Interview: Paulo Blank – Minibot Project – Brazil Projects
Hi guys! =D
Most you may know that I’m from Brazil. And we do have a great market of national products for 3DPrinting, but like others, the Chinese market obfuscates the small ones like ours.
And I started a campaign that I want to show to the world, all the good stuff that we produce here, besides our bad politicians.
This is the first of a series that I’ll try to keep writing about the Brazilian market for this hobby that we love.
The first interview is with Paulo Blank, from the Minibot project:
First, let’s go technical:
Q: How the Minibot project started?
A: The idea came inspired by the Tinyboy project, in February of 2016. I was amused by the picture of Taiwanese kids assembling Tinyboys at school, I wondered it could be feasible in Brazil. But the Tinyboy printer was too small and simple, so I decided to make a much better design with standard RepRap parts like Nema17 steppers and Arduino Mega +Ramps board, and finally a better build volume to reach other markets.
Q: As you mentioned, the project was inspired on the OpenSource of the Tinyboy, How that worked?
Q: What are the challenges of fabrication in Brazil?
Q: I heard that the fabrication of this printer, is all crafted, how it works?
Q: The Minibot has an astonishing quality of print, how did you achieve that?
I started in 3D printing in 2012 with a Canadian Prusa-Mendel kit, called Ecksbot. By that time I was impressed by the quality of a homemade machine. Engineers are never satisfied enough, so since that time I work looking for continuous improvements. When I migrated from 2.85mm filaments to 1.75 I was amused by the benefits in quality and reliability. In 2015 I designed a portable 3DP called ‘Maletabot’, assembled one prototyped with very technical success, perfect parts, but building costs made it impossible to produce. So in 2016, I decided to design a much simpler, small and cheaper machine. The first idea was to sell a RepRap kit, but after the prototype phase, we figured the average consumer won’t have enough tools and skills to adjust and assemble the kit and the ‘free technical support’ would kill our business. The Minibot secrets are a good mechanical design, a good selection of hardware parts, very conscious assembly, a lot of attention in details, a lot of testing. This comes to a price, the product is expensive and hard to sell.
I sympathize with him, same thing applies to Argentina and to what happened to my company, Kikai Labs.
I feel bad for him/them after all those years developing it and having no market for it now. He put a lot of work into it! I wish him luck in his future endeavors. I hope the people of Brazil gets to experience all the benefits and fun of 3D printers as time goes by!