A Series of Modular Events

A Series of Modular Events

We're excited to announce the next evolution in 3D Printer parts from Gulfcoast Robotics. Our MODULAR Product Series aims to bridge the gap between commercial products and printable upgrades.

The 3D Printing industry has always been backwards from most. Creative makers are often the leaders of innovation, inventing the very designs that inspire new products to hit the market. They build and prototype new ideas, companies just tweak and polish these plans for manufacturing on a larger scale. After all, no one recognizes a need more than the users themselves.

Sure, parts are more reliable when CNC milled from metals, or look better when injection molded, but there is plenty that works perfect right off the print bed. Open source is great, but why can't existing, commercial grade components also be extensible for the users?

To compliment both our new and existing designs, we're adding modular points to mount printable bolt-on upgrades. From cameras to handle bars, it offers an expandable platform without the need for DIY modifications or janky workarounds.

Modular Ender 3 Y Carriage Plate

When our first production run of the Ender 3 Y Carriage Plate sold out within days, owners were demanding to know when they would be back in stock. We weren't even sure if there would be an interest, much less a wave of orders depleting the inventory almost overnight.

After the initial launch was complete, we took a step back and listened to the feedback. The reviews were great, 3-point leveling was a big improvement, but customers pointed out one glaring problem... Creality had already changed a lot on the Ender 3 in just a few short weeks. Most notably, The new Ender-3 PRO had a wider Y axis, and bolt patterns were switched from staggered to square on both models. One thing was certain, we had to adapt our design before manufacturing the next batch of plates.

During one of our weekly planning meetings (aka brainstorming sessions), we started tossing around the idea of attachable designs. This was the opportunity to not just adjust, but to evolve as well. "We're clamping our camera mounts between the bed and springs for goodness sake, can't we figure out a better option?" someone exclaimed. The light bulbs flickered on, the gears started to turn and thus a series of Modular products were in motion.

It's such a simple idea, we're not sure why we didn't think of it sooner. Just by adding several additional bolt holes to the carriage plate, owners can now design, print and mount a variety of different upgrades to the machine with ease.

Made from 6061-T6 Tempered Aluminum Alloy, this carriage is already quite a bit more lightweight than the original plate. This means we have some spare weight to work with, and adding extra parts won't noticeably bog down the bed movements.

3D Printed Example Designs

We know there is a lot of creative potential here, but examples can help to showcase ideas and the get the wheels turning. Here are a few example designs we have created to demonstrate the purpose of our Modular products.

GoPro Camera Mount & Handle Bar

Octoprint has made it simple to use cameras with our 3D printers. Whether we want to record time-lapse videos or live streaming print jobs, it's all possible with a cheap webcam and some plugins.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3606128

The Modular Ender 3 Y Carriage Plate features (3) bolt holes on the front left side in a triangle formation, designed to support the extra weight of a camera, plus additional stability during moving shots. The extra (2) bolt holes on the right side are great for lightweight designs, such as the half width handle bar as shown in the photos below.

Full-Width Handle Bar

Impatient makers rejoice! Inspired by one of our absolute favorite mods, the sleek Ender-3 Bed Handle from LarnOm has been redesigned to fit the Modular Y Carriage.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3605862

Don't burn yourself moving the bed while it's still hot, the handle bar stays cool and looks great, making it both a functional and visually pleasing upgrade.

Moving Forward

In the coming weeks, we plan to roll out these Modular features to our entire product line of Y carriage plates, and soon develop similar capabilities for the hotend carriages as well.

For customers who have one of our Y Carriage Plates made prior to these updates, purchased either from us or a Chinese clone, we will release dimensional drawings with measurements to make the holes yourself. Using a drill, M4 cobalt bit and printed schematics, existing plates can be modified to work with Modular bolt-on designs.

We're excited to share these changes and show what's possible with our new series of Modular products. Plus, we look forward to what community created content is made possible with more options!