Chances are you’ve heard of 3d printing farms: agglomerations of printers connected in a data field and performing related or overlapping tasks to print products. Here are 10 Things I Learned Building an Automated Print Farm.
10 Things I Learned
- This additive manufacturing technology is designed to speed up the process of printing large-format objects or printing large numbers of identical products.
- The possibilities. Let’s say you want to produce a thousand parts on a printer, and each part takes one hour to produce. With a single 3D printer, it would take 1,000 hours to produce those parts. However, with a farm of 1,000 machines, theoretically the same production cycle would only take one hour.
- Print farms bridge the gap between prototyping and production. There are no tooling costs there, which means products get to market much faster.
- Another aspect of 3d printing farms worth mentioning is the ability to produce personalized goods. Since it only requires a digital drawing of the part, the agglomeration of volumetric printing devices is capable of producing many personalized products.
- A similar principle applies to the printing of large-format objects. Due to the fact that the field of additive manufacturing is limited, in order to prototype a large object, be it a life-size figure or an art object, it is necessary to divide the 3d model into many constituent parts and print each of these elements separately.
- Until recently, this situation with the printing of complex parts led to the fact that the market began to appear on the 3d technology “giants” – large format printers such as Massivit, Colossus and others. The practice of using these printers has shown that it is not effective.
- Also, the vast majority of large-format products are made of foam, by milling it and then processing it with fiberglass. However, this technology also has a number of negative factors: the fragility of foam, low details of objects.
- Due to the fact that all 3d printers are connected by a single information interface, when printing large format objects, the digital model is automatically divided into segments and then sent in parallel to the device for printing.
- After all the elements are printed, the printed farm operator must assemble the product as a construction set and fasten the elements together. Then the object is passed through the process chain in post-processing: sanding, priming and painting. The use of 3d truss technology makes it possible to achieve the best results in prototyping large-sized products in terms of price, quality and timing.
- As studies conducted by international experts in the field of 3d technologies show, with the introduction of printing trusses, a large part of the market of large-size objects should be conquered by 3d printing technology.