One of the absolute best features of MAKEiT printers is the ability to produce volumes of parts quickly through batch duplication. When combined with a proper batch setup, duplication printing is a powerful way to significantly reduce your production time. Like many other things in life it’s best to start simple and build to complexity, so I’ll first go over how to get started with simple duplication and move into more advanced setup for large batches after. The example part I’m using is a cable guide intended to work with the wall mount standards we use to hang the printers.
Above you can see two instances of my cable guide loaded in Simplify3D, however because the duplication feature is on-board to the printer we won’t see the duplicate prints appear in the GUI. It’s important to note that the print nozzles are 50 mm apart on the X-axis, meaning you can duplicate a part with a maximum width of ever-so-slightly under 50 mm. The dark grid lines in Simplify3D’s GUI represent 25 mm increments so you can see that it’s possible to fit two of these parts in less than the 50 mm spacing. Once you are satisfied with your process settings you can slice the file and save to SD card as normal. Before starting the print, turn the DUPLICATION option ON from the printer’s setup menu:
Moving on to batch setup, we will start with a simple batch of two rows each identical to the first print, totaling 8 parts. When setting rows for batches, there a few more important things to know. First, it’s necessary to space your rows at minimum 25 mm apart on the Y-axis to allow clearance for the print head. This is the distance between the nozzle tip and the front of the print head, plus some for safe measure. The second major thing to know is that rows must go from the front of the print bed towards the rear. If printed from back to front, the X-bar gantry will impact on the previously printed rows.
The easiest way to setup this two row batch is to select your first two parts, and use CTRL+C CTRL+V to copy and paste. Select the two new copies and move them toward the back of the bed by at least 25 mm for clearance. Now, select from the process list the process used for the first print, and again CTRL+C CTRL+V to create a copy. Open your original process and click the “Select Models” button from the bottom of the process settings window. Highlight the two parts in the first row and click OK. Do the same for the second row objects, assigning them to the second copied process exclusively. Now we can choose to slice the print.
When presented with the Select Processes dialogue, select both of your processes and choose the Sequential Printing radio button. Assuming that we have properly set the file to print from front to back, the max height clearance can be set to the max Z of the printer, in this case 330 mm for the Pro-L.
With the file sliced and viewing in preview mode, we can scroll through the layers to confirm that the print will complete the first row of parts before moving on to the back row.
Once again we can save the file to our SD and start the print with DUPLICATION: ON.
And approximately an hour later we have 8 complete parts.
Still need more parts? This method of batch creation can easily expand. Shown below I’ve scaled it up to print a bed of 24 parts, in 3 rows of 8 each. The setup process is the same as for two rows, except with the rows of 8 parts you can see I’ve left a clearance of a little over 50 mm on the X-axis to allow space for the duplicates within each row.
Again we begin the print, and again the first row runs to completion.
And then the second.
And finally, the third.
So in a few short hours we can produce a high number of parts to be used right away. In less than an afternoon I was able to create my CAD file and produce 36 of these cable guides. That’s plenty for this installation of wall-mount printers and then some, no sweat.