Saturday, 27 July 2013

Article about custom GCode generation using F#

The commercial F#.NET Journal just published an article describing some interesting new techniques to dramatically improve both print quality and speed simultaneously by generating custom GCode using Microsoft's F# programming language.

Here is the original test object printed using Slic3r:

and here is the result printed using their custom GCode using the same layer height (!):

This really shows just how much room for improvement there is in the software used to drive today's 3D printers, i.e. the printer drivers.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Werner Berry's incredible delta robot

Another home-made delta robot 3D printer:

Incredible quality from this printer!

Delta robots are not popular probably because they are harder to design, build and write drivers for but they may well hold the key to substantially lower costs.

3D printed ball and socket joints

These are the first 3D printed ball and socket joints we've seen:

There is surprisingly little information available about such mechanisms that people have built using their 3D printers. In particular, relatively few people seem to have investigated 3D printing plastic parts that snap together. Surprising given that the main practical application of ABS plastic is Lego!

First tetrahedral delta robot

PolyBot is the first tetrahedral delta robot we've seen:

Tetrahedra are not mechanisms so they are inherently stronger than the more common triangular prisms and cubes and, consequently, don't require the same amount of steel rod which is expensive to buy and even more expensive to ship.

Folding linear actuator

To move away from rod-based linear actuators in the construction of 3D printers, people are trying to design folding linear actuators like this one:

Our feeling is that 3D printers should replace XYZ axes with an alternative that is easier to manufacture and shifts the complexity onto software where it can be addressed more easily and cheaply.

3D printed bearings

Novel designs that leverage the advantages of 3D printing are perhaps the most interesting. Emmett Lalish has kindly open sourced his design for 3D printed bearings that use herringbone planetary gears:

This design is particularly interesting because the parts are printed in-place and cannot escape once fully constructed.