3D printers have been growing in popularity among professional users as a low-volume manufacturing tool. Users encountered issues due to the inability in determining the defects during part production. Several techniques have been developed to detect such defects, but these approaches are mainly focused on one such fault. In addition, this detection also uses expensive hardware such as laser distance sensors.
Recently, an algorithm was developed using Raspberry Pi for 3D printing failure detection. This algorithm allows the user to control 3D printer failures such as layer shifting, bed separation, and filament run-out using an AI Failure detection technique. Raspberry Pi and 3D printing devices are connected via a USB cable, and a plug-in -such as OctoPrint – is used to perform the detection successfully. These computer vision algorithms and image processing techniques help the users in saving a lot of time, material, and cost.
The Spaghetti Detector – AEye Assistant
Just like the OctoPrint plug-in, the AEye Assistant connects to a 3D printing server, which allows the user to control the printer remotely. This spaghetti detection device will pause the printing job for the user and check to see if the job needs to be canceled. This spaghetti detector is available on Cloud 3D Print – a 3D printing cloud server – and can be used for free in the beta testing edition. Moreover, the team at Cloud 3D Print has merged all the printing activities on one platform so that the users can perform remote printing activities easily.
Why such a spaghetti detection device is necessary?
- Reducing labor costs: The spaghetti detection device has reduced labor costs by automating the 3D printing process. It means a small team can run a line of printers easily without babysitting each printer for the job.
- The introduction of new 3D materials and components: Over the years, materials scientists have been working to develop new 3D printing materials. The use of these materials has created a path for 3D printer applications in industries like aviation, automotive, packaging, pharmaceuticals, and food. As an example, the introduction of new food-grade nozzles and filament encourages food enthusiasts to participate in the 3D printing landscape. However, the increased development in 3D printing technology means that there will be more printing activities, which may result in failures. To reduce these failures, developing an automated fault detection technique was considered essential.
- Cost-Effectiveness: The reduced cost of manufacturing via 3D printers is among the most prominent pros. But, the failures in 3D printing may lead to some additional costs of raw materials. To minimize this cost, an automated printer remote control was required. In this way, the AI failure detection technique majorly contributes to the cost-effectiveness of 3D printing.
- Minimizing Waste: After the failures occur, a significant amount of raw material is wasted. AEye Assistant- Spaghetti Failure Detection – can help the user in stopping the 3D printing job immediately after detecting spaghettis via camera.
Cloud 3D Print vs OctoPrint – The Best 3D Printing Platform
Some users may be looking for more control and more diversity in their 3D printing jobs. There are some areas where OctoPrint lacks and Cloud 3D Print dominates:
- It is cumbersome to control multiple 3D printers at the same time using OctoPrint. Whereas the Cloud 3D Print platform provides an easy and efficient way to control and monitor multiple 3D printers at the same time.
- The slicer plugin on the OctoPrint works well only for smaller objects in OctoPrint. The team at Cloud 3D Print has included two different slicing engines for the users, which makes Cloud 3D Print convenient to use.
- OctoPrint is difficult to set up and use as it requires an additional hardware configuration. Whereas Cloud 3D Print has a very user-friendly UI.
- Cloud 3D Print consists of a Project Management tool that allows the user to collaborate with their team members more efficiently with cloud-based file sharing and project channels. However, OctoPrint does not consist of these additional features.
The Future: Remote Replacement using Raspberry Pi
Currently, the engineering team is working on a feature that will allow the users to replace the print remotely. The remote removal of a current print using robotic manipulation can be anticipated by the users of Cloud 3D Print as the next big addition on the platform. A robot will follow these steps for an automated replacement of the bed through the given command on Cloud 3D Print:
- First, the robot will grasp the heat-bed steel sheet and place it on the assigned location with the front of the sheet that is in contact with the print bed.
- Then, mechanical parts are designed to tackle the problem of inaccuracy in placement. Among them is a “pushing” mechanical structure that is used to guide the path of the sheet that the robot is pushing.
- Lastly, the robot opens the gripper to place the sheet on the print which completes the replacement.
These automated solutions are important for continuous printing as both non-defective and defective (spaghetti and detachment) printing activities can be carried out. If the automated monitoring and part extraction are integrated on the 3D printing server, it can do wonders for the users. With the proposed automated process of part extraction, the team at Cloud 3D Print hopes to advance the level of autonomy in additive manufacturing to provide better efficiency by reducing the need for human operations.
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