Denmark-based CreateItReal has developed a way to dramatically speed up many forms of 3D printing with a “real time processor”.
Today’s personal 3D printers are almost all pretty slow. They take many hours to produce useful prints and this has been a factor limiting the adoption of the technology for many people.
CreateItReal examined the problem to see if they could change the equation; they found the problem is not in the mechanical design of 3D printers, but rather in the processing time required to drive the mechanicals. As you speed up mechanical movement of the extruder, more processing must take place to calculate and drive the movement. This problem becomes more difficult as the complexity of 3D model geometry increases.
The company developed a dedicated “real time processor” specifically for this purpose, which can process the necessary calculations in real time at a far faster rate.
While typical 3D printers can extrude at the rate of 150mm/second, the CreateItReal board can easily hit 450mm/second without breaking a sweat. Note this is actual print time, not “travel time” where the extruder moves from one location to another without extruding. The CreateItReal board can travel at 1,000mm/second.
Is the the top end for the board? We’re told it could handle a staggering 1,800mm/second in the near future! Imagine how this could transform the 3D printing experience: let’s say a typical print takes 2 hours and 25 minutes to complete on “normal” 3D printers at 150mm/second printing speed. If sped up to 1,800mm/second, that same print could take only 12 minutes! Of course, such a print, if actually attempted, would likely take more than 12 minutes as some portions of the print job are not affected by print speed, but you get the idea.
The company has developed a custom chip to control the mechanicals on 3D printers, and the scope of their ability is not limited to only extrusion-based printers. They assure us the same board can be easily adapted for use in SLA resin-style machines as well, for which the company already has a prototype. Indeed, any machine involving rapid real time movements could take advantage.
The advantages don’t end with sheer printing speed, either. The board has “surplus” processing time that can be used to optimize printing in other ways, as the board deals with nanoseconds, not milliseconds. For example, a common problem encountered when printing a high speed is vibration, which tends to introduce print inaccuracies. The real time processor can quickly calculate movements to precisely control acceleration and thus dramatically reduce vibration. And the board, as you can see here, is designed for an easy upgrade to even faster version in the future.
CreateItReal has a patent pending for their device and is pursuing licensing deals with a number of 3D printer manufacturers in which they’ll take a percentage of sales. One has been released, the Dynamo 3D, which we’ll cover in a future post, and “three more are coming”. They’ve been approached by many 3D printer companies, “including some large ones”. Today they sell an OEM package for others to begin developing products based on the board.
Incredibly, the company hopes to do even more. The issue of print speed is apparently only the first “grand challenge” to be undertaken by CreateItReal. They’re hoping to tackle other difficult components including print heads and mechanicals in the future.