The TRiBOT is a retrofitted bench top manual milling machine that was designed to take advantage of its initial industrial strength and add practical automated functions for specific manufacturing applications. While the TRiBOT still retains manual milling capability it is really a whole new animal. Where its abilities start, other machines don’t even go.
It is the only tool that can support creators with an idea from prototyping, to perfection, to production.
The TRiBOT is the ultimate tool for creators with great ideas who don’t have access to the multiple machines, tools and technology needed to bring their ideas to life. The TRiBOT offers the unique ability to develop their ideas and prototype them, then perfect them down to the finest detail and then produce them. All with ONE machine. It is the first machine to offer 3-in-1 manufacturing capabilities of 3D Printing, CNC Milling and Auto-Injection Molding. Unlike other 3D printing machines our 3D printer is built on a solid 130 lb iron metal frame. It is capable of printing detailed prototype models while still preserving the practical use as a CNC Mill or manual mill to shape solid steel with ease.The TRiBOT is not a toy. It is a versatile machining tool that offers a never before seen level of support when bringing an idea to life. Most multi-tool machines are printers that mill. Ours is a mill that prints and molds.
Luminar Products is a small manufacturing company located in the beautiful Idaho Treasure Valley right outside of Boise. We plan to send waves through the small scale manufacturing world with our latest machine, the TRiBOT. It is a 3-in-1 multi-manufacturing machine that can 3D print, CNC mill and auto-injection mold. We are passionate about providing inventors, designers, engineers, artists, and anyone with an idea the tools necessary to make it a reality.
The Luminar Products Team in front of our Building
The machine fills the void that currently exists between light duty 3D printers and heavier duty machining and injection molding equipment. It is sometimes difficult to know when you should make the move to larger machinery to increase your manufacturing capabilities. Now there is TRiBOT. Grow your business or expand your hobby and open up new possibilities. Our TRIBOT desktop workshop machine can take your ideas from prototype to production without investing in three different machines at more than three times the cost.
Way more powerful than light duty 3D printers, but less expensive than buying 3 industrial machines
One TRiBOT and one creative idea is everything you need to create your new business.
The TRiBOT is the ultimate tool for creators and the first machine to offer 3D Printing + CNC Milling + Auto-injection Molding in one machine. From creating art, to designing a part for your classic car, to creating a custom guitar effects pedal, to creating your own custom smartphone accessories the TRiBOT will help you do it. It is a desktop machine that provides the multiple manufacturing methods you need to make your ideas become real products. Create concepts and prototypes with 3D printing technology, perfect your design using CNC Milling technology, and replicate it using auto-injection molding.
If you are an entrepreneur, inventor, artist, clothes designer, jewelry designer, engineer, school, lab, manufacturing shop, or just a machine hobbyist who wants the most versatile machine available, the TRiBOT is your new vessel of creativity that will help you create what you’ve always only dreamed about.
Well, besides being the only multi-tool machine offering these three manufacturing capabilities in one machine…
3D Print, CNC Mill, and Injection Molding all in a single desktop machine!
The TRiBOT is a retrofitted bench top manual milling machine that was designed to take advantage of its initial industrial strength and add practical automated functions for specific manufacturing applications.
Built with 130 lb iron Mill Frame the TRiBOT Means Business.
Other companies have tried to label their machines as CNC milling/3D printing dual purpose machines, but in reality they are just 3D printers that happen to have extremely light duty milling capabilities.
These are, at least in regards to their milling capability, very light duty . The TRiBOT is different. This is an industrial strength tool. TRiBOT has the strength, power, and precision you expect from a CNC Milling Machine, but it also has the added flexibility of 3D printing and Injection Molding.
TRiBOT is at home in garages, work rooms, and shops
It is a mini factory ready for creating
The TRiBOT comes complete with a 130 lb iron frame, a 3D printer head, an injection molding head, a CNC mill, onboard computer and monitor, and all the software you need setup and ready to go. Now you can have a “mini factory” anywhere you have a square yard of floor space and a 110 volt electrical outlet.
The TRiBOT can be ordered mounted on a sturdy steel work cart with wheels or on a snazzy workbench. Your choice!
Prototype it. Perfect it. Produce it.
TRiBOT on its (included) heavy duty steel cart.
The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, but here’s some ideas to get your wheels turning:
- belt buckles
- artistic creations
- custom electric circuit boards
- machine parts
- custom guitar pedals
- movie props
- candy molds
- custom wearable tech
- custom parts of any kind
- concept models
Have you ever browsed Thingiverse.com? You can create virtually anything on that website quickly and easily. There are even iPhone apps like Trimensional and 123D Catch that allows you to use your phone to perform a 3d scan of your face or hand or any object and create an STL file you could use to print a bust of that object.
Huge working area!
3D printers are great machines. They allow you to create parts of all kinds quickly and easily and because it is computer driven it can make these parts over and over.
CNC milling machines are great machines. They allow you to drill, mill, bore and shape different materials like wood, plastic, metal or pretty much any material quickly and repeatably.
Here a TRiBOT machine has milled out the front of an extruder head for use on a TRiBOT machine!
Plastic injection molding machines are great machines. They allow injection molding of plastic parts in high volumes and is typically a very fast and cost effective way to make parts.
Utilizing the auto-injection molding technology use filament rather than pellets for your plastic source material and mold in PLA, ABS, Polypropylene, PVDF, PVC, Polyethylene or PFA materials.
This makes for a fairly clean molding operation as spooled filament can be easier and cleaner to manage than plastic pellets. Furthermore, many of the same filament plastics used in 3D printing can also be used in the injection molding. We are even experimenting with injection molding with lead free solder for molded metal parts!
An open five cavity button mold and a small hand full of buttons that were molded with this mold on a TriBot machine.
Computer and Software – All TRiBOTs come with a computer and monitor loaded with everything you need to start creating from day one. The TRiBOT operates using LinuxCNC opensource software and also comes pre-loaded with Meshcam ($250 value). Also included and installed on the computer are SLIC3R and FreeCad 3D software
LinuxCNC is a driver software that reads G-code files and outputs signals which are sent to a stepper motor controller and control all motion on an automated machine tool. MeshCAM writes G-code from an STL file for machining in CNC mode. Slic3r writes G-code from an STL file for 3D printing. FreeCAD 3D is a 3D CAD tool that lets you draw and create STL data for machining in CNC mode or 3D printing.
You can check out these softwares at the following web sites:
MeshCAM at: http://www.grzsoftware.com
SLIC3R at: http://slic3r.org
FreeCAD 3D at: http://www.freecadweb.org
LinuxCNC at: http://www.linuxcnc.org
We have gone through the pain of getting these softwares setup and working on a stable version of Linux so you don’t have to.
Print– While utilizing additive technology create prints with filament 3mm PLA.
Mill– While utilizing subtractive technology create with woods, metals, foams, composites and plastics.
Mold– Utilizing the auto-injection molding technology use filament rather than pellets for your plastic source material and mold in PLA, ABS, Polypropylene, PVDF, PVC, Polyethylene or PFA materials.
The base of our TriBot machine is a 3 axis cast iron Sieg X2D Mini-Mill milling machine. The mill is converted to CNC (computer numeric control) for XY & Z motion controlled machining. A print head for metering out melted, extruded plastic is mounted to the mill head for using the 3D printing function and it is also controlled by computer and synchronized with the 3 axis of the mill. A second more powerful extruder can also be mounted to the mill head and make use of the mill’s 3 axis of control to locate the extruder nozzle over fill ports and inject hot plastic directly into mold cavities where an exact metered volume of plastic shot size is used.
Each of these functions will empower an entrepreneur, inventor, artist, engineer or student to take a design of a part or product from prototype through to production. This one machine does it all.
We manufacture our own extruders in Nampa, Idaho USA. We already make and sell our extruders. We have also developed our extruder design into a larger stronger unit we are using for injecting hot plastic into molds.
Our extruder can lift/pull/push more than 35 pounds via the plastic filament. Consider that with 30 pounds of force against a 3mm (0.118) diameter piece of filament with a cross section area of 0.011 inches square equals more than 2700 PSI pushing into the heater block of the extruder! This kind of power is perfect for small scale plastic injection molding. For 3D printing our extruders are made to use filament of 3mm or 1/8″ diameters and mainly PLA but could also be used for thermoplastics like ABS, Polypropylene, PVC or Polyethylene. For plastic injection molding we use filament rather than pellets for our plastic source material and can mold in PLA, ABS, Polypropylene, PVDF, PVC, Polyethylene or PFA materials.
As an example, let’s walk through how one could use the TRiBOT to create a small football keychain to rep your favorite college team…
1. Prototype using 3D print function – You would start by making use of the 3D printer to prototype or refine and develop a football that you like.
3D printing the football prototype
2. Perfect using CNC Milling Function- Once you are ready you can then use the CNC milling machine to create the mold for your football or a multi-cavity mold if you wish. Simple molds can be made from Teflon TFE which cuts fast and easy. Aluminum molds can also be made which will have greater durability and dimensional stability for parts that will be molded in higher quantities for longer term production.
CNC Milling a mold for the football
3. Produce it using the Injection Mold function- Last but certainly not least, you can setup the plastic injection tooling and start injection molding parts with single or multi-cavity molds automatically!
Injection molded footballs
- The Base 130 pound base mill converted to CNC with a www.stirlingsteele.com 3 axis motion control kit
- Enhanced 11 x 5 x 11 travel area
- 3 NEMA 23 steppers
- 4 axis step and direction controller/driver & DC power supply
- 0.200 pitch Z axis ball screw
- X and Y Lead Screws
- Extruder 3D Printer head which includes a 70 oz/in NEMA 23 gear-head stepper motor, Stainless steel feed tube with 1.5 inch tall copper, heater block 100 watt heater cartridge, Thermocouple and cooling fan
- Filament injection mold head Includes a 120 oz/in NEMA 23 gear-head stepper motor Stainless steel feed tube with 4 inch tall aluminum heater block 280 watt heater cartridge Thermocouple and cooling fan
- 2 PIC digital temperature controllers boxed in an electronic enclosure
- 3D printing stage plate
- Sample pack of 3mm diameter PLA printing filament
- Tooling package including: Vise, 6 piece end mill set, collet set, parallel set, 0-1/2” drill chuck, assorted wrenches, T-Nuts, mounting screws, bar clamps and step blocks
- Wheeled steel service cart with 2 shelves
- Power strip with built in circuit breaker
- Desktop computer with Linux OS, Linux CNC, MeshCAM, Slic3r, and FreeCAD 3D drawing software all pre-installed and ready to use.
- Computer monitor – key board – mouse – cables
- One set of blank aluminum mold plates
3D printer specifications:
11x5x11 build area. Capable of printing multiple plastics at temperatures up to 400 degrees C. Luminar Products super extruder print head with gear head stepper, very strong solid aluminum print head body, copper heater block with stainless steel feed tube and brass nozzles. Prints up to 75 mm per second. 3 amp 4 axis motion controller with 8 micro steps for 1600 steps per motor revolution
CNC Milling Machine specifications:
11x5x11 XYZ travel All cast iron, dovetailed ways heavy duty X2D mini-mill shipping weight about 140 pounds R8 spindle taper accepts common tooling Variable speed DC spindle motor T slotted cast iron table 1 inch drilling capability , 3/4 inch milling capability The CNC converted milling machine also retains its ability to be used as a manual mill when needed
Automatic injection molding machine specifications:
Can inject single or multiple cavities of equal or different shot sizes handles up to 4 cc shot size approximately 206, 4 cc sized molded parts can be created from a 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) spool of plastic plastic weld rod or printer filament. This means no filling with pelletized plastic in between each part. Plastic weld rod or filament is available in many plastic types and colors. computer programed in g-code for automatic injection molding Powerful NEMA 23 200 in/oz stepper motor driven gear head mounted to a Luminar Products super extruder print head with an enlarged 300 watt powered heater block for rapid shot recovery. controlled with g-code so shot size can be programed for each mold cavity.
Our plan is to produce TRiBOT machines in groups of 10 or 15 machines at a time. The biggest upfront expense is the cost of the manual mill to be retro-fitted. We have secured a deal with a major importer of these mills for this quantity of machines. We have equipment for the manufacturing of the CNC mounting hardware and extruders and will hire machine operators as needed to produce the quantity of parts needed. All assembly will be done by the Luminar team in Nampa, ID and shipped from our factory.