Additive Manufacturing

April 29, 2024

Methods of improving rapid FDM prototyping solutions in industrial systems using strategies of Industry 4.0

Ghinea Mihalache, Niculescu Alex Cosmin, Rosca Bogdan

National University of Science and Technology Politehnica Bucharest


Modern production relies on technologies introduced by Industry 4.0 (known as Smart Manufacturing in the USA). As one of the nine pillars of this concept, additive manufacturing plays a crucial role, spanning from rapid prototyping to creating custom final products in the shortest and most cost-effective time.  Advances in this field have led to the development of various advanced manufacturing technologies such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), enabling the utilization of a wide range of metallic, plastic, and/or composite materials. Klipper is open-source software designed for 3D printers, providing capabilities for faster and more precise printing. The technique employed involves offloading computationally intensive processes to a separate microcontroller from that of the printer, resulting in performance, versatility, and customization benefits, significantly reducing the time of the prototyping process. The purpose of this article is to analyze the weaknesses of common/affordable printers with average performance using the software tools integrated into Klipper. Additionally, the study focuses on enhancing the performance of the printer Tevo Black Widow. As an additional outcome, it also focuses on improving the quality of printed parts (surface quality and dimensional accuracy). The study is comparative, analyzing the standard performance of a Tevo Black Widow printer with those offered by the same system while using the Klipper firmware.

1. Introduction

Various additive manufacturing techniques have been devised to fulfill the need for producing intricate structures with low waste (Hui et al., 2018). The advancement of these technologies has been primarily motivated by the desire for rapid prototyping, mitigating printing imperfections, and enhanc...

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April 2, 2024

PID Tuning in Klipper for 3D printers

What is PID tuning and how it works

First, we printed a calibration cube, and we identified that there appeared to be inconsistent layer heights, and after verifying the Z screws were moving freely and without a problem, we the first weakness of our printer, the fluctuating temperatures, so we used the PID tuning feature of Klipper (see Pranav, 2022) to solve this issue.

Fig. 1 Bed temperature fluctuations (blue)

PID controller stands for Proportional Integral Derivative Controller and in our case, it’s a digital temperature controller application, and its job is to take and maintain a steady state for a particular function (Microcontrollerslab, n.d.). It’s a closed-loop feedback system that continuously measures the error in your system and tries to correct it (Microcontrollerslab, n.d.). An error like the one seen in Fig. 1, where the temperatures fluctuate above and below the target.

Fig. 2 Klipper PID tuning routine

After running the PID_CALIBRATE

HEATER=heater_bed TARGET=60 and 

SET_HEATER_TEMPERATURE HEATER=extruder TARGET=210 commands in the console, as 210°C for the extruder and 60°C for the bed are the temperatures we’re usually printing at, the software runs a heat cycle routine (seen in Fig. 2) for the heated bed and the extruder that will generate the PID values and correct the fluctuations seen before while trying to hold a steady temperature (Klipper 3D Printer Firmware, n.d., b).

After saving the generated values by the commands in the configuration of the printer, we tested to see if it held a steady temperature, and it did. As that wasn’t enough proof we printed another calibration cube after the changes to see if there is any visible quality improvement.

Fig. 3 Cube before PID (left) next to cube after PID tuning (right)

The tuning has completely removed the horizontal rings that appeared on the cube on the left, as shown in Fig. 3, but this enabled another printing error to be more visible. The repeated horizontal patterns and lines are known as ringing or ghosting. That 3D printing quality issue results from vibration in layers, too high of a printing speed, high acceleration, or a displacement in the printing area (Klipper 3D Printer Firmware, n.d., e). …

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