Video: 3D Print on Top of Printed Objects

By: 
August 22, 2014

Holy moly! MIT students never sleep! This new trio of students has solved yet another mystery in the 3D printing world. Some of you may have experienced that moment when you have a power failure or program glitch in your current 3D print and it must be thrown out of the window. MIT students Claudio V. Di Leo, Louise E. van den Heuvel, and Sumant S. Raykar have solved this problem simply and efficiently. And the fix cost less than $60!

Di Leo, Heuvel, and Raykar used a height detecting laser (the Infiniter VLM-650-27) and a standard Webcam (Logitech B905 2MP) to enable a modified Solidoodle to print on top of existing 3D printed objects and continue unfinished printing jobs. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?

How does it work? It is pretty straightforward. First, the scanner shoots a laser towards the build platform. If the laser detects an anomaly, which basically means the build platform has something already on it, the Webcam takes a photo. The photo is used to detect the height of the object at the point at which the laser is pointing. The laser is attached to a scanner print head that enables it to repeat this process until the printer has accurate data on the existing 3D object.

At this point, the printer can print on top of the existing 3D print accurately. Needless to say, this modification can be used for multitude of really useful things that includes inspecting 3D prints and continuing failed print jobs. The best part is the simplicity and cost effectiveness of the fix, which tinkerers can appropriate for their own needs.

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