Living in Florida, we experience thunderstorms on a daily basis in the summertime. Literally our power goes out for a few seconds at a time and this happens at least a few times a week. This makes running a 3D printer during the months of May, June, July, August and September almost impossible, unless you have it hooked up to a battery backup. Even then, there are times when the power is out longer than that battery can handle. Up until now, there really has not been a reliable method to recover a print job if the power running that 3D printer were to go out.
Many 3D printer owners prefer to be at home when their machines are operational. With stories of fires that have started from 3D printers, which ended up burning down entire homes, I certainly can’t blame these individuals. I am reluctant to let my 3D printer print at night time when my family is sleeping. You just never know what will happen, and it really isn’t worth taking a chance.
Unfortunately though, we haven’t really seen a reliable way of stopping a print job and resuming it at a later time and/or date. This is the 21st century, and there really isn’t any reason why this should not be an option, especially when you are spending thousands of dollars on a machine.
Thanks to the Italian based company, WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project), and their new Resurrection System, the idea of stopping and then restarting a print job is no longer just a futuristic idea.
“We are the first in the world to have invented this system,” Maurisio Andreoli of WASP tells 3DPrint.com. “The desire to build homes has made it essential to the development of WASP Resurrection System, a feature that allows [you] not only to pause printing, but to get the data and resume from the same point in the case [of a] power failure or [your 3D printer] comes [unplugged].”
For those unfamiliar with WASP, you will recall that back in July we did a story on how they were building 3D printers which were capable of fabricating homes in third-world countries, using native clay from the land. In home building with 3D printers, it is almost impossible to print an entire building in a single non-stop print job, so WASP was forced into finding a solution, and thanks to some of the brilliant minds working for the company, they did. The function, which is built into the firmware, is called “Stop and Save”, because that is exactly what it does. This system is quite simple in how it operates. When a print is halted, the system automatically saves the exact coordinates (X, Y, Z) of where it left off. When the user wishes to resume the print job, the system simply returns to the exact location, reactivates itself and begins printing again as though it never had to stop.
When it comes to unexpected power outages, or cases in which someone trips over a power cord, pulling it out of the wall, the system needs to become a bit more comprehensive. The team at WASP, with help from Dennis Patella, has developed a buffer battery system, so that when power is cut off, there remains enough power to allow the Arduino to save the needed data for when the print resumes again. This system is comprised of a resistive divider, which is able to read the voltage present. It also includes a series of written code which has the ability to tell the Arduino when to automatically perform the “Stop and Save” function, in case of a power loss.
“If the voltage were to suddenly go to zero, the engines can not use the energy stored in the capacitor protected by the diode, a valve that prevents the passage of current in the opposite direction,” explains the team. “Thus, the energy that is in that small battery is sufficient to keep alive the Arduino for the time necessary to perform the rescue. This function is surprisingly effective and useful. The applications are endless.”
WASP plans to put this technology on all of their 3D printers, and best of all, they are making it open source. Resurrection is protected by a Creative Commons license, allowing anyone to use it on their 3D printers. The technology certainly will be of great use to anyone who hates losing a print due to a power outage, as well as those who refuse to leave their homes during a print job.
What do you think? Do you like the idea of being able to stop and start a 3D printing job? Discuss in the WASP Resurrection System forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video demonstration below.