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BigBrain3D
(@bigbrain3d)
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@extrudercat Yes, Tool changes are now handled correctly for gcode during printing. We will proceed with updates to the manual now.


   
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ExtruderCat
(@extrudercat)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 87
 

I'm really sorry to say, but it is now worse than before.
Not a simple nozzle insert or even a swap works.
I re-calibrated all servo positions, checked multiple times that I installed all motors, axis and tools in the correct orientation before attaching it on the printer.

I won't go into any more details because at this point I'm just tired of trying and tinkering to get it running with the provided documentation.
Beside this the communication here from the team is nearly a catastrophe. Nearly none of the new requests or bugs from other users got even answered or mentioned in the slightest way, more than once I tried to get in touch with you guys directly to understand the way you work or help out where I can.

</rant>

For the moment I will dismantle the whole Swapper and continue my work on the alternative version.


   
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(@nightlyh)
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Joined: 9 months ago
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@extrudercat I'm not even sure how to try a swap or nozzle insert period! How are you able to test it? Using the plugin, I cannot get the swapper to display anything other than "None".

Also, yeah I have to agree the communication from the beginning has been basically non-existent, from the Kickstarter to the forum. From the overzealous time estimations on when things would get done/shipped to providing actual updates. I should have figured as much, as the way "SimplyColor3D" is being handled is even worse than the Swapper. There was always an issue somewhere, with little to no information on what was actually going on. Looking at the Github and the amount (or lack there of) of code changes on the plugin, it makes me feel that the "BigBrain" team is composed of like 3-4 people at MOST, with only one developer who has a lack of time to focus on the project at best.

Most if not all of these "issues" and changes should have only taken days to fix, not weeks or months. The fact the manual has been out for like 6 months and is still mostly filled with filler images and text doesn't bode well for the future of this project. I really hope that @extrudercat's v2 of this concept will allow me to use my printer again, and I guess now it's time to wait another few months for a hope that something will work.

 

TL;DR: Do better BigBrain3D

This post was modified 8 months ago by NightlyH

   
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(@3dzee)
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@extrudercat, @nightlyh, thanks for sharing. I still have hope that one day I manage to put all the parts together and finally use the product as advertised. So I'm glad there are still people active on this forum and it's not just me who didn't finish the build. If you - @extrudercat - need some beer money to keep you going with your alternative version, I'm happy to chip in.

   
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ExtruderCat
(@extrudercat)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 87
 

I don't remember where I mentioned it first, but again: The idea behind the Swapper3D is absolute brilliant and AFAIK there is no other comparable material and time saving system that can be used across different multi-material systems and even multiple printers. That fact is one of its strengths and I want to emphasize this point emphatically! Yes there are other similar solutions, but they require multiple print heads, extra electronics and the scaling of changeable nozzles is limited.

My rant is not about a bad idea, or the lack of delivered goods. In this regard this is not a "stereotypical" Kickstarter project which just vanishes as vaporware. 

My main complaint is the lack of communication between the development team and the (still small) community. Another justified criticism is the bad implementation of the idea.
Even someone without a technical engineering background could ask the simple question: Is it really necessary to add a big extra weight to one side of a printer axis? I can see where this idea came from. The first iteration, the Retractable Purge Mechanism was lightweight and could travel with the whole carriage up and down with no problems at all. It has some flaws, too. But on a lower scale like a smaller print volume.

With the Swapper3D you've added over half a dozen motors (depending on your order really heavy ones), a lot more plastic, screws, bearings and so on. The idea behind it was that you don't need a calibration in the z-direction when changing the nozzles. But is this benefit really justified? Adding heat sinks and an extra fan to the printer electronics so the motor drivers won't turn into ashes? In some instances I had to reduce the z-lift speed so the motors could keep up with the added weight.

  • Then the electric parts. When I saw the first pictures in the manual I thought "ok, this is for the prototype, they wouldn't ship plugs and cables assembled with silly putty or hot snot!" ... well, we all know what we received by now.
  • Cables that are screwed into the screw terminals without ferrules ...
  • Connection blocks between the Arduino shields that have such thin pins that it takes forever to mount the shields without bending or getting all pins into the corresponding holes, not yet speaking about loose contacts on the lcd during operation ...
  • Specially modified servo motors with custom cables and even a company branding added to them ... but on the other side the cheapest of the cheapest Arduino imitations (not clones). Why no usage of simple servos and move the electronics for them to the center of the mechanism? The IC on the servo shield only uses I2C which requires 2 data lines plus ground ...
  • Just one end stop switch to register a nozzle in the rotating arm ... the rest of the swap procedure is just based on pure luck, no chance to debug any errors systematically (which corresponds to the massive commented areas in the firmware where the developers tried their best to find the best position for each motor at each movement step) ...

The list goes on and on and I'm in a mixed mood of sadness and lack of understanding at what point all these problems were ignored or maybe not recognized. And in my opinion only a complete overhaul of the Swapper3D project can save it from vanishing in time and leaves nothing behind but nothing than a great idea with a bad implementation ...

As already mentioned, nearly all the problems can be fixed with small changes or some additional parts. I will build a rough prototype of my idea of a new revision. Later I and maybe other members of the community can source parts that e.g. don't need additional soldering or special custom mechanical parts. My goal is to use the delivered parts, add some simple bonus parts on top and voilá, you have a more reliable system with little additional cost, reduced weight, more possibilities to debug errors, a simpler firmware and so on. As a last step you could use the changes and sell it as a completely new set, let's say version 2.0 or whatever you like to call it. Then you can remove some unused parts, the cost for the new kit shouldn't get much higher, or even stay at the same cost point.

 

So please, @BigBrain3D , talk with the community and together we will bring this project into a save haven! Don't underestimate a strong community behind a great idea, and please don't resign when the path get's rough from time to time! No more excuses, no more tinkering and fiddling by yourself.

 

Just my 2 Cents


   
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 Sdee
(@sdee)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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My printer has been down for quite some time now. The expected manual completion was October 25th said by bigbrain3d in a email. What is the new expected date?


   
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ExtruderCat
(@extrudercat)
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Posted by: @sdee

My printer has been down for quite some time now. The expected manual completion was October 25th said by bigbrain3d in a email. What is the new expected date?

As stated in the last Kickstarter blog post, all improvements, fixes and new features will be announced and published via the Duke Nukem Forever release schedule </sarcasm>

Context: Urban Dictionary: "When it's done"

 


   
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(@nightlyh)
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Any new reports on that manual being done?


   
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(@andrew-hopper)
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@BigBrain3D This community wants to help you get this project across the finish line (and eventually to the point where you can sell more of them!), but for that we need engagement from you. The last activity I can see from BigBrain are the KickStarter update on 16/11 and a post from you here on 22/11. Is there any way we can get more regular updates (even a weekly check-in would be deeply appreciated)?  

I can only speak for myself, but I will happily help test/debug things and I'm sure I'm not the only community member who's willing to.


   
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BigBrain3D
(@bigbrain3d)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 513
Topic starter  

@nightlyh, @andrew-hopper

My apologies. Shortly after the last Kickstarter update I was admitted to the hospital. During my stay I did not have access to cell phone, computer, or internet. I was unable to work on the documentation during that time. I'm back at the office now and work has resumed. I'll start with the QuickSwap-Hotend documentation and support so that at least users can resume printing on their machines. Thank you for your offers of help; we will need it.


   
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(@andrew-hopper)
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@bigbrain3d I'm glad to hear you're back and recovering!


   
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(@andrew-hopper)
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@bigbrain3d Can you please provide any update at all? It's been a month. I don't know how to get you to communicate with your users, but you're losing a tremendous amount of goodwill by not saying anything at all. Even bad news would be better than silence.

The instructions are still incomplete, and there are a lot of people who paid quite a bit to support the development of this device who have been waiting to be able to actually use it.

If you need assistance getting this across the finish line, please ask us for help.

If you've decided that you can't support this product, please just tell us so we can get on with our lives.


   
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ExtruderCat
(@extrudercat)
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Posts: 87
 

Posted by: @bigbrain3d

@nightlyh, @andrew-hopper

Thank you for your offers of help; we will need it.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room ...

@andrew-hopper If I were you, I wouldn't wait anymore. My patience is already over.
can comprehend the complexity of the project. There are so many IFs and WHENs you have to consider, which is the reason the reworked version takes so long, too (I'm not always working on it all the time. It is not my job to fix the original version. It's a passion project for me, but I also have a life and other projects beside it).

@bigbrain3d on more than one occasion I and others offered help with the documentation, hotfixes, patches, alternative parts and so on. To this day - and to my knowledge - nothing got accepted from you. On the other side there was more than one excuse why nothing comes to the surface.
One time you had to wait for a new Arduino to continue work (which is kinda funny because at one time you sat on more than one hundred of them, and none of them could be used to continue with the project? Nahh).
Then the hospital. This is a delicate topic, but one thing is fishy here , too. Most of the time you speak of BigBrain3D as a team. If that's the case, why couldn't anybody else work on the project, or at least write a blog or forum post about this situation?

Again, I can only look into my glowing orb and take a guess what is happening in the background. 

 


   
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(@nightlyh)
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@extrudercat I also find it incredibly odd that the Kickstarter post that was made basically told us to not complain or say anything that may make BigBrain look bad, which is extremely fishy. No reputable company would ask people to do such things. We, also, wouldn't need to make bad posts like this if BigBrain just gave us updates in the first place.

 

Also, where is the rest of this "team" anyway? Why do none of them come on here to make updates? Nothing adds up, and I've basically given up on this project. Things that should have taken less than a day or two to make (proper instructions) have not been updated in months.


   
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 Sdee
(@sdee)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 7
 

Well based on their last answer it looks like we are dealing with one person now and we are not getting a release. @extrudercat if you make something out of it I will follow your work since you seem to be the most active here 


   
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