3-D printing gets a turbo boost

Posted on 04 Dec 2017 and read 609 times
3-D printing gets a turbo boostA major drawback to additive manufacturing — the relative slowness of the process — could soon be alleviated by a software algorithm developed at the University of Michigan (www.umich.edu).

This allows printers to deliver high-quality results at speeds up to two-times faster than those in common use — with no additional hardware costs.

One of the challenges for today’s 3-D printers lies in machine vibrations. However, armed with knowledge of a printer’s dynamic behaviour, the algorithm anticipates when the printer may vibrate excessively and adjusts its motions accordingly.

Chinedum Okwudire, associate professor (mechanical engineering) at the University of Michigan’s Smart and Sustainable Automation Research Lab, cited statements made last year by a 3-D printing company executive about the issues holding the industry back. S

imon Shen, CEO of XYZPrinting, told TechCrunch: “We’re just waiting for the next evolution of the technology. If printing can be done faster, more precisely and more easily, that will bring more people to 3-D printers, because they will only have to wait 40-60min for a print — not 4-6hr.”

Mr Okwudire said: “Eventually, one of the places we would want to see the algorithm applied is in the firmware — the software that runs on the printer itself. That way, it will be integrated with printers, regardless of their size.”

He added that the software could also be used on a variety of other industrial-grade machines that suffer from similar limitations due to vibration.

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