Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NewBlog #4 Ultimaker Module ++

Much toil this week in finishing out the "Ultimaker 2" Module.
I have encountered a few minor problems due to the constrained space to fit in the bowden tube - a misunderstanding on my part about direct drive extruders and 3mm filament resulting in a switch to 1.75mm filament for this printer and the attendant conversion of the hot-end and extruder feeder

The real intent here is to make it easy to transition an Ultimaker printer's original parts into an automated machine. Anyone who has operated a production machine knows the tedium associated with setting up the job on a machine, then baby sitting it as it performs some short run task.

So ultimately, getting the machine and its support services to:

  • Set up the job (from a section in the digital template) Calibrate, Align, Level, check for supplies on hand etc etc
  • Run the job (next section ;-) )
  • Cope with failed runs, errors,  (?? are we there yet ??) and re-run or correct the problem if necessary... 

These 3 little bullets represent a lot of bundled concepts, none of which are beyond the realm of the possible so down the garden path we go...

While this represents an approach to the solution we will also have to accumulate these case specific  solutions into a database relevant to the model/version/type of machine and process, once a significant number of these type of solutions are accumulated, then training an AI to attempt to extrapolate new solutions should become possible as well.

But back to the real and current plans:

The next machine will be a better incarnation of the small CNC mill. The milling machine is kind of a swamp of extended detail, since a robotic mill needs a lot of support services to operate:

Stock prep, probably a few cutoff saws, a small bandsaw and possibly a cold saw

Fixturing, which leads to a requirement for a modular fixturing solution, which then leads to a pick and place fixturing cell to set up jobs and that means a machine-command-translation-template to get a fixtures requirements encapsulated in a meaningful way to translate the fixture "recipe" into placement motion. not to mention fastening the pieces down so a screw gun with torque checking/strip prevention/and the fastener handling - then there will be fixture component storage and transport.....

Tooling, this one is big, since a toolchanger is only the frontend to a tool setter, possibly a tool sharpener/custom tool grinder/profiler and a tool magazine for several different cells (Tapping, anyone?)

Needless to say staying focused can be difficult!!

And tomorrow, we shall do it again!! (Solve some small portion of these problems, I mean)

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