Automatic Print Ejector For All 3D Printers

Way back in 2010, Makerbot released the Automated Build Platform, a neat heated conveyor belt for the Cupcake or Thing-O-Matic that would spit parts out when a print was done. It’s a great invention if you need to produce 20 of something, and the perfect invention if you want to sit on a patent and not innovate anything ever.

You won’t need to wait until the year 2030 to get a device that automatically removes a print from a print bed. The folks at MatterHackers came up with an Automatic Print Ejector that removes a print in the most [Rube Goldberg]-ish way possible: with a boxing glove.

The Automatic Print Ejector is pretty much taken straight out of a [Buster Keaton] movie. It’s a series of scissor mechanisms with a 3D printed boxing glove on the end, driven by a stepper motor. When the print finishes, the boxing glove simply punches a print off the bed of a printer.

Does it work? It does, brilliantly. Check out the video below.

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3D Printering: A Call for an Open Source Automated Build Platform

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: if you’re using a 3D printer to make a few hundred identical plastic parts, you’re doing it wrong. That’s the place for traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding or resin casting. If, however, you’re looking at printing a few dozen identical plastic parts, or even running a script to optimize your machine time, the current open source 3D printer world leaves one thing to be desired.

An Automated Build Platform

An Automated Build Platform is a fairly simple idea: put a conveyor belt on your heated bed, and when the print is done, send a command to drive a motor, dumping the newly printed part into a bin, The printer then begins the next part with a clean bed, and the days of doting over a 3D printer soon fade into the past.

For such a simple and useful idea, it’s surprising there hasn’t been much done with this idea in open source circles. There are, of course, problems both technical and legal, but hopefully nothing that should indefinitely derail anyone who would want to create the first open source automated build platform.

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