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article imageNew algorithm speeds up 3D printing two-fold

By Tim Sandle     Dec 3, 2017 in Technology
Detroit - An algorithm has been developed with enables 3D printers to work at twice the current speed. This is without sacrificing the quality of the end-product.
The development comes from the University of Michigan and the key to faster printing stems from the algorithm being able to preemptively compensate for the vibrations caused by 3D printers. In trials, this has led to printers running twice as quickly to printer models in commercial use. The appeal to business is that the algorithm can be used current printers, with no additional hardware required.
The researchers from the university have shown how vibrations, which arise through mechanical action of the movable parts from 3D printers, affect quality and speed (this is a problem often encountered by users of 3D printers). Unsurprisingly, attempts to run 3D printers faster lead to a reduction in quality.
Commenting on the new filtered b-spline algorithm, Chinedum Okwudire, who is a professor of mechanical engineering at the university, said: "Armed with knowledge of the printer’s dynamic behavior, the program anticipates when the printer may vibrate excessively and adjusts its motions accordingly.”
Vibration control
The functioning of the new algorithm is outlined in the following video:
The algorithm has been described in a paper, titled: "A limited-preview filtered B-spline approach to tracking control – With application to vibration-induced error compensation of a 3D printer", and published in the journal Mechatronics.
The research paper describes how the researchers ran the algorithm to print a replica of the U.S. Capital at two times the speed that the process would ordinarily have taken. The model was created on a HICTOP Prusa i3 3D printer.
Incorportating the new algorithm
The use of the algorithm led to lower shaking of the printer, as assessed by measurements showing that compensation of tracking errors caused by structural vibrations of a stepper-motor-driven 3D printer was effective.
First of all the model was printed without the algorithm and then, secondly, the model was recreated using the algorithm. The algorithm will eventually be incorporated into the firmware of a range of 3D printers.
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