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MIT patent for 3D printed part qualification and removal issued by US patent office – 3ders.org (blog)

by • March 28, 2016 • No Comments

Mar 29, 2016 | By Alec

But 3D printing is a desktop-controlled production process, it yet needs a lot of guide steps that need a human user – of designing and choosing a CAD version, all the way to removing the finished print and determining its usefulness. Before 3D printing can become a viable sizeable scale production tool, those steps can need to become additional automated and that, in a nutshell, is what the latest MIT patent approved by the US patent office is all of. They have designed a 3D printing device with an automated part inspection and removal process – that may greatly reduce the need for human intervention during production.
The new MIT patent, called Automated three-dimensional printing device part removal, just one of the 6,746 that has been issued by the US patent office this week; a list that you should unquestionably take a appear at if you want your faith in scientific progress reaffirmed. Developed by Alfonso Alexander Perez, Christopher Michael Haid, Forrest W. Pieper and Mateo Pena Doll, the automated 3D printing device patent was initially filed way back in January 2014 (Appl. No. 14/157,027).
Similar to all patents, the research is defined in more detail, but at its heart this MIT invention is just the upcoming step towards fully automated 3D printing. Drastically cutting down the number of steps involved to 3D print an object, it showcases an automated part removal process – to optimize 3D printing times – and a sensor showcase that can register printing errors. Making use of machine vision, any deviation of the CAD file is registered and causes a 3D print to be labeled a failure.

As its createers explain in the patent, 3D printing is yet really a laborious process. “[Existing 3D printing devices] typically need six or additional user steps […]. First, a user creations a 3D version on CAD software. The user guidely and so uploads a 3D version of the part to be created to a slicing program. After the user guidely calibrates 150-250 settings, the slicing program generates machine code for the 3D printing device […]. The fourth step of a process is to upload the machine code to a printing host in the form of a program on a desktop or an SD card. From there, the machine code is streamed to a microprocessor on the printing device 10, controlling actuation. After the printing device is done printing, the part is removed guidely. After inspecting the high end of the part, the user decides if the part needs to be reprinted,” they summarize.

But in their fully automated 3D printing process, they are appearing to remove the operator as much as possible – with part removal being the easiest step to skip. To be certain, processs like that may already exist, many notably showcasing a conveyor belt or heating/cooling processs. But these solutions, they argue, are either too expensive or are in danger of causing warpage or shrinkage. “In general the disadvantages of these processs are detrimental to the printing process and/or the removal process. Conveyor belt processs have not been successful generally for the reason the platform is flexible, major to warped parts. A conveyor belt with rigid tracks can provide a pretty expensive solution. It is in addition known to attach a removal paddle or block to an extruder head. Such arrangements typically cause excessive stress on the drive train and may cause misalignment in the print nozzle major to leveling issues,” they say. Heating/cooling processs, finally, can lead to shrinkage and ‘popping’ of the parts.

To avoid those dangers, they have created several versions of a part removal process that relies on a ‘blade’ that sweeps across the print bed to release the part of the surface. Obviously, this blade won’t cut into the print. “The blade may be cantilevered of a assist on one side of the printing surface. On the other hand, the blade may be assisted on both sides of the printing surface. For a cantilevered blade, it is popular that the assist form a compliant joint. It is in addition popular that the blade have a hardened steel portion that engages the part,” they write. This can thus take various forms, which include one showcasing a vibrating blade to facilitate part removal. After determining whether or not the part is a failure, the blade, powered by a solenoid-controlled pneumatic piston, can dispose of the failed print, or place the successful print where it belongs.

Depending on the power of the swing, this blade process may unquestionably manufacture part removal simpler and safer. But for the skeptics, their patent in addition comes with another technique that drastically reimagines a print bed. Instead of being a solid flat surface, this concept showcases a hole-covered array. “Pins are arranged in an array matching the array of holes and means are provided for pushing the pins through the holes to lift the part of the surface. In one embodiment, the means for pushing the pins through the holes comprises lowering the printing surface onto the pins. On the other hand, means may be provided for pushing the pins through the hole by raising the pins,” they explain. Other part removal options include blowing compressed air through a single hole, or electromagnet-based vibration to separate the part of the surface. Whilst just time and experiments can tell that one of these techniques is many viable and safe, each one of them can go a long way towards producing 3D printing a fully automated process.

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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