I’ve come across another method for automating 3D printing: the Automatic Ejection System by Wemake.
Wemake is a 3D printer manufacturer located in Tunisia, where they have previously produced desktop 3D printers. Now they’ve produced an add-on that can automatically eject completed 3D prints.
Their approach is to use a belt system to over the print bed, something I first saw over ten years ago from MakerBot: the automated build platform. At the time, I thought the “ABP” was an incredibly useful — but flawed — device, but it faded away and has not been seen since.
However, we have seen entire 3D printers emerge designed around the belt concept. They tend to be a bit more expensive and are somewhat more challenging to operate. But the Wemake mechanism is a bit different.
It seems to be installed on top of a regular 3D printer, rather than being an entirely new device. In theory this could eventually be made into an upgrade kit for popular desktop 3D printers that could become automated factories by using it.
Here’s a video from Wemake showing the system in operation:
What I like about this approach is the simplicity. It’s just a belt, rollers and a motor, controlled by some simple GCODE to eject prints at the end of each job. This short piece of ejection GCODE could be easily put into every job by adding it as part of the clean up GCODE section in every slicer. In other words, there’s virtually no software changes to make, because Wemake’s “Sticher” software adds this in automatically.
Wemake CEO Abdelmagid Mathlouthi explains:
“Our solution consists of minimizing the modification needed to a 3D printer in order to make it functional. We mount two rollers/drums on the two ends of the build plate, the front drum is a motorized one with a DC motor installed inside just like industrial drums and that’s it, you have a belt printer while keeping all the previous parts in case you need to remove the kit.”
At this time it’s not clear how the ejection system will be marketed. At the least it would be an option for Wemake’s own 3D printers, but I’m hoping it would be made to work on several popular desktop devices, such as the Prusa i3, Ender 3 and others. I have a suspicion many people would be very interested in adding a belt capability to their existing equipment.
We’re reaching out to Wemake to find out more information about this interesting concept.