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3D Printing XXL/Combining multiple Ultimakers

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Hello everyone!

We are five students following the TU Delft Minor Advanced Prototyping, researching the possibilities in augmented prototyping.

In our case, we will be exploring the possibilities in 3D printing ultra detailed objects on a large scale, by using multiple Ultimaker 3D printers. Our Weblog

We will be using two Ultimaker printers, turn them around, and put them on a moveable X-axis and moveable Z-axis. The Y-axis will be increased by moving the printing bed.

Theoretically, if this technology works, it will be able to combine even more Ultimaker printers (or other printers for that matter) to print large object even faster.

This technology could even be used for creating small objects faster, by combining tiny 3D printers.Since the printerheads will never be able to overlap, it is necessary to move the printers or the printing bed, to fill the material in between to ‘original’ printing beds.

This then causes multiple problems:

-The printers will have to move to reach the ‘gap’, so extra moving X- and Y-axis.

-The software has to be able to know when to print what and when to move, since there are double X- and Y-axis.

To realise this, we will be converting the construction that the Ultimaker XXL 2014 project built to better suit our needs (an extra Ultimaker on the X-axis and a moving printing bed for the Y-axis).

[media=6414][/media ]As for the software, we will have to write a plug-in for the G-code that slices up the model that is to be printed into parts. Each of these parts is corresponding with a position the Ultimakers are in when they are moved along the X- and Y-axis. This means to cover all points, it has to move 4 times. Each part has to be finished before moving on to the next part. This means that the Ultimakers have to wait for each other to finish the part before moving on.

We are now building the framework for the printers, but still need to do a lot of work on writing the plug-ins that will slice the object into usable parts. If you have any suggestions to our framework or some advice on how to write the slicing software, we will be gratefull.

Thank you,

The 3D Printing XXL-crew

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Interesting.... but I don't understand why you would want to move all that mass around and not just put the heads in a bigger frame ?


It's definitely true that you don't want to move the mass, but the concept of this project is about comibining multiple printers, so that the printing time decreases. Therefor it wouldn't be efficient to make a bigger printer, that would take more time to print each section instead of dubbeling the production by added extra printers.

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Cut op the object and send those (separate) objects to the cura engine. Makes it a lot easier to debug things.


Right now we are thinking of a way to slice the object into parts, genarate G-code for it and then putting the different G-codes together in the right order. We are probably going to have to write a plugin that sorts these different G-codes.

But to create more strenght to the object, we want to have a little overlaps between the different layers, to make a masonry like structure. printpatroon.thumb.jpg.1180235f1f51c5978b46639c65365ed7.jpg

By turning the pattern each layer this should suffice, but makes creating the G-code more complicated. I don't know if this is done before, but we're not that skilled in programming/combining G-code, so if anyone has some good ideas: they are more than welcome!


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You only need a little bit of overlap; Just about the same as you have with 'normal' wall/ infill overlap (about 15%). If you ensure that the walls between the objects are not straight but have a shape with some noise, you can improve the bind between the objects.


Yes and no...

The overlap will 'weld' the object together, with pla it works really well, but the adhesion between layers and also between parts is many times not as strong as the layer. Especially with other materials [ABS, PC] or fiber inserted materials [markforged] you would like to see a more integrated layering strategy.

cheers / joris

[this is the 3rd time I challenge students from TUDelft to print larger by combining multiple fast/accurate XY frames with a slow XYZ frame to speed up production, but keep de resolution. Ther whole project is only 6(!!) weeks. See also the project form 2 years ago: http://kamermaker2013.weblog.tudelft.nl/]

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