3D Printer Recognizes Third-Party Build Plates, Just Make Your Own ID Codes

The Bambu X1C 3D printer is a machine known for its speed, and it has a number of useful features like automatic build platform recognition. Factory build platforms are marked with an identifier code, and thanks to [elumspe] it’s now possible to make your own identifiers to stick onto third-party platforms and have the printer recognize them as though they were factory offerings. There’s even a super handy 3D-printable alignment tool that ensures the identifier goes in the correct spot, which is a nice touch.

These codes aren’t DRM so much as they are used by the printer to automatically verify that the installed build plate matches the slicer settings before a job begins. Printing one and sticking it in the right place is an easy way to get third-party plates recognized the same as factory offerings.

The identifier codes aren’t DRM so much as they are a way for the printer to verify that the installed build platform matches the slicer settings before a print begins, and throw up a warning if it doesn’t. The printer is perfectly happy to use third-party build surfaces, but since they lack an identifier, the printer will throw a warning each time. One solution is to simply disable checking the build platform before a print, but for those who would prefer to have the printer see what it expects to see, printing a small 2D barcode to stick on is an easy way to do it.

We see these sometimes called QR codes, but they look more like AprilTags. Both are types of 2D barcode, but while QR codes can encode a variety of information types, AprilTags are simpler and usually represent identifiers. In this case, they’re an appropriate way to let a camera-enabled printer know what kind of build plate is installed.

AprilTags are common in computer vision applications, and even relatively modest hardware can detect and decode them almost in real time. AprilTags are convenient and easy to use, as this gate access system demonstrates.

14 thoughts on “3D Printer Recognizes Third-Party Build Plates, Just Make Your Own ID Codes

    1. That’s exactly why it’s useful, as a sanity check.

      If we imagine the situation you are in another room at your computer. You slice your model with the settings for the textured bed and then send it to the printer. The printer can recognize “Hey this isn’t the textured bed are you sure?”. You can still print and ignore the warning. But it stops you accidentally ruining a bed if you just forgot to swap them beforehand.

    2. Awesome if you are only running a single printer. But is can be an important feature if you run several of them 24/7. I have a couple of employees that are relatively new at this and it helps avoiding simple mistakes during a shift.

  1. I had a print fail 2 times, then I printed something else and failed too. Took me a while to realise I left the slicer with the engineering build plate and I was using the textured PEI instead. This would have been useful, but my printer does not have a camera on the nozzle :D

  2. Zack Friedman said in a recent video that while Bamboo’s tags on their filaments are currently kinda useful and not being used for DRM right now, they are also not open-source (so you can’t make tags for your other filament) and they do leave a tempting route to DRM for any future owners of the company.

    The security in the RFID tags they use is way overkill for no good reason.

    This sort of thing just makes me nervous of their intentions long-term, and what might arrive in future firmware updates to my expensive Bamboo printer.

    1. It can be used fully locally, both networked or non-networked. No need to use it with the cloud if you don’t.

      I’m glad the Bambu printers exist, it’s nice to finally have a printer that “just works” at a reasonable price point. Hopefully it lights a fire under Prusa and similar to finally meaningfully innovate and price appropriately.

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