US-based Printpal has announced the official launch of PrintWatch, a software and API that can detect printing errors during the part manufacturing process and take appropriate action. The solution can stop the print in progress, warn the user of a defect, or reduce an extrusion temperature that is too high. PrintWatch can also monitor the status of the 3D printer in question, making it easy to schedule any maintenance operations. This solution can be integrated with OctoPrint and is available through a monthly subscription.
Managing a print, regardless of the technology used, can be complex, especially when you have multiple 3D printers running at the same time. Errors happen quickly, such as jammed nozzles, threads, over-extrusion, etc. Often you have to restart the printing process, which means using more material than expected and, above all, wasting machine time. Currently there are some solutions to facilitate this management: remote monitoring applications, integrated cameras, end of filament detection, etc. In fact, we present this intelligent AIMS box, capable of detecting the most common errors just by placing it on the machine.
PrintWatch is not based on a physical system but on software and an API. The Printpal company, specialized in machine learning and artificial intelligence, uses a series of algorithms that adapt to the user’s 3D printer. The user installs the software on their PC or a Raspberry Pi – setup is quick and easy – and enters their print parameters. For example, you can choose your preferred detection sensitivity.
In concrete terms, when the software detects a defect, it tracks it to assess its severity. Depending on the situation, it can stop the machine or just send a notification to the user. The accuracy rate is evaluated at 93%. How does it work? Printpal explains, “To detect defects in real time, PrintWatch takes the video stream from a camera fixed in the print area of the printer and runs it through a machine learning model that can detect defects of various sizes, shapes, colors, materials , lighting and settings. When a defect is positively identified, PrintWatch begins tracking the defect to see how it develops. If it’s clear that the defect is getting worse, PrintWatch takes action. This tracking system helps prevent false positives from triggering software actions.”
These machine learning models are built in a cloud, so all you need is an internet connection to access them and run the calculations. PrintWatch can also be accessed through Octoprint. Finally, you should know that another version is in development, a version that would work only over a local network, ideal for manufacturers facing potential security issues. As for the price, a 3D printer costs $9 per month for the Premium version; if you want to use a second machine, add $4. A one-month trial is available for the more curious. Find more information here.
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