Kit Certification

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Introduction - For D3D Pro

OSE Kit Certification is a certification for producing OSE kits as an independent, certified producer. A certification is required for each specific product that OSE designs and builds - it is not a blanket certification for all OSE products.

Intent. This certification is intended for individuals or organizations who would like to produce OSE kits effectively and efficiently as a way to create a small enterprise. OSE's particular intent is distributing information economy-based ethical enterprises around the world as a means to free people from material constraints (making a living) via efficient production. The efficiency and effectiveness comes into play with respect to making OSE kits and products economically significant. OSE's kit certification is part of its Distributive Enterprise goal. Ideally - other groups would use OSE's distributive economic practice so they can gain financial freedom to pursue meaningful work - while engaging in an ethical enterprise for making a living.

Skill Set Requirement. As an information-based enterprise - kit production and machine production requires a significant learning curve for those who are not experienced in building real things. To this end, we have created an Immersion Training Program for people to enter a deep dive in production training. At the same time - those individuals with significant build experience can adopt our kits and become independent producers without our immersion training.

First OSE Kit. The first kit produced by OSE is the 3D printer kit - for OSE's 3D Printer v18.10 - the official 3D printer release from 2018. If you are interested in producing OSE kits, or finished machines - please email info at opensourceecology dot org to inquire about this certification.

Value Proposition. Anyone is welcome to replicate our kits - they are open source OSHWA compliant. We estimate that a single person in a garage workshop can produce one dozen kits per day. If one uses a $300 markup per kit, then the value generated per day is $3600 - which is quite significant. Note that at the $500 BOM cost of the 3D printer (see 3D Printer Manual), this would make our kit cost $800 - which is comparable to the Prusa i3 MK3 kit cost of $749 - but far above the inexpensive but typically lower quality 3D printer kits from China. It should be noted that redeeming the daily generated value is not easy - it requires significant skill and know-how. However, OSE is willing to share all of its knowhow with anyone who is interested in such immersion.

Note that building 12 kits in a single day has stringent requirements. This level of productivity requires efficiency of tool use, proper workflow organization, and experience. This is what we teach in our Immersion Training.

Licensing. Redeeming this value is a separate question. To assist with capturing value, we are offering certification under OSE as a mark of our open source, distributive enterprise brand. We believe that the ethical stand of OSE (see OSE Character Stand and Promise) is valuable and worth supporting. Licensing is a possible enterprise model for disseminating OSE work - and it is worth exploring. OSE's main business model as of 2018 is education - in our Extreme Manufacturing Workshops.

Certification Overview

As a Distributive Enterprise organization - OSE encourages others to produce OSE kits. Anyone is welcome to build from our plans independently. However, to obtain OSE Certification as an official mark of quality dated by year of issue and endorsed by OSE - the producer has the option to apply for certification using the process below.

The the first kit that OSE is producing is the 3D Printer. This kit is ready for widespread replication, and is documented in the 3D Printer Manual for the 3D Printer v18.10. This is the first major documentation manual since the Civilization Starter Kit v0.01 of 2012 - which included 4 early prototype heavy machines. In contrast, the 3D Printer v18.10 has gone through about a dozen iterations to arrive at the current version. We deem the v18.10 as a product release in a high level of refinement - using mostly state of art components - with no major bugs affecting performance. v18.10 has run successfully with a direct-drive extruder at 200 mm/sec print speeds, and is currently undergoing regular use in part production for additional printers. The high performance aspects include:

  1. Rigid steel space frame
  2. Non-moving print bed - bed moves only in the Z direction and allows for tall, columnar prints at high speeds - unlike most low-end printers in which the bed moves in the Y direction
  3. PEI build plate surface
  4. Titan Aero extruder by E3D
  5. Universal Axis motion system
  6. LCD screen - with babystepping for first layer finetuning
  7. Height probe for automated bed leveling
  8. Scalable, modular design for flexibility
  9. Interchangeable tool heads
  10. Approximately 2x lower unique part count than any other 3D printer in the world

To produce the 3D Printer kit, one must be able to do the following steps:

  1. Understand the build of the OSE 3D Printer by having built one or more of them. Kit Certification is typically intended to be taken together with Build Certification - where the individual builds the intended kit to a finished product. One must understand how the OSE printer is built in order to produce kits effectively.
  2. Source materials according to the 3D Printer BOM
  3. From sourced materials, preparing a complete and tested kit sufficient for building one D3D v18.10 3D printer completely.
  4. Package the kit and ship to the customer
  5. Build a working machine from the kit for kit validation
  6. Document the kit build and machine build to allow for distributed quality control


Criteria for a successful kit production operation include:

  1. Efficiency and Effectiveness - Short build time. 4 kits per day is decent production for 1 person, but if taken in more of an assembly line fashion with good ergonomic setup and efficient tools - it should be possible for a single person to build 12 kits comfortably in a single 8 hour day.
  2. Organization - Effective inventorying. Proper arrangement of parts in supply bins is required for organizing materials effectively.
  3. 3D Printing - Ability to 3D print parts for the kit. Many of the critical axis parts and other components are 3D printed, requiring 24-72 hours of print time. OSE's 3D Printer must be used for part printing. This means that part of the certification cost is the acquisition of a kit to produce 3D printed parts and to study the OSE printer design - for the purpose of making improvements in the future.

Comparison to Industry Standards

It is useful to benchmark the OSE 3D printer to its 2 closest counterparts: Prusa i3 MK3 - and Jellybox. The Prusa printer is currently the most popular hobby 3D printer in the world - selling 8000 printers per month as of Mar 2018 (conversation with Josef Prusa). Jellybox is the top rated (by Make) 3D printer for education - with very high quality prints - but no heated bed and a 6x6" print surface.

Let's review the specifications of the Prusa i3 MK3 and Jellybox with respect to OSE's D3D printer:

  1. D3D - rigid steel space frame, CNC cut. Prusa - aluminum frame, CNC cut. Jellybox - arylic plastic frame. From an industrial perspective - steel and aluminum last a long time and are fire proof, while an acrylic frame can melt and may be a fire hazard.
  2. Non-moving print bed - bed moves only in the Z direction and allows for tall, columnar prints at high speeds. Prusa and Jellybox - the bed moves in the Y direction
  3. PEI build plate surface - D3D and Prusa. Jellybox uses blue painter's tape.
  4. Titan Aero extruder by E3D on D3D. Jellybox uses E3D v6 with volcano hot end, and Prusa uses its own custom extruder.
  5. Universal Axis motion system on D3D. This is scalable and modular. This is valuable from the modular, Construction Set Approach for someone who is interested in building different machines with OSE's Universal Axis robotics construction set. The construction set aspect is unmatched.
  6. LCD screen - with babystepping for first layer finetuning on D3D. Jellybox has this feature - and the Prusa also has advanced electronics which allow endstop-less design. The Prusa excels here: power can be shut off and it can resume printing when power is back on - as if nothing happened.
  7. Height probe for automated bed leveling. All are equivalent on this point.
  8. Scalable, modular design for flexibility. D3D is unmatched here by any printer, allowing, for example, the build of a printer with a 1 meter bed.
  9. Interchangeable tool heads - D3D is unmatched here - simply remove 2 small bolts and use another tool heat. We have already build a state-of-art D3D CNC Circuit Mill
  10. Approximately 2x lower unique part count than any other 3D printer in the world. D3D exceeds all other printers in its simplicity - and thus can be built from easy-to-source, off-the-shelf parts. No other commercial printer uses common parts - they all use custom fabricated components from supply chains that are not accessible to the public.
  11. Applications - we sell the D3D alone or bundled with an invitation to build workshops, OSE Clubs, and Professional Development. Jellybox also offers an invitation to professional development, while Prusa only sells kits. OSE is the only organization with an explicit program for public product development.
  12. Cost - D3D is $799 for a ready-to-build kit, Prusa is $749 for the kit, and Jellybox is $999 for the kit.

Individual Kit Certification

Effectiveness and Efficiency: The ability to prepare a kit from sourced materials must be done effectively and efficiently in order for a kit to be viable enterprise and an economically significant product. We are interested in distributed production of kits - with accompanying capacity for distributed quality control. OSE is testing whether distributed production of kits is a viable business model, including proper quality control.

Distributed Quality Control: can be achieved by a combination of easy-to-source off-the-shelf parts, reliable sourcing, simple design, and quality control checklists. OSE is testing not only the viability of distributed kit production - but also - of distributed quality control.

Distributed quality control begins with kit producers demonstrating the ability to produce, test, and document their kit. Certification may be done on the OSE premises on an appointment basis - or remotely via a Certification Application - in which the final product is built and sample prints are produced with both regular filaments such as PLA and with flexible filaments. Both OSE staff and outside collaborators are eligible for submitting their Application - as OSE is an open organization that encourages others to replicate OSE work.

Certification Process: To get certified to produce kits, the producer builds the kit from parts, and submits necessary documentation. The submission would be pictures, answers to key build quetions, checklists, and some written notes on the wiki. The documentation part will require 1-2 hours to record/embed pictures on the wiki, in addition to the actual kit preparation.

Kit Training: For anyone to get certified to build kits, the best place to get training is during OSE's Immersion Training Program. Otherwise, one may learn the build independently by picking up the 3D Printer Manual and studying the wiki for additional information.

Certification Metrics: In both cases of Kit + Build Certification, the certification would be represented by a percentage score based on well-defined criteria recorded on a checklist - so there is no ambiguity on what the grading actually means. Thus, we can create a transparent certification where everyone understands clearly the level of competency that is achieved.

Transparency and Open Enterprise: Making the kit certification process transparent allows for an educational component - where third parties can learn OSE's techniques independently. This can be both an educational and aspirational process for all of the OSE community - and especially useful to those people who are considering starting their own microfactory.

Testing and Measurement: The certification application Part 1 involves producing a kit with documentation of the kit preparation process. Part 2 of the application involves building a working 3D printer, and submitting the printer for review by OSE. OSE will test the printer in a 24 hour print at 50 mm/sec print speed, and then the same print at 200%, 300%, and 400% print speed.

Measurement occurs on a scale from 0-100% for Part 1 and the same score range for Part 2. These scores include a component of how much time it takes to prepare a kit, which reflects the effectiveness of workspace organization and tool use.

Granting of certification is marked by an OSE certificate in writing, noting the score on Part 1 and 2, and a narrative on the kit certification in terms of score, issues, and possible improvements.

Certification Duration

Duration of certification is the time for which the certification is valid. The duration shall be for 2 years from the granting date of the certification. At that point, the certified individual or organization has the right to use the OSE Certified mark on their printers, which is a sticker with a certification number that is documented on the OSE wiki. Labels with the OSE Certified Logo may be affixed to the 3D printers that are produced under this certification.


The kit is desiged such that a complete machine can be built from a prepared kit in 5 hours, and 6 hours until a successful benchmark print of 3D Benchy. The 6 hour benchmark includes cleanup of all wiring such that the printer is production-ready for doing long, demanding prints. Kits can be prepared such that it takes either more - or less - effort than the 6 hours - but the 6 hours is chosen so that it is practical to run One Day workshops with it. In order to achieve such a build time, the kit must be in a sufficient state of completion that allows a 6 hour build. The trade-off for the kit is the level of completion: the easier the kit is to build and the less time it takes - the more time it will take to prepare the kit. The time to prepare a kit should be no more than 2 hours based on the simplicity of the OSE design - and that is starting from off-the-shelf parts.

The kit is prepared such that no soldering or drilling is required for the builder - only assembly, fitting, aligning, and other steps. For this to happen, the level of completion of a kit is:

  1. Frame - all pieces shipped with the required holes - no drilling is necessary. Frame must be cleaned with a rag and acetone so that in the JB-Welded case of a build - the JB produces a solid frame without the epoxy coming off
  2. Axes - rods are cut to size and ends are ground smooth; all printed pieces are cleaned up so holes are clean and no skirt or extra/loose plastic is hanging off the parts. Belts are cut to size.
  3. Bed - PEI and adhesive surface are cut to size, +/- 1/8". Bed has power wires soldered.
  4. Extruder - nozzle is pre-tightened with heat.
  5. Wiring - all wires are extended as needed, soldered, heat shrunk, and tinned. This includes bed, z probe, power supply, arduino, 2 fans, and extruder wiring.
  6. Electronics mounting board - holes are pre-drilled (or mounting plate is 3D printed) for mounting all electronic components with zip ties
  7. Controller - all components are tested.
  8. All modules are packed in a box, including small tools for assembly.
  9. Tools needed for assembly from a finished kit are: (1) 5 mm Allen wrench, (2) 3 mm flathead screwdriver, (3) #2 Philips screwdriver, (4) pliers, and (5) - magnets for assembling the frame.

Supplies needed are electrical tape and crazy glue, plus a 0.4 needle for unclogging the nozzle.

Electronics testing

All wires connected, cut to size, lengthened, soldered, heat shrunk, and tinned for every component. Whole setup is connected to RAMPS

  • Power supply cord is connected, tested, and cable tied to power supply
  • Arduino has power wires soldered on and connected to power supply
  • RAMPS has all the motion stepper drivers and jumpers connected, all stepper motors connected, and each driver is tested in place using the LCD screen connected for testing each motor. Each motor moves correctly. 2 thermistors are connected and show the correct temperature.
  • Extruder motor is tested with Cold Extrusion enabled with M302 S0
  • Bed wiring - Power wires are cut to size, power wires are soldered to the heat bed. Ends of wires are tinned.
  • MOSFET is tested by connecting to RAMPS and activating the heat bed.


Build Steps and Time

Kit preparation involves a number of steps, and these are summed up in this spreadsheet. Most of the steps take a short amount of time - but there is a large number of them. Thus, chunking kit production in batches is useful for efficiency. Good organization and workspace layout is critical for keeping build time to a minimum.


Certification Process

Kit Preparation

  1. Review this wiki page
  2. Stet up a [[ Your_Name Kit Certification ]] page on your log.
  3. Set aside a 4 hour chunk of time for the entire Kit Certification process and coordinate Certification time and date with Instructor.
  4. Before beginning the build, make sure that you inventory the entire BOM to make sure that you are not missing any components.
  5. Make sure you have access to the internet, a device for realtime upload of pictures, and a device for filling in the 2 cloud editable documents below.
  6. Make a Copy of the Kit Spreadsheet - [1] - and electronics checklist - [2], and embed these 2 documents with an edit link on your Work Log. Share editing privileges with Instructor.
  7. Verify workspace ergonomics 3D Printer Kit Build Workspace, modify with your actual setup - and embed your setup with picture of your setup on your [[ Your_Name Kit Certification ]] page
  8. Copy Build Certification text to your certification page.
  9. Get a timer and mark the time for the first 3 steps in the Kit Spreadsheet. Mark beginning time only.
  10. Lay out tools and jigs
  11. Lay out materials
  12. Prepare workspace
  13. Take pictures as indicated in the spreadsheet, and upload them on an ongoing basis to your personal FB for verification by instructor.
  14. Take time measurements of each step. Mark beginning time only. If you take a break, note that in the time sheet so only kit preparation time is measured.
  15. Make any notes on the build or results in the Notes column.
  16. Put an X in column E to mark that you have done a step
  17. Paste a link to your FB picture in the red box in the spreadsheet - all subsequent pictures should be uploaded as comments
  18. Prepare all module parts as in Kit Spreadsheet
  19. Go through electronics testing
  20. Comment on improvements that can be made to the Kit Build procedure - both for main steps and electronics. Write down your comments on your [[ Your_Name Kit Certification ]] - in a top level heading section , Comments and Improvements
  21. Pack kit
  22. Ship kit

Build Certification

See Build Certification


Evaluation of the kit and build is performed to verify that kit builders are able to build the OSE D3D 3D printer to specificiations, and within a 4 hour time period for the kit and a 6 hour period for the 3D printer build from kit. The final step is a printed object: 3DBenchy as a rigorouus test of printer performance. To keep accurate time, the kit prep must be performed within one day - and the kit build must be done in a continuos block of time on 1 day with lunch break to simulate actual build conditions.

Evaluation of trainees who are performing kit and build certification remotely involves the following steps. Evaluation will be taken via the pictures and time of completion. There are two scores: one is effectiveness, two is efficiency (time). There are 4 sections that are to be included in your [[ Your_Name Kit Certification ]] page on your log, under top level headings:

  1. Kit Prep workspace setup document, modified for actual setup
  2. Kit Prep main spreadsheet
  3. Kit Prep electronics document
  4. Build document
  5. Time lapse video of build
  6. Improvements and Comments section

Kit Prep Evaluation

Kit preparation for certification requires ALL of these steps:

  1. Kit Prep
    1. 5 points per completion step for 14 pictures. Verification of pictures via build by OSE staff.
    2. 5 points per completion step of 10 additional pictures of electronics prep
    3. Keeping accurate time on your main document - 5 points
    4. Keeping accurate time on your electronics document - 5 points.
    5. 10 points - comments on improvement suggestions
    6. Time: measured, must be under 4 hours.
    7. Embedding of main spreadsheet with links on your kit certification page - 5 points
    8. Embedding of electroncics spreadsheet on your kit certification page - 5 points
    9. Embedding of workspace setup document on your kit certification page - 5 points
    10. Embedding of Build Certification on your kit certification page - 5 points
    11. Packing kit - 5 points
    12. Shipping kit - 5 points
    13. Printing bonus - 10 points - if no cleaning/reaming is required for any kit parts upon the kit verification build
    14. Kit perfection bonus - 10 points if no rework is required upon the kit verification build
    15. Kit completion bonus - 10 points if no parts are missing upon the kit verification build

Build Evaluation

The kit build is evaluated based on the pictures and data submitted. One kit shall be shipped to OSE headquarters for further evaluation. Further evaluation involves more detailed quality control of parts - on top of the pictures and data already submitted. Attention will be paid to kit completeness and quality of parts. Perfect results mean that there are no missing parts, no defects in parts, and no additional work or rework is needed on any of the parts in order to perform a successful build.

As a deeper evaluation of the kit - OSE staff will build the kit to document that an efficient build is possible - proving kit completeness and adequate part quality. Any new observations regarding kit quality will be made at this time. The build by OSE staff constitutes a definitive verification of kit quality - as verified by the simple fact that a successful build can be performed by trained OSE staff. There are 2 requirements for a perfect score on the kit: no defects, no incompletely prepared parts, no rework needed on incorrectly-prepared parts, and no missing parts.

For the kit verification via OSE staff build - the only tools required are pliers, 5 mm hex bit, a 3 mm flathead screwdriver, side cutters, and a #2 philips head screwdriver.

Here is the score breakdown:

  1. Build - Quality of 3DBenchy print. 6 hours or under. See detailed procedure at Build Certification.
    1. 5 points for every picture of Build Certification (about 25 pictures or more if needed)
    2. Keeping accurate track of time - 5 points
    3. Quality of 3DBenchy - 5 points for each picture set, for the best set of 8 pictures
    4. Time lapse video of the entire build is presented at 10 second interval using OpenCamera app. - 20 points
    5. Upload of timelapse to a video site and embedding as the 5th asset on your kit certification page
    6. Bonus - 10 points if babystepping correction succeeds in achieving a successful print on the very first attempt.
    7. Production print - 50 points - verifies that everything is tight and printer is ready for shipping.

Kit Build Procedure By Kit Preparer

The final step in kit certification is demonstration of a kit build from the prepared kit - by the kit builder. There are several requirements:

  1. The kit must be built in one sitting to simulate a real working day, with a 1 hour break for lunch
  2. The build must start at 9 AM and finish by 4 pm
  3. Time lapse must be taken from start to finish at a 10 second interval, and uploaded to YouTube or video sharing site, and embedded on the builder's log
  4. Build data is recorded as in the embedded Build Certification template
  5. Builder must print 3DBenchy with the completed printer. If any tuning is required, that must also be done. Both the first and more tuned versions of the 3D benchy must be photographed from 6 sides: top for layer quality, bottom for first layer adhesion, front to observe symmetry, back for fine letters and symmetry, right side for overhang quality, left side. Finally, the length (60 mm) and width (31 mm) must be measured.


Build time for kit should be under 4 hours, and build of final machine to a quality 3DBenchy should be 6 hours.


The certification is a quantification of competency for producing 3D printers, and is intended for future improvement of one's 3D printer building competency. The intent is to improve on the score with time. The minimum baseline is 4 hours for a single kit, and 2 hours each when doing 4 kits at one time. An experienced kit builder should be able to produce 12 kits to spec in an 8 hour day.


  • Is a socket needed for heat-tightening the nozzle, or is an adjustable wrench sufficient? Depends on the user.
  • Can you include the time, capital, and process it takes to order all the materials, and some info on the amount of capital you need to get make how many kits so that the economics makes sense? Ans: One sheet of steel for 6 frames is $300. The rest of the BOM is in the 3D Printer BOM, which costs $631 for 1 kit, with usage cost of $472. Counting only the 3D printing filament cost of $20 instead of $50 which accounts for some of the time, the cost is $442
  • Can you include the time & process it takes to send prep package to be sent to an actual location, assuming it's shipped somewhere? Ans: Process for shipping is going to FedEx to secure a 14" large box, and shipping at a cost of $40. Packing should be in plastic bags and paper packing for the box.

Kit Preparation

  • "it should be possible for a single person to build 12 kits comfortably in a single 8 hour day."
    • does this include assume a minimum of 2, 15-minute breaks, and a 30 minute lunch break? Ans: This assumes a one hour break for lunch.
    • can you give a time & process breakdown, I'd like to see a bottom-up calculation of time expectations:
Kit Prep Expectations
#ofKits\Metrics Prep Frame & Axes Axes + 3D Printed Parts Heated Bed Extruder Control Panel+Electronics+Nozzle Tightening Final Packing Total Time
1-novice 60 min 60 min 15 min 10 min 60 min 90 min 20 min 315
1-advanced 0 min 30 min 10 min 5 min 30 min 45 min 10 min 130 min
2-novice depends

Build Expectations

Kit Build Expectations
#ofKits\Metrics Prep Frame & Axes Axes + 3D Printed Parts Heated Bed Extruder Control Panel+Electronics+Nozzle Tightening Wire Routing and Cleanup Total Time
1-novice 15 min 90 min 150 min 20 min 60 min 0 120 min 455 min
1-advanced 5 min 45 min 100 min 10 min 15 min 0 60 min 235 min
2-novice depends
2-advanced 0 hr
4-novice depends