As electro-mechanical systems, 3D printers (especially extrusion-based systems) are subject to the limitations brought about by vibration. As the print head moves along the axes, vibrations from the movement limit the speed a print head can travel before it sacrificices part-print quality.
The faster the machine moves, the more vibrations the machine creates, forcing a slow down in print speeds to have a reasonably smooth finish. Unfortunately, the slow speed of many extrusion based 3D printers is one of the reasons this technology has not found more engineering users. The belief is that users are willing to wait no more than an hour for a finished print, rather than a more typical six to 8 hours or more.
Researchers at the University of Michigan report on a way to address this situation, potentially enabling higher speeds for these printers.
The researchers have created an algorithm that they claim allows printers to deliver “high-quality results at speeds up to two times faster than those in common use, with no added hardware costs.”
The algorithm uses knowledge of the printer’s dynamic behavior to anticipate when it may experience excessive vibration and adjusts the motions. The algorithm acts “preemptively because it knows” the behavior of the printer ahead of time.
The developers believe this software is also useful for many industrial-grade machines that face movement limitations from vibrations.
The researchers outline their work in a paper in the journal Mechatronics.