Aug 11, 2012

TangiBot - low cost Replicator clone

Clone wars have just begun! TangiBot is 100% compatible Makerbot Replicator clone for 2/3 of the price. We will see how will Makerbot react to this, by launching nuclear lawyer strike or staying true to their Open Source roots.

From Kickstarter page:

What does supporting this project mean to you?

By supporting this project you are doing one or more of the following:
  • Making a contribution for which you will receive a token of appreciation (a printed medallion and your name listed on the company website forever)
  • Pre-purchasing a TangiBot

What is a TangiBot?

The TangiBot is a Makerbot Replicator clone. It offers the same great performance and features of the Makerbot Replicator but it costs roughly 2/3 what Makerbot charges you for it.  Depending on the model you buy that is anywhere from $550-700 off! TangiBot is 100% compatible with all Makerbot Replicator firmware upgrades, parts and accessories. The only difference between the TangiBot and the Makerbot Replicator is that the TangiBot is NOT made by Makerbot.
Please keep in mind that the TangiBot and The Replicator might differ slightly in appearance due to a difference in suppliers. For example, the wires clips might be a different shape or color.

Why should you buy a TangiBot?

Quite simply, because the TangiBot is a Makerbot Replicator clone, the TangiBot is the best 3D printer on the market with a very active community of owners.  Here is a quick list of the benefits of buying a TangiBot:
  • 2/3 the price of the Makerbot Replicator (discount of $550-700)
  • The highest quality 3D printer
  • The best features
  • You can get it fully assembled and tested in Acrylic
  • 100% compatible with all MakerBot Replicator Parts
  • A very active community of owners
  • Thousands of designs available to download online
  • Design your own parts, toys, games, and models

Why are there 4 different models of TangiBot?

The standard TangiBot comes in a high quality plywood case with a single extruder.  You can also buy the TangiBot in an acrylic (plastic) case or with a dual extruder.  The dual extruder is capable of printing more than one color of plastic at the same time.  Your four options are:
  • ($1199) Plywood Single Extrusion
  • ($1299) Acrylic Single Extrusion
  • ($1299) Plywood Dual Extrusion
  • ($1399) Acrylic Dual Extrusion
Please keep in mind that if you want to buy a fully assembled and tested TangiBot in Acrylic you can only get it here.

How do you use the TangiBot?

The TangiBot prints anything you can imagine out of ABS plastic.  You can design your own parts using free tools like or Google Sketchup.  If you have access to a professional CAD tool like ProEngineer or Solidworks, those tools will also work.  You can also download parts from online.  One of the biggest and most popular places to download parts is  Many of the online design tools (like tinkerCAD) also have databases where you can search for parts to print.
Don't let the word "CAD" intimidate you.  CAD has long been a tool for professional engineers but in the last few years many free and easy to use tools have become available to the public.  I am a big fan of tinkerCAD because it is so easy to use.

What can you use your printed parts for?

I have used the parts I printed for all kinds of things.  Here is a list of some of the things I have printed on my TangiBot in the past few weeks:
  • Parts to fix the icemaker in my fridge (this saved me $100 in parts and $75 for a repair man)
  • New parts for my tripod (this saved me $25 and 1 week I didn't have to wait for shipping)
  • Parts to fix my toilet (this saved me $45 in parts and a trip to the hardware store)
  • A mount for my smart phone to attach to the handlebars of my bike (similar products cost $20-25 and mine works exactly the way I want it to because I printed it)
  • Custom hangers to hang things like my kids Nerf guns on the wall
  • Desk accessories (pen holders, etc.)
  • A penny catapult for the game SEEJ (search for SEEJ on
  • Tool holders and organizers for my shop
  • Drink coasters with my kids names on them
  • Toys for my kids and the neighborhood kids
  • Engineering prototype parts
My printer regularly runs 10-12 hours a day printing all kinds of things.  In the past few weeks my TangiBot has saved me about $300-350 because I have made things instead of having to buy them.

How much does the Plastic Cost?

Plastic can be bought from many sources on the internet.  The TangiBot uses 1.75/1.8mm filament plastic.  It can use either ABS or PLA plastic.  For 1Kg (2.2 lbs) of ABS plastic you will spend anywhere from $25-45 depending on the color and who you buy it from.  Plastic comes in all colors.  There are even special colors available like glow in the dark!
Your single extrusion TangiBot comes with 1Kg (2.2 lbs) of white ABS plastic.  The dual extrusion TangiBot comes with 2Kg of plastic - 1Kg of while and 1 Kg of black.

How much will 1Kg (2.2 lbs.) of plastic print? 

This is a tough question because it really depends on what you print.  I printed all of the stuff I listed above and used about 75% of a 1Kg spool.  Similar to a computers "draft" mode, the TangiBot has different settings you can use to control how much plastic you use when you print.  For example, you can decide if you want your parts to be anywhere from hollow to 100% solid.  In my example above, where I used 75% of a 1Kg spool, I printed most of the parts anywhere between 10% solid and 33% solid.

Why am I on Kickstarter?

I am ready to start production but don't have the money.  I need 400 people to pre-order the TangiBot so that I can begin production.  This is where you come in.  Please buy a TangiBot today.  If you are an international order please be sure to buy the international shipping as well.

How was this prototype made?

The prototype you saw in the video was made by taking parts from three different sources.
  • I manufactured some of the parts locally in Utah
  • I bought parts like rods, motors, linear bearings, screws, nuts, etc. from suppliers
  • I took parts from a Makerbot Replicator
Before anyone cries foul and claims that using parts from a Makerbot Replicator in my prototype is cheating please consider the following. I have not yet produced any tooling to manufacture plastic parts. Plastics tooling requires a significant investment of money and yet, I need my prototype to be as close to production quality as possible. The parts I produce with my own plastic tooling will be identical to those made by Makerbot. Because of this, I used the plastic parts from a Makerbot Replicator in my TangiBot.

Who is 3DTangible?

3DTangible consists of me and a professional network of firmware, software, electrical, mechanical, and manufacturing engineers as well as manufacturing facilities. This is the same network of professionals that I used to develop Cricut Products while I was employed by Provo Craft.
If this project funds I will need to hire a few people in the coming months to help handle things like customer service, sales and marketing. I am serious about building a world class company. As the needs of the business grow I plan on investing in the future.

The Plan

At a very high level, here are the steps that I will follow as soon as the project funds:
  • Release production files for tooling
  • Develop and launch company website (including customer service portal)
  • Produce first round of production samples from production tooling
  • Modify tooling and setup production line
  • Produce final samples
  • Approve golden production samples
  • Produce the TangiBot
  • Ship to the US
  • Ship to customers

Why you can trust that 3DTangible will deliver

For the past 7 years I have been developing, producing, and supporting electronic paper cutters for Provo Craft.  Paper Cutters and 3D printers have a lot in common.  I still have access to all of the same world class resources that I had during my time at Provo Craft.  I will use this same network to produce the TangiBot and develop next generation 3D printers.
I built a prototype.  At the time of posting this Kickstarter project, it has been running from 8AM-5PM, 6 days a week for the past 3 weeks.  I have run almost 4 complete 2.2 lbs. spools of ABS through the machine and it is still going. That is almost 10 lbs. of plastic!
Since leaving my full time job in mid-May to pursue 3D printing full time I have done nothing but research, build and prepare to manufacture the TangiBot.  Before this, I have followed 3D printing very closely.  I am now at the point that I can start production tooling but I don’t have the money.  This is why I have come to
Here is a bulleted list of some of my other qualifications:
  • 7 years of experience developing, producing and supporting electronic paper cutters
  • 10 years of experience in software and firmware development, support and production
  • BS in Mechanical Engineering
  • MS in Mechanical Engineering
  • MBA – Product Development
  • Established network of professionals
Please see my bio for more specific information regarding my qualifications.

Warranty and Replacements

The TangiBot does not carry any long-term warranty.  3DTangible will happily work with you to replace any manufacturer defective parts and get your TangiBot running in tip-top shape.  This is the same warranty that Makerbot provides.


Support will be offered by 3DTangible through our website.  In addition, because the TangiBot is identical to The Replicator, there are also many forums and groups of users that are happy to provide tips and help.

How is 3DTangible able to make a Replicator Clone?

The MakerBot Replicator is open source.  In other words, Makerbot makes its design publically available on the internet.  Why do they do this?  Well, it may surprise some of you that Makerbot is required to do this.  You see, MakerBot used other open source designs when designing and producing their 3DPrinters.  When someone uses an open source design in their product they are required to share any improvements in the design with the world.  In other words, if you use open source and then improve on the design you have to share that improvement so that the rest of the world can benefit from it.  3DTangible will also be bound by these same laws and all the improvements we make to the design will also be shared with the public.
Just to be clear, there is nothing illegal, sneaky or underhanded going on here.  Everything is legal and fair.  Makerbot did the exact same thing when creating their business.  This is simply the way open source designs work.  Welcome to the world of open source.