack of posts, I just want to make sure I get the information right the first time before posting the guides. "
There’s always a balance to be found between being easy to use and providing quality prints. Even though Raise3D printers work right out of the box, you would still need to experiment with the settings a bit to get perfect prints. And this can be applied not only to these printers, it’s just how any 3D printing technology works. And the more someone is willing to spend on a professional 3D printer, the less time they are going to spend on getting the settings right.
The products of Raise3D beautifully combine the abilities of professional 3D printers with the ease of use. Raise3D printers are useful for engineers, technical experts, large manufacturers alike, as well as for educational purposes, small startups and hobbyist usage.
Joseph Chiu, the founder of Raise3D, showing how sturdy the frame of their printer is. Source: kickstarter.com
You can buy a high-end professional 3D printer by Raise3D at Top 3D Shop and get the official warranty and great service.