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3D printing machine monitoring

3D printing3D prototyping machinesAugmented Realityrapid protototyping

Introduction

The invention relates to a prototyping machines monitoring system able to point an error during the printing process. Based on augmented reality tools, the system can superimpose the virtual image of the finished item and the real image of the item being printed, highlighting eventual errors and contrasts.

Technical features

3D prototyping machines allow the manufacturing of an object from a CAD model in a relatively short time. Depending on the complexity of the item, it can though take time to print it. A printing error might occur, being usually detected once the object has been printed  completely. In this case, the item should be disposed with consequent loss of manufacturing time and materials. The proposed invention applies Augmented Reality to monitor the 3D printing of an item. A 3D virtual image of the item to be printed is superimposed to the video streaming of the printing area captured by a camera. The augmented image consisting of real and virtual model is made available to the user along the printing process. By comparing the virtual model to the real one, the user has the possibility to halt the printing once an error is detected, sparing both time and materials.

Possible Applications

Rapid prototyping for industry and manufacturing and realization of finished products and their pieces, for example:

  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS);
  • Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM);
  • Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS);
  • Stereo Lithography (SLA);
  • Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM);
  • Electron Beam Melting (EBM).

Advantages

  • Material and time savings due to the possibility to halt production;
  • Prompt real dimensions check;
  • Possibility to adjust the component and/or sort out the issue at the next launch of the printer.