Video Quick-Bit: Numitrons And Infinite Build Volumes

Majenta Strongheart takes a look at a couple of cool entries from the first round of the 2018 Hackaday Prize:

This is an infinite 3D printer. The Workhorse 3D is the way we’re going to democratize 3D printing. The Workhorse 3D printer does this by adding a conveyor belt to the bed of a 3D printer, allowing for rapid manufacturing, not just prototyping. [Swaleh Owais] created the Workhorse 3D printer to automatically start a print, manufacture an object, then remove that print from the print bed just to start the cycle all over again.

Check out this Numitron Hexadecimal Display Module from [Yann Guidon]. [Yann] is building an entire computer, from scratch, and he needs a way to display the status of various bits on a bus. The simplest way to do this is with a few buffer chips and some LEDs, but that’s far too easy for [Yann]. He decided to use Numitron tubes to count bits on a bus, from 0 to F. Instead of microcontrollers, he’s using relays and diode steering to turn those segments of the Numitron on and off.

Browse all of the entries here. Right now, we’re in the Robotics Module Challenge part of the Hackaday Prize, where twenty incredible projects will win one thousand dollars and move on to the final part of the Hackaday Prize where one lucky winner will win fifty thousand dollars for building awesome hardware. If that’s not incredible, I don’t know what is.

6 thoughts on “Video Quick-Bit: Numitrons And Infinite Build Volumes

    1. The trick is that this is a bidirectional ROM : it outputs a different value depending on the polarity of the address signal. This halves the number of relays, which don’t care of the direction/polarity of the signal !
      I don’t think I have ever seen this system before…

  1. As my previous comment seems to have fallen down the memory hole, perhaps because I backed up my statements with external links… a 3D printer with a conveyor belt bed to allow “start a print, manufacture an object, then remove that print from the print bed” was available as a commercial product in 2010, the Makerbot Thing-o-matic. MBI patented the concept but didn’t release any more commercial iterations of it.

  2. Conveyor belt heated beds are neat, but not particularly practical. They’re also not new. A flat, rigid, and evenly heated bed is a major component of print quality, and those characteristics are all at odds with a conveyor belt. I expect a way to pop the print off the bed and then remove it from the print volume might see actual use. Robot arm or something? You could try cooling the bed to pop the print off first, or use flexible removable bed plates.

    A conveyor might work if it was a good print surface and you could pull it tight against the bed for each print, but at that point it seems… overcomplicated. Also, wear would be a real issue.

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