The Need for Speed

One of the great things about being in R&D is when you reach a goal only to see another goal post in the distance. This just so happens to be the case in my pursuit of lower print times.

Let me start with a little bit of a history lesson and then I’ll talk about what we are doing today and what is in the pipeline.

Lead Screws

This was the first area where I saw room for improvement. Originally we were using a 10mm pitch leadscrew to drive the motion on the X & Y axis. By switching to a 25mm pitch we solved 2 problems. The first was an obvious speed increase. The second was that we lowered the motor RPMs by 2.5x and that in turn solved a problem with screw whip. With a 1 meter stroke this was a real concern.

Well, hooray for me right? Mmmm, not so fast…

Nozzle Diameter

A nozzle diameter of 0.25mm is nice for doing detailed work but our customers were more industrial and needed bigger and bigger parts. We moved up to a 1.2mm nozzle and the print times started to fall from the sky. An added benefit was the parts were getting stronger and stronger as well.

Movie time!

This really led me on a path to see just how big I could go in regards to nozzle size. Since we are using 2.88mm diameter filament, a 2.5mm nozzle seemed reasonable…

I have been amazed at this 2.5mm nozzle. I still have a few kinks to work out, but this is really cool. I’ll go into that in more detail as the weeks go by.

Ok, jobs done… let’s go have a refreshment! Hang on…

New Motors

We’ve made a few mentions of this in press releases recently. The SurePrint Servo upgrade! (Read more here)

I knew from the minute I laid hands on these that they would be a huge hit with our customer base. A closed loop system with positional accuracy and 85% more torque, you kidding me? Sign me up!

Every day I continue to impress myself with the speed and accuracy of these things… they rock. I will definitely go into more details and some side by side comparison data in the coming weeks.

The beauty of my job is that it is never really done. There’s always something more we can do to improve the process. I hope you stop back next week so you can see how we plan on pushing the limits even further.

Until next time!

Joe