On June 4th I ordered PCB’s from OSHPark for a Ciclop 3D Scanner, the OSHPark turnaround was amazing and my PCB’s were manufactured and shipped on the 12th. On June 16th I had three beautiful purple circuit boards in a nice purple envelope.

Zum Scan PCB Package

I had already ordered all of the parts using a Mouser project list that I found online, and the parts had arrived last week. Really easy shield assembly as BQ had marked the board well and provided a nice BOM and image. The pads on the OSHPark boards were easy to solder to and the shield went together really quickly.

Zum Scan PCB Front Assembled
Zum Scan PCB Back Assembled

I am waiting on some more parts to arrive, and am still printing out all of the parts using .1mm layer height with Hatchbox Orange PLA. I did use Taulman alloy 910 for the shaft coupler.

I used a hacksaw to cut all the threaded rod pieces to size and have received the 16014 bearing which is huge and it fits perfectly in the bearing holder.

Ciclop Bearing Holder
Ciclop Bearing Holder with bearing

Some of the parts provided by bq for the Ciclop scanner are too big for my Printrbot Simple Metal, but I found some nice models for the pieces that are too large.

The holes on the smaller bearing holder exactly match the larger file, so the same acrylic disc dfx file can be used.

Ciclop Pattern Holder
Ciclop Parts

I still have to print the largest part (the motor housing) and am waiting on lasers, the motor and stepper drivers to arrive. I also am working on getting the acrylic laser cutting done.

I am also considering using an Adafruit Metro for the Arduino as it seems to be the closest in form factor to the BQ Zum 328 Uno clone which is not available in the US. The main issue being the USB B connector on most arduinos vs the micro USB connector on the Metro and Zum 328 boards fitting better with the zum scan shield.

Buy a Zum Scan PCB

Don't want to order from 3 places? Buy a Zum Scan PCB and Stepper Driver in the Project Store

One of the more interesting components of open hardware to me has been the theoretical ability to produce low quantity custom hardware based on well tested open source designs at pretty low prices.

I currently don’t have any of my own circuit board designs complete enough to need to print any boards, but I am interested in making a Ciclop 3D Laser Scanner and the Arduino Shield for the scanner is not currently available in the US. It seems to cost about 30 euros in Europe and the hardware files are all available in the zum github repo I decided to see if I could use OSHPark to build my own Zum shield.

I took the files from the github repository and uploaded them to OSHPark in a zip folder and was able to view a preview of the board before ordering.

Average order
Average order

Somehow I did not properly submit the drills file, but OSHPark suppport was able to get my order fixed up before it was submitted to the panel. I placed my order on June 4th, and my order was panelized a few hours after it was ordered. The confirmation mail says OSHPark expects to have the boards back from the fab about June 15th.

After submitting my order I did find that someone has created a shared project for the Zum Scan which does have the drills file submitted to OSHPark successfully.

After ordering the boards I found a project list on the reprap forums for the other components needed for the board on Mouser. I ordered enough parts for all three boards I ordered from OSHPark, I did remove items like male headers and the button that I already have on hand. I also ordered some of the StepStick stepper motor drivers on amazon. Below is a summary of all the items I purchased to make the boards. I bought enough parts and boards to make three Zum Scan Shields, and will have two extra stepper motor drivers when I am done.

</table> </div> It was a pretty easy process to get everything ordered, and I am pleased that the DIY cost remained less than the retail price of the shield, now I wait for all the pieces to arrive.
Part Description Vendor Quantity Total Cost Shipped
Zum Scan PCB 2 Layer printed circuit board for the Zum Scan shield. OSHPark 3 $32.80
Zum Scan Components All the necessary components for the Zum Scan shield. Mouser 3 $32.63
StepStick Stepper Motor Drivers Stepper motor drivers for the shields. Amazon 5 $9.26
Total Component Cost $74.69

After I had my Printrbot Simple Metal for about a month, I found 3D Hubs and I listed my printer at the suggested prices. 3D Hubs suggests a $10 setup fee and $1 per cubic centimeter of filament.

After my printer had been listed about a month I received an inquiry from a college student who wanted to print an Adafruit WiFi camera project it looked simple enough, but he wanted to do the bumper parts in a flexible material which I had not done before. Seemed like a good excuse to try out ninjaflex so I ordered some and printed out the camera parts and learned a little bit about using ninjaflex.

I enjoyed printing the first project, and after a few weeks I received an order for a 3D printer part I printed it out and shipped it off to the customer. I printed one more order in February and started a new job at the beginning of March.

The first couple of months I had my printer I was unemployed so I printed a ton of projects and gifts for the holidays and really got it dialed in. I had several hundred dollars of birthday and Christmas amazon giftcards sitting in my amazon account so every time my daughter wanted to print with a new color I bought it and somehow I wound up with 12 different colors.

Now I was working again and I having printed most of the things I needed for my projects I decided to see if I could use 3DHubs to utilize all the filament I had bought by printing projects for people on 3D Hubs. My total 3D Hubs revenue for February was only $30, so if I planned to pay for my printer and filament I needed some more orders.

3D Hubs releases a monthly 3D printing trends report that aggregates together data from all of their hub orders into an overview. There is a lot of interesting data in this report, including some interesting average order price data by category.

Average order

Looking over the data, all of the categories are quite a bit over $20 for the average order price, and $20 is a pretty powerful dollar amount for most products.

In March I lowered my prices to $0.20 per cubic cm and $5 setup (Lowest prices they allow) for my lowest priced medium quality option and since have done pretty well.

Month # of Orders Total Revenue
February 2 $32.00
March 8 $151.00
April 10 $128.00
May 12 $191.60
Hub Screenshot

At this point 3dhubs has paid for my printer, now I am trying to see if I can pay for all my filament and the new computer I bought to handle 3d software. While I could probably make more money doing software development in my spare time, I have had a lot of fun printing people’s projects and it has not occupied a ton of my time. As a hobby it has been pretty amazing, since it deposits money in my paypal account that I can use to buy more stuff from adafruit.

I have now completed more than 25 orders and am the second highest rated Printrbot Simple Metal on 3D Hubs in the world, and based on the total of 161 reviews for hubs in Seattle it appears that I have accounted for 15-20% of the total order volume on 3D Hubs for Seattle.

Printing people’s projects has really been a great experience and I highly recommend it to people who have their printer dialed in and are trying to figure out what to do with their filament.