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Curious about an Automation solution for the XL  

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Hangs4Fun
(@hangs4fun)
Eminent Member
Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

A robotic picker, a punching ram, and inverted belt system, a vending machine like solution for multiple XL's, etc?  Maybe even something more like what Thomas Sanladerer just came up with, where you have a queue of empty plates, and a way to remove a finished plate?  Even being able to queue up print jobs that go to each plate as jobs finish up.

After seeing a vending machine like automation created by Prusa in Dubai, I'm wondering if any of those innovations will make it as options for the XL.  Automation could either be for an individual XL, or like in Dubai, for a whole group of 3D printers.

I've been tinkering around making my own, but its much harder to solve something like that with a product that is already developed, versus building in certain features to support that.

Posted : 20/11/2021 12:09 am
Chris Laudermilk
(@chris-laudermilk)
Trusted Member
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

Wasn't their farm demo at Qatar (?) just dropping the toolhead and using it to push finished parts off into a bin?

Mini+ (kit)...
Posted : 20/11/2021 9:00 pm
Hangs4Fun
(@hangs4fun)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

you be right.  Not meaning to offend him, because he seems very passionate about what he does, but I saw that Prusa Automation on a YouTube video by 3D Musketeers and he was so cringy, I couldn't listen to any details (sorry if the 3D Musketeers guy see's this comment).

That was just one example of what a potential automation process could be like.  The reality is, you most likely want a fresh bed plate each time, so much to Thomas's idea of a queue of plates, with a mechanism to move used plates and the parts somewhere else and load up a fresh plate, then kick off the next print job in the queue.  It just feels like right now the larger a print farm gets, it's a bit too much hands on at the moment IMHO    With an open community and lots of people coming up with ideas and solutions, this will be solved no problem 🙂

Posted by: @chris-laudermilk

Wasn't their farm demo at Qatar (?) just dropping the toolhead and using it to push finished parts off into a bin?

 

Posted : 20/11/2021 11:20 pm
Hangs4Fun
(@hangs4fun)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

well, this is a bit over the top from what I was talking about.  But notice how they apply clever robotics to manage 9 Prusa's:

 

Posted by: @chris-laudermilk

Wasn't their farm demo at Qatar (?) just dropping the toolhead and using it to push finished parts off into a bin?

 

Posted : 21/11/2021 12:37 am
Hooroo liked
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Noble Member
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

Interesting how the robot bends the build sheet to pop off the finished model.

Posted : 21/11/2021 1:41 am
Hangs4Fun liked
MechVince
(@mechvince)
Active Member
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

I believe that a system to remove the print bed, remove the print and then reinstall the bed would not be overly difficult.  It may even be something you could do with only the original hardware and controller if you are able to fully map what the additional tool heads can do.  It would involve writing some custom gcode and likely using the M808 command (assuming the firmware supports it?) to start the new print but totally possible.

Joel and a few others recently did videos on this:

They were doing it to repeat a specific section of the gcode, but you could use it to repeat the whole print with a little work.  If it is supported, M99 might work as well?  Depends on the firmware which we will not really know more about for a while.

Posted : 24/11/2021 6:11 pm
3Delight
(@3delight)
Moderator
RE:

What would worry me about such systems is we've all had prints that refuse to come off the bed, how would it cope with this?

Posted : 24/11/2021 6:14 pm
MechVince
(@mechvince)
Active Member
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

Yea, this is definitely an issue with this method! 

I think that a better (safer) solution overall would be to use a secondary system such as a raspberry pi with some image recognition software to check the bed and start the new print.  It would be much more involved but likely the best way to do it, maybe you could incorporate the Spaghetti Detective and use their AI to help make sense of the image.  

It is an interesting idea, however, I kind of wonder if the XL would be better suited for long involved prints. If you are just trying to print out the same part over and over there might be better platforms for that.

Posted : 24/11/2021 6:26 pm
Nealz
(@nealz)
Eminent Member
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

Automated Insert Toolhead. This is most likely overkill. But it would be cool to see a toolhead that heats and inserts screw inserts automatically. Hardest part would be picking up the inserts and putting into toolhead. Thinking about it, It would be a cool achievable automation project.

Posted : 02/12/2021 1:38 am
Hangs4Fun
(@hangs4fun)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

E3D was already working on a "Pick-N-Place" tool head, said by the recently late Sanjay (so sad that he just passed away 🙁 

Posted : 02/12/2021 3:10 am
Hangs4Fun
(@hangs4fun)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Curious about an Automation solution for the XL

Dang, I just saw this Mosaic Array, when looking at multiple material options with their palette series.  I didn't even know Mosaic made a 3D printer, and the now have an industrial offering called Element, and the product relevant to this whole thread, an Automation solution called Array.  It has a robotic grabber, that retrieves finished prints and stores them in a designated place.  It appears to have 4 printers, a finished parts storage, and robots per unit (probably the size of a fridge).  Then for a production line, you can connect each together. 

They are claiming 1 operator could handle the equivalent of 250 3D Printers, in a production line of Array's (I guess an Array of Arrays, 😉   with only 1 operator.  I have no clue on price or if it makes any business sense.  But check out the video of that thing chugging along..

https://www.mosaicmfg.com/products/array

The 90 second video is about 1 scroll down

Posted : 02/12/2021 4:49 am
Siff
 Siff
(@siff)
Active Member
RE:

I accomplished this by adding a 5mm thick wall at 5% infill that extends around the back of the print and out about 20mm on each side printed directly on the print's brim, which I can then easy push with the hot end near the top of the back of a print after the print completes (and it drops bed temp down to ambient) which uses leverage to knock the print off the plate, then backs up the hot end, lowers it and pushes the part completely off the plate to start the next print.

I used this to automate some flow and speed testing involving 20 prints running overnight, and it worked flawlessly; I did need to add a filler plate between the build plate and the printer table, as parts would fall into that area otherwise.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Siff
Posted : 07/12/2021 10:08 pm
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