March 10, 2018

It is time to take stock of where we are and what happened the last year or so.
It has been an interesting year full of up's and down's, as usual for any company that is still a start-up, as we see ourselves.
Overall, we are very happy with the way things have gone.

After selling nearly 1000 Nimbles, we can safely say that it is a rock solid device and we are, overall, quite happy with the way it has performed.

No matter how good a system, there are always things that do not work as planned or designed. Especially in an area as 3D printing, with the enormous amount of variables and different printers, control boards, firmware settings, hot ends etc.

Approximately 1.6% of customers have faced problems after switching to the Nimble. After careful analysis of these issues, we have determined 5 main factors that play a part in this. Sometimes it is a combination, sometimes one single cause.

The four main causes are:

  • Existing printer issues
  • Over-tightening the bolts
  • Worm dimensions
  • Lubrication
  • Steppers

Existing printer issues
We prefer to do a video call with customers experiencing problems so that we can check over their printer for indications of any possible cause. On some occasions, this has shown that the Nimble was not the root cause.

Over-tightening the bolts
Yes, it is a thing. We found that some people tighten the bolts so much that it bent the Nimble slightly.

We've since changed the design to make it stiffer in that area and given guidelines how to best tighten the bolts in the documentation.

Worm dimensions
Some of the worms were slightly asymmetrical resulting in visible print artifacts. We have found the cause of the issue and have worked closely with the manufacturer to make sure that it will not happen again. Basically, the cooldown time in the injection mold was a bit too short. That was an easy fix.

We are also making a worm lathe to double check each and every worm that goes out. It will automatically cut the worm to size if it is not correct.

Of course, we have replaced all worms where none of the other causes was found, as long as we know about it.

We've found that the lubricant we initially supplied was perhaps not the best option. What is needed is a good silicone grease which we now supply with every Nimble.

Customers have also found that the wonderfully named Diff Lube K10, a sticky kind of oil that is very slippery and at the same time sticks to everything, is a great option for self-replacement.

This is a tricky cause for surface problems because the only way to test it is to buy a new stepper and see if it works. This is why we usually advise it as the last option. Some steppers ask for a bit more tuning than others and it can be quite tricky to get right. Ourselves and many customers have had results with this stepper.

It continues to surprise us that some people seem to expect zero customer support! We'd like to reiterate. When you join the Zesty family, it means you believe in considered design and real user support – which means our relationship doesn’t end after you buy the Nimble. Just shoot us an email and we're there for you.

At the end of 2017 we needed to restock and due to supplier shutdowns over Christmas we got stuck with an uncharacteristic delay in shipments, it was really hard for us, and we thank all of our customers for bearing with us during this time.

We think the wait was worth it.

We changed from using SLS for the printed parts to a new supplier and the HP Jet Fusion process, this will allow us to print parts more frequently, cutting out our leading cause for previous delays.

Pile of Nimble shells using the Jet Fusion process

We redesigned both sleeve clamps. The Nimble side is changed making the two mounting bolts the same length. This also has the added benefit that assembly and drive cable removal are now simpler. On the bracket side, we changed to a bayonet fitting which appreciably reduces assembly time.

Additional benefits of switching to Jet Fusion; The housing is now even stiffer and has a higher accuracy than ever before.

This is all part of our continuous drive to keep improving our products. We are even trying to make it a little lighter. Despite the fact that it is already the lightest extruder in the world.

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