Imagine a type of software that can enable your FDM 3D printer to maintain a high print speed while maintaining a decent level of accuracy. The University of Michigan invented a solution following exactly that idea. In 2017, we presented the first results of the 3D printer algorithm developed by Chinedum Okwudire. A few years later, the same idea began to take shape through the company Ulendo and was officially presented at the RAPID + TCT fair, which took place last week in Detroit, USA. The product reduces vibrations during the process printing and thus avoids any deformation of the piece.
Desktop FDM 3D printers emit vibrations when in motion, which can cause some issues during production. This can be a problem when creating a part, as it directly affects the quality of the object to be printed, especially on smaller, lighter machines. One way around this is to slow down the machine, but again, this can be a hindrance because the process isn’t exactly known for its speed. Chinedum Okwudire, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan and founder of Ulendo, explains, “If you want to reduce the vibration of a moving object, in most cases you can do so by slowing down. But since 3D printing is already very slow, this solution poses another problem. Our solution allows you to print quickly without sacrificing quality.”
It is from this observation that Filtered B Splines (FBS) software was developed. It is based on a compensation algorithm that anticipates and reduces vibrations before they occur. The algorithm is based on a model of the behavior of a printer and adjusts its movements. The software then serves as a translator between how the machine behaves in a perfect world and how the printer must compensate for vibrations in the real world.
Chinedum Okwudire adds: “Let’s say you want a 3D printer to move in a straight line, but due to vibration, the motion moves upwards. The FBS algorithm tricks a car into telling it to go downhill, and when it tries to go downhill, it moves in a straight line.”
The software can be applied to almost any 3D printer, although the value of such a solution lies more in small desktop machines that lack robustness and tend to move during the printing process. However, some industrial machine manufacturers have also contacted the company to test the software. In addition, the teams want to go further and propose a solution for CNC machines, laser engravers or robotic arms.
Trip CEO Brenda Jones adds: “Those in the 3D printing industry have the same amazing reaction I had when I first heard how this technology makes a printer run twice as fast and 10 times faster.” You can find more information here.
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