Sequential additive manufacturing: automatic manipulation of 3D printed parts
Article publication date: 20 June 2017
This paper aims to present a monitoring system and the usage of a robotic arm to remove finished parts of a three-dimensional (3D) printer build plate, enabling 3D printers to continuously build a sequence of parts.
The system relies on a 2-degree of freedom planar manipulator. The moment to remove printed parts from the printer build plate can be determined based on direct communication with the 3D printer control software or using information from a computer vision system that applies background subtraction and Speeded up Robust Features methods.
The proposed system automatically detects the end of standard 3D print jobs and controls the robotic arm to remove the part.
Lighting variation can deteriorate the response of the computer vision system, which can be minimized using a controlled illumination environment. In addition, the printer build plate edges must be free so the parts can slip off the printer build plate when the robot pushes them out.
The system enables a more practical and automatized usage of 3D printers, reducing the need of human operators.
The proposed system can reduce work hours of laboratory personnel, as there is no need to remove the printed parts manually before another job starts.
Computer vision system monitors the printing process and the automation system that enables continuous sequential 3D printing of parts. A prototype is described, which can be easily replicated with low cost parts.
Aroca, R.V., Ventura, C.E.H., De Mello, I. and Pazelli, T.F.P.A.T. (2017), "Sequential additive manufacturing: automatic manipulation of 3D printed parts", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 653-659. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-02-2016-0029
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