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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

James Currie

Control System of a Large Scale 3D Printer

Department: Computer Science and Engineering
Advisor: Yaling Liu

The purpose of my research is to investigate how traditional fused deposition modeling (FDM) and stereolithography (SLA) printing methods have several limitations in terms of print times and print model sizes. I explore how utilizing digital light projection (DLP) with a UV projector can cure very large areas by attaching the projector to X and Y motor stages allowing for it to move across the print area. Using our pre existing 3D printing software interface, Crafty Hands, I developed a series of powerful sliding algorithms that allow the large scale 3D printer to cure large model layers quickly by allowing the UV projector to slide continuously, curing the resin as it moves. This technique is an improvement on previous methods where the projector moves in a more time consuming step by step fashion. My research also requires me to explore the limitations of my sliding algorithm implementation and investigate alternative programming methods that allow for the control software to be implemented on less powerful computers with higher print accuracy. I also mathematically define the process of calibrating the motors with the sliding image layers being projected so that each print is accurate without gaps and overlaps.

About James Currie:
James Currie is a Senior Computer Engineer who will be graduating in May 2017. Throughout his career as a student at Lehigh, he has been drawn to research projects that involve the use of software to control mechanical systems. Using experiences and knowledge from a previous Mountaintop project, Smart Spaces, and undergraduate research of creating a control system for microfluidic chips, James was ready to tackle a more complex project. His research on the Control System of a Large Scale 3D Printer began in the Summer of 2016 and continues to date. In his spare time James sings in the Lehigh University Choir and focuses on other small personal projects involving music and fitness.