Algorithm Can Cut 3D Printing Time in Half
- By Joshua Bolkan
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an algorithm that can cut the time required to 3D print an object by as much as half.
As a 3D printer works, its moving parts cause vibration, which leads to errors in printing the object. The faster a machine prints, the more it vibrates and the larger the printing errors become.
"Armed with knowledge of the printer's dynamic behavior, the program anticipates when the printer may vibrate excessively and adjusts its motions accordingly," said Chinedum Okwudire, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of U-M's Smart and Sustainable Automation Research Lab, in a prepared statement.
In a U Michigan news release, Okwudire pointed at recent comments by the CEO of XYZprinting, Simon Shen, who said that slow printing speed is one of the things keeping 3D-printing technology from finding a broader market.
"We're just waiting for the next evolution of the technology," Shen told TechCrunch last year. "If they can do it much faster, more precise and easier, that will bring more people to 3D printers. Not waiting for four to six hours for a print, but 40 to 60 minutes."
The software can be used on consumer 3D printers and even a variety of large industrial-grade printers, according to Okwudire, who said he'd like to integrate the algorithm with printer firmware in the future.
"Eventually, one of the places we would want to see the algorithm applied is in the firmware — the software that runs on the printer itself. That way, it will be integrated with the printers, regardless of the size."
A video explaining the software and showing it in action next to a standard print and a sped-up print without the advantage of the algorithm is available on YouTube.
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at email@example.com.