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So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer

Posted by johnoly99 
So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 06, 2012 06:12PM
So what do you guys think is the next big thing in the printers? There's already dual (or more) extrusions, heated beds, fans, etc... but what are some ideas of what would be cool to have next? What about multiple tables like commercial CNC's have, where one's printing while the others being "loaded"? Or maybe heated chamber designs? What about the whole lead screw designs?

Just some random thoughts


John "Oly"
SeeMeCNC.com
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 12:30AM
I think the biggest issue with reprap is speed,.. I'd like to see multiple extruders, but all fixed in the same head unit with only a few mm of movement on each head. The idea would be to have 2 or 3 layers printing at a time,.. the 2nd & 3rd heads following a few mm behind the 1st & immediately laying down the next layer.

It would of course mean major hardware, software and firmware changes, so I doubt it'll happen soon - but I do believe its the way forward.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 01:44AM
perfecting the automated build table so you can run one print after another completely unattended would be nice,

with the multiple print head thing, an idea on that would be to still use 1 nozzle to do the outlines but utilise multiple nozzle for the infills ,
if you could get more than 2 independant nozzles less than 5 mm apart on the same "head" then you have somthing to work with, skeinforge would need a bit of modifying but it's workable
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 01:59AM
I would opt for a, let the machine check out the Z-height as an option.
Either a small hole in the bed, so the _not_heated_extruder can push into some small button, and thereby level itself to the correct height.
I recall having seen such a feature on CNC machines.

On a reprap it could be feasible as well, I have thought about doing it alongside the extruder head, problem though is that after the calibration is should move out of the way, because it would interphere with the printing proces after a while. Unless it is taken into the firmware.

If however a dual head is used, than it would be as simple as putting a small tube in between with a mini-switch on top, which would be actived when it hits the bed/glass/print, and not get in the way at all.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 02:27AM
Doesn't Nophead or someone have a head that self adjusts for the Z height, I remember coming accross it somewhere maybe on his blog I can't think it's late here


__________________________________________________________________________
Experimenting in 3D in New Zealand
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 02:58AM
we've already got those, limit switches?
if you set those right your nozzle should be at the correct height every time,

i got it working on my printrbot, although i have done it in a very cheeky way by putting the switch in the direction line on the z axis once it gets to the correct height above thhe table it vibrates a tiny fraction until the move is complete
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 03:36AM
The next big thing (for me) is going to be ethernet connection and true standalone printers. Think about it, no more USB drivers or communication errors, no more stopped prints due to computer crashes, no more swapping SD cards back and forth, no more overpowered desktop computer running 24/7 to control the printer.

Just connect to your printer through a browser, upload the file to print and monitor it from wherever you are. You can even add a webcam and twitter/irc/sms broadcasting. Uploading new firmware would be as simple as upgrading your router, all done through the web GUI.

I'm hoping raspberry pi can be used for this, but haven't looked much into it yet.


--
-Nudel
Blog with RepRap Comic
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 09:23AM
Nudel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The next big thing (for me) is going to be
> ethernet connection and true standalone printers.

> I'm hoping raspberry pi can be used for this, but
> haven't looked much into it yet.


Please Jesus let this come true...

I think they're working over in in the 'Developers' forum.

*fingers crossed*


- akhlut

Just remember - Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!

[myhomelessmind.blogspot.com]
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 10:30AM
I think the next big thing in hobby level printers is SLA. There is plenty of room for improvement to get the cost down to something like $500 +whatever deal you find on the projector. The finish and detail of the objects look more like what most people in the mainstream expect.

I don't know that there are any big things left in FDM, just little improvements that will make printing at .05mm layers as consistent and reliable as .3mm layers. I don't know if innovations in speed will let .05 prints be completed as quickly as .3 prints are now, but even that would be too slow. The more I think about multiple nozzles printing at the same time, the more it leads me to something like inkjet printing.

Here's a thought. A lot the time in a print is spent on fill. What if there was a printer that was a combination of FDM and resin. Print several perimeter only layers at .05 or whatever, and then squirt some kind of liquid into the fill areas. It could be a photopolymer that gets flashed after pouring, or maybe a gel of some kind that could be washed out afterward. It might not even need to be solidified, just have enough surface tension for filament to float on it. It doesn't help for external support, but might be quicker than drawing in the fill.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 11:19AM
IanJohnson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> spent on fill. What if there was a printer that
> was a combination of FDM and resin. Print several
> perimeter only layers at .05 or whatever, and then
> squirt some kind of liquid into the fill areas.
> It could be a photopolymer that gets flashed after
> pouring, or maybe a gel of some kind that could be
> washed out afterward. It might not even need to

I don't think it even needs to be that fancy. If slicers were better at automatically generating gcode for hollow prints then you could incorporate fill inlets into a design and squirt the resin or whatever in after the part is finished.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 11:31AM
Heated chamber.

We need this, we have had the capability to do this for a long time, in the firmware. Would you like to say goodbye to almost all warping, and make your heated platform more efficient (or obsolete??) I would.

Reprap with heated chamber will be the next big thing.
destroyer2012 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Heated chamber.
>
> We need this, we have had the capability to do
> this for a long time, in the firmware. Would you
> like to say goodbye to almost all warping, and
> make your heated platform more efficient (or
> obsolete??) I would.
>
> Reprap with heated chamber will be the next big
> thing.

Heated chambers are not as simple as you make them out to be. In current printer designs there are lot of things you *don't* want to heat up in what would have to be the heated volume, such as motors, printed parts, etc. So you can't just slap a heated chamber onto a Prusa. You would need to design the printer from the ground up with the enclosure in mind. This is going to cause the overall size of the printer to increase for the same print volume, it's going to drive up cost, it's going to drive up part count.

IMO the next big things are going to be continued improvements in the slicing software and the printer firmware that give us more capabilities and more intelligent printers. Things such as specifying non-uniform fill density, different numbers of perimeters for different areas of the model, vary the print speed in different areas.

The second big thing would be the ability to automatically detect errors such as skipped steps, and correct for them without operator intervention.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 11:57AM
crispy Wrote:
> The second big thing would be the ability to
> automatically detect errors such as skipped steps,
> and correct for them without operator
> intervention.

This comes up all the time on CNC boards, the problem with this is that you missed steps because the stepper didn't have enough torque to over come some mechanical condition, there can be no guarantee that retrying the step will result in a different outcome, it won't have anymore torque to apply the second time.

Servos are somewhat different, in that they don't operate continuously at maximum torque.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 12:10PM
Some improvements in calculating fill would be nice. If I had something like a large box, I can't print hollow because the top would need support. I would like to see fill begin to be generated part way up the print as bridges that would get gradually longer until they were solid enough to support the top. Kind of like building an arch or half dome on the inside of a large print. Or it could be as simple as starting with 1% fill and then automatically ramping it up when there are going to be solid layers to support.
molded plastic frame corners are out imo. titanium is in.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 01:03PM
crispy wrote:

------------------------------------------------
>Heated chambers are not as simple as you make them out to be.

I never said it was simple, and I certainly dont think that you have to enclose the entire printer. Besides certain people (nophead) HAVE enclosed the entire printer in a warm chamber (with printed parts) and still gotten good results. What we need is an evolution of this [blog.reprap.org]
>This comes up all the time on CNC boards, the problem with this is that you missed steps because the stepper didn't have enough torque to over come some mechanical condition, there can be no guarantee that retrying the step will result in a different outcome, it won't have anymore torque to apply the second time.

The most important part is being able to detect when the motor has stalled and pausing the print. I was definitely not suggesting the software "power through" the jam by applying more current. Even if this was possible it's an invitation to break all sorts of stuff.

Some skips are caused by the head temporarily sticking on the print (it self-releases in other words). In this case the printer needs to recognize the problem and re-home the head, then continue the print.

Other skips are caused by permanent jams, like the filament doesn't feed cleanly or a stray wire gets caught. In this case the printer could try to free itself by jogging back and forth. If that doesn't work, it would need to flag the operator to intervene.

The logic might look something like this:
printer skips steps -> skipped steps are detected -> printer pauses print, retracts filament slightly -> printer tries jogging the axis to determine if it is still stuck -> if stuck, flag operator. If free, re-home and resume print where the skip occurred.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 01:47PM
Dual head printing is barely feasible these days. LOTS of problems to be worked out. Like preventing a nozzle from drooling all over the print while the other is printing.

A simple next step for the mechanics could be an 'end stop' style switch on the filament feed, so when your spool runs out it pauses the print and waits for more filament to be loaded.


www.Fablicator.com
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 02:41PM
my vote for the next big thing may be a new platform( some kinda arm or delta platform). and possibly a way to change tools( probe someday, extruder heads) .
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 08:31PM
What about using a dual-head system with a "Line" and "Fill" configuration - One head is the standard FDM, but the other would dispense a aqueous polymer that could be used to fill cavities created by the FDM. It's like the reverse of support, but if you were to have the FDM draw a big box around the outside of the build envelope, you could build anything with full support without all the X/Y back and forth for all the fill.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 07, 2012 08:55PM
crispy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The logic might look something like this:
> printer skips steps -> skipped steps are detected
> -> printer pauses print, retracts filament
> slightly -> printer tries jogging the axis to
> determine if it is still stuck -> if stuck, flag
> operator. If free, re-home and resume print where
> the skip occurred.

The problem with this is that detecting skipped steps is non-trivial. The established way to do it is by attaching an encoder to the motor shaft. Suitable units start around $40 IIRC. Then you need electronics to count the encoder output and compare it to the expected value, which at minimum means a second Arduino board. Before we're done I'm guessing you're adding at least $200 and maybe more. Then we have to try and make it actually work winking smiley
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 08, 2012 04:30AM
Continuously variable infill density, automatically calculated by a structural analysis program. Well, that's just software...

Variable building materials used in a single object, for example by building some parts of it from a rigid and strong material and some from flexible material, which are fused together in the final structure. And if conductive or magnetic materials could be used, that might open some pretty interesting possibilities.
elf
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 08, 2012 01:33PM
The next big advance in reprap must be faster printing, maybe one that works like a laser printer, a heated drum carrying an electrostatic charge picks up a layer of "plastic dust", the heated drum melts this dust and then rolls it on to the printed object.

Alternatively, the print could be made up of 0.5mm layers of plastic (from a reel), "carved" to suit the print required and then added to the printed object.
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 08, 2012 02:57PM
A camera that would be mounted to the 3d printer and would atomatically adjust and align the head, automatic calibration!.....if possible
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 08, 2012 04:05PM
one thing i would love to see is smarter infil, so that on a print the closer you get to the middle the less dense the fill is, kinda like our bones are.

it would be a great thing to have i think.


[mike-mack.blogspot.com]
Re: So what's the next "big" thing to have in a printer
June 11, 2012 01:27PM
+1 for the organic filling algorithm, like they do with specials softwares from Netfabb (and the MIT guys who print concrete)

Otherwise I'd say : Metalicarap ;-)


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