3D Printer Automated Bed Swapping System Loads From A Magazine

FDM 3D printing has gone beyond prototyping and is being used as a production tool by many companies. However, conventional printers still require an operation to pop the finished part of the bed and start a new print. [Thomas Sandladerer] wanted a way to swap beds without human intervention, so he built an automatic print surface changing system.

The most obvious solution to this problem may appear to be belt printers like the Creality CR-30, but these come with some trade-offs. Bed adhesion can be a problem, and the lack of a rigid print surface causes some parts to come out warped. [Thomas] wanted to be able to use PEI-coated steel beds to avoid these issues. His solution is a system that pulls beds from a “magazine” and pushed out the old bed after a part is finished. It still uses a magnetic heatbed, which lowers out of the way before changing print surfaces. Each print surface is fitted inside a 3D printed frame which rests on the tool changer frame and keeps it in place as the heatbed drops down. The bed frames are printed using ASA, can handle 90 C without problems. The pusher mechanism and the heatbed lowering system are driven by stepper motors which connect to the spare motor outputs on the printer’s control board. The printer in question is a Voron 2.4, which is perfect for this application thanks to its high print speed.

This tool-changing system is only the first prototype, but it still worked very well. [Thomas] plans to make key improvements like a larger print bed and reduced height. This system might be a good fit for small and large print farms. We’ve seen another bed-clearing system that doesn’t require extra build surfaces, but instead scrapes off the completed part.

10 thoughts on “3D Printer Automated Bed Swapping System Loads From A Magazine

    1. Glad to see you still around man. Last time I saw you was ERRF 2019. Looks like things are still progressing. Your work on your browser-based CAD package is actually quite amazing. That alone is a worthy project in itself.

  1. You should check out the quinly printer upgrade. It’s like a more refined version of this and much more simple to set up. I’ve been using it on my ender 3 pro for a few months now and it’s so simple but it works so well. It doesn’t need exchangeable beds. I just load up a 5kg spool of filament and let it go printing parts for days. some of the discord members are doing thousands of parts per month on it

    1. If you watched his video, you’d know he already mentioned it. He actually mentioned wondering if the parts that were bigger, with larger surface areas would have a harder time moving off, etc.

  2. It’s a similar approach to the “86Duino Enjoy Auto” printer that was around some years ago:
    I believe it was available as a simple upgrade.

    The Tiertime X5 has a similar mechanism too.

    Both printers use fibreglass beds, as they predate the popularity of spring steel, and the edges of the bed slide along channels instead of magnetically snapping on – mechanically much simpler.

  3. Hmm, another approach would be a mechanism that can push up and flex the bed (to pop loose the part), then put it back down, then have a “wiper” sweep the part off to one side. An advantage is that you don’t run out of beds. If you use a filament/bed combo that easily releases once the bed cools down, you might be able to get away with just the wiper.

  4. Tom, I watched your video last evening. It is amazing! I personally have my E3pro and E3v2 in a “restricted storage space” so I have my tiny space FULL. I know you also have the “extra parts” from printers you’ve reviewed (very honestly). I only have one DEAD printer and it’s not built on the open dev rails/platforms. MPmini-v1 I have a pile of old inkjet and laserjet printers I can scrounge motor’s and LASER’s from. They’ll have to wait for now. I liked your project as an ALPHA product. The trays just “dumping” off the edge, is a little rough, some prints might not survive the “drop” IDK? But as a proof of concept, way cool!

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