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Quantitative and real-time control of 3D printing material flow through deep learning

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3D printing could revolutionise manufacturing through local and on-demand production whilst enabling uniquely complex and custom products. However, 3D printing's propensity for production errors prevents autonomous operation and the quality assurance necessary to realise this vision. Human operators cannot continuously monitor or correct errors in real time, while automated approaches predominantly only detect errors. New methodologies correct parameters either offline or with slow response times and poor prediction granularity, limiting their utility. We harness commonly available 3D printing process metadata, alongside video of the printing process, to build a unique image dataset. We train regression models to precisely predict how printing material flow should be altered to correct errors and use this to build a fast control loop capable of 3D printing parameter discovery and few-shot correction. Demonstrations show that the system can learn optimal parameters for unseen complex materials, and achieve rapid error correction on new parts. Similar metadata exists in many manufacturing processes and this approach could enable the adoption of fast data-driven control systems more widely in manufacturing.



Journal Title

Advanced Intelligent Systems

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Academy of Medical Sciences (SBF005\1014)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/V062123/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2274909)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N509620/1)
This work has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council , UK Ph.D. Studentship EP/N509620/1 to Douglas Brion, Royal Society award RGS/R2/192433 to Sebastian Pattinson, Academy of Medical Sciences award SBF005/1014 to Sebastian Pattinson, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council award EP/V062123/1 to Sebastian Pattinson, and an Isaac Newton Trust award to Sebastian Pattinson.