On-the-Fly Print: Incremental Printing While Modeling
Currently the 3D digital modeling is primarily an on-screen activity. One has to finish the entire digital design, send it to the printer, and wait for several hours to get the physical output printed. Because the user cannot check the design early on, in many cases, the early printed object is not ideal and need to go through several iterations to end as a polished result.
Is it possible to create a 3D printing system that can print fast enough to keep up with the CAD modelling speed, so that the CAD users can have a timely, low-fidelity physical preview during the early design stage?
We propose On-the-Fly Print: a 3D modeling approach that allows the user to design 3D models digitally while having a low-fidelity physical wireframe model printed in parallel. Our system starts printing features as soon as they are created and updates the physical model as needed. Users can quickly check the design in a real usage context by removing the partial physical print from the printer and replacing it afterwards to continue printing.
On the hardware end, our system modified from an off-the-shelf delta printer but equipped with an extended extruder tip, mist cooling nozzle, and retractable cutting blade. These tools allows our printer to print large size wireframe model within minutes to offer physicial preview, as well as to perform subtractive operations to modify printed object. We also designed a 5 degree-of-freedom (5DOF) motion platform, so that we can achieve incremental printing to keep updating the physical model to reflect its digital design.
On the software end, we developed a Rhino CAD plugin to support printing. With its auto mode, the plugin can convert user's newly design to machine code, find the most printable angle, do its best to avoid collision, and start print, all without user's intervention.
With our current system, we can design and print an aircraft model within 10 minutes. The user mainly focused on the CAD modelling, while the system printing the design in parallel. The result of this design process, is not just a physical privew, but a digital design that has already been checked in-situ.
Created by: Huaishu Peng, Rundong Wu, Steve Marschner, François V. Guimbretière.
Research Paper: In Proceedings of CHI '16.