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3D printer jet detection: transmission scan in place

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236943D
Publication Date: 2014-May-22
Document File: 2 page(s) / 179K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A 3D printing system requires periodic automated inspection of each ink jet operation to ensure quality levels are maintained throughout a lengthy part formation process. Previous methods require printing with large numbers of jets and weighing the result to detect variations. That method also does not allow for any individual jet properties to be measured. The proposed new method is to produce the inkjet image onto a transparent media supported by a transparent platen and then scan this image while it is still in the same place where it was produced. Detection of clear resin in a light transmission mode is possible due to the shape of the clear resin drop. The drop forms a lens that directs the collimated light to focus somewhere behind the plane of the deflector, thus creating a dark shadow area in the zone of the spot. Opaque resins generate a shadow by simply blocking the light.

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3D printer jet detection: transmission scan in place

A 3D printing system requires periodic automated inspection of each ink jet operation to ensure quality levels are maintained throughout a lengthy part formation process.  Previous methods require printing with large numbers of jets and weighing the result to detect variations. That method also does not allow for any individual jet properties to be measured. The proposed new method is to produce the inkjet image onto a transparent media supported by a transparent platen and then scan this image while it is still in the same place where it was produced. Detection of clear resin in a light transmission mode is possible due to the shape of the clear resin drop. The drop forms a lens that directs the collimated light to focus somewhere behind the plane of the deflector, thus creating a dark shadow area in the zone of the spot. Opaque resins generate a shadow by simply blocking the light.

This idea proposes producing the inkjet image onto a transparent medium supported by a transparent platen and then scan this image while it is still in the same place where it was produced. The medium is approximately 12 mm wide and is a long strip stored on a supply spool and a take up spool. The full width of the print head, approximately 215mm, is printed on the medium at one time. After the print head and associated hardware on the print carriage move away from the missing jet test area, the array of inkjet spots is measured in place, before the medium is moved. Alternatively, the medium could be a wide strip approximately 215 mm and which is advanced approximately 10 mm between jet checking sequences.

A full width linear array of light sensitive detectors with a pixel size of approximately 20 ╬╝ is positioned below the transparent platen in a way to allow it to be traversed at a well-controlled velocity across the 5mm length of the inkjet spot array. A collimated light source is mounted in a way to rotate from a storage position below the plane of the medium and platen during the phase of generating the array of inkjet spots to a position directl...