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3D Printing: Smarter Software Improves Quality and Speeds Up Printing

By Dick Weisinger

While 3D printing is growing in popularity, creating printed objects takes time. Because of that 3D printing is a long ways from being able to replace much of the large-scale mass productions that are manufactured using traditional technologies.

Part of the problem is that when the speed of the printer increases, so do the vibrations of the machine, and excessive vibration can effect the quality of the finished product. This creates a trade-off between speed and quality.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a small breakthrough. They created an algorithm that can reduce the level of vibrations when the speed of the printer increases. The algorithm anticipates when the printer will excessively vibrate and then adjusts its motion to one that would produce fewer vibrations.

Simon Shen, CEO of XYZPrinting, told TechCrunch that “thirty years ago, more than 100 companies were making notebook PCs. How many companies are doing it now? Probably not more than five. That’s the nature of competition. If you have resources, investment and new technology, you will survive and flourish. This is the nature of the evolving of the technology. We’re just waiting for the next evolution of the technology. If they can do it much faster, more precise and easier, that will bring more people to 3D printers. Not waiting for four to six hours for a print, but 40 to 60 minutes.”

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