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Large-scale 3D printing technology based on the visual stitching method

Jianran Lv (School of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Hongyao Shen (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Jianzhong Fu (School of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 30 July 2019

Issue publication date: 30 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

3D printing for objects whose size exceeds the scope of the printer is still a tough challenge in application. The purpose of this paper is to propose a visual stitching large-scale (VSLS) 3D-printing method to solve this problem.

Design/methodology/approach

The single segmentation point method and multiple segmentation point method are proposed to adaptively divide each slice of the model into several segments. For each layer, the mobile robot will move to different positions to print each segment, and every time it arrives at the planned location, the contours of the printed segments are captured with a high-definition camera by the feature point recognition algorithm. Then, the coordinate transformation is implemented to adjust the printing codes of the next segment so that each part can be perfectly aligned. The authors print up layer by layer in this manner until the model is complete.

Findings

In Section 3, two specimens, whose sizes are 166 per cent and 252 per cent of the scope of the 3D-printing robot, are successfully printed. Meanwhile, the completed models of the specimens are printed using a suitable traditional printer for comparison. The result shows that the specimens in the test group have basically identical sizes to those in the control group, which verifies the feasibility of the VSLS method.

Originality/value

Unlike most of the current solutions that demand harsh requirement for positioning accuracy of the mobile robots, the authors use a camera to compensate for the lost positioning accuracy of the device during movement, thereby avoiding precise control to the device’s location. And the coordinate transformation is implemented to adjust the printing codes of the next sub-models so that each part can be aligned perfectly.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 51475421), the Science Fund for Creative Research Groups of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51521064) and Key Research and Development Plan of Zhejiang Province (No. 2018C01073).

Citation

Lv, J., Shen, H. and Fu, J. (2019), "Large-scale 3D printing technology based on the visual stitching method", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 1232-1240. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-03-2019-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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