The Smart and Sustainable Automation Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan, has developed a software algorithm called “FBS Vibration Compensation” that effectively doubles 3D printing speeds. Technique could be used to upgrade the printer's firmware.
Consumer 3D printing has done something that few people would have thought possible a few decades ago: brought small-scale, computer-driven manufacturing to the home and office—and for the price of a new television.
But despite the wealth of desktop 3D printing options out there—within the FDM category and beyond—consumer-level 3D printing does have its limitations.
Speed is undoubtedly one of those limitations. Although desktop FDM 3D printers can print faster today than they could a few years back, there are still some fundamental characteristics of compact, tabletop 3D printers that put limitations on their speed.
Interestingly, it’s not just things like motor speed that keep desktop 3D printers lagging behind their industrial counterparts. Because while some desktop-standard hardware can theoretically operate at very high speeds, hard-to-control factors like vibration make those speeds impossible to implement in practice.
This is because consumer-grade 3D printers are made with lightweight components—something that works to their advantage in some regards, like portability and cost, but which means they aren’t well equipped to resist motion-induced vibration.
That means that overdoing 3D printing speeds can lead to errors caused by vibration around the print head.
Chinedum Okwudire’s lab at the University of Michigan is trying to combat this very problem—by developing a software compensation technique that anticipates and mitigates vibration before that vibration ever occurs, effectively blocking the problem at its source.