What is a Blackbox?
Blackbox is multi tool industrial grade robot originally designed by Marc Shöenen in 2015 to overcome the issue on properly integrating flexible materials with rigid materials for the production of flexible robotic appendages. The first edition of Blackbox garnered much acclaim and respect in the industry. The second revision of Blackbox hosted a tool bank with five full tools and a water cooled heat break. This revision was released as an open source project in 2017 and today we are happy to bring you the Blackbox Family of tool changers which encompass a range accessible to the hobbyist, to versions for demanding applications in aerospace and cybernetics.
What is the cost to build a Blackbox?
A popular (and very much relevant) question is the average cost of building a blackbox. We’re now stocking and shipping BOM kits! For those that choose to self source costs will of course vary by build. See the kit availability question below.
Kits and individual components available for shipping worldwide can be found at the KB3D Store.
Here are some figures to get you started:
A 3-Tool Blackbox built with high quality and genuine parts from the KB3D store will cost around 2100.00USD
A complete build including enclosure, hood, 5 tools, ETC using all genuine parts (I.E. E3D, Bondtech, Gates, Duet) will cost around 2800.00USD.
Blackbox is very modular and serviceable. Costs can be reduced significantly using Chinese sourced parts and/or starting with just 1 or 2 tools.
A basic build with no bells+whistles using 2 tools and Chinese parts will not likely cost less than 1400.00USD
Check out the Features and Specs overview HERE to see how Blackbox compares to other tool-changing printers at similar price points.
This machine looks intimidating, can I build one?
Yes, but maybe. Blackbox has some new (to most) design elements that will push you to learn about systems you may not have dealt with before. In general though, the recommendations from other DIY printer build communities translate well. Those are typically as follows:
This probably shouldn’t be your first 3D printer. There are always exceptions, but the experience you have will likely lean on your previously acquired skills from using and maintaining other machines.
Despite our best efforts to guide you along, every machine will be different. From the quality of the printed parts to the nuances of your particular configuration. You should be comfortable with the fact that your attention to detail and where-with-all will determine the final product.
If you’re like me, you will learn a ton, and probably pick up some new tools to make your life easier. Learning takes time, and so will your build. This is not an 8 hour build!
We have a well-established community full of friendly, helpful, and skilled members that can help you with any hurdles along the way. The documentation here at blackbox.family will be your number one resource for nearly everything. Head over to the assembly guide to get your feet wet.
Can I contribute, and how?
Absolutely. Blackbox is free to the world, courtesy of Marc Schoemann (Founder) and the development team. We encourage everyone to give back to the project however possible. Here are some ideas:
Sharing of modifications made to your machine that you think improve the experience or broaden the use case
CAD optimization and contribution
Bug fixes, error reporting, and feedback/suggestions
Help your peers where possible
A small donation, or purchasing parts through our official store at KB3D.
Join the community Here
Is there a kit available for parts?
Yes! Blackbox is now supported by KB3D! Parts are available individually or as comprehensive kits. We continue to work the LDO Motors, Mandala Rose Works, and other trusted community vendors to expand your options.
Where can I find the latest and most up-to-date information on Blackbox?
This wiki page along with our Discord should be your destination for all announcements and official documentation. We have satellite pages all over the web in varying states of out-dated. Blackbox has been a long term project with multiple iterations to achieve refinement. We are actively working to update all other blogs/pages.
Features and Specs:
Blackbox is a fully open source design years in the making. Proven results over multiple iterations creates a solid foundation for a community driven machine limited only by our imaginations.
Build Area = 300x300x275(Z)
Tool-Changing = Up to 5 chassis mounted tools
FDM = Up to 5 direct drive FDM tool heads with excellent positional accuracy via kinematic coupling. Support for multiple hot end configurations. Unique X-axis mounted extruder motor saves cost AND weight.
Watercooling = Passive watercooling of all tools at all times in addition to a passively cooled extruder stepper
CoreXY Motion System = Intuitive belt routing with easy to use tensioning system.
Belt Driven Z-Axis = Extremely fast belted Z axis with counterweight system.
Enclosure = Fully enclosed build volume including a hinged hood
REPRAP = Designed in the spirit of Reprap utilizing easily obtainable and 3D printable parts.
Wiring = Designed with clean and functional wiring in mind.
Bed Leveling and End Stops = Designed to use mechanical switches or digital endstops on XY. Mechanical switch or Duet IR Probe for automatic Z leveling.
Tool Offsets: Fully automated tool offset configuration using the late Danal Estes TAMV alignment system run from a Raspberry Pi.
Heated Bed: #F90:Options for 24V and 120/240V heating.