Dear community members,

I am considering starting a kick-starter campaign to develop a Robotic arm to automate 3D printing process. It will be a cloud based solution and the robotic arm can be controlled from any web-connected computer or mobile device.

The Arm will primarily take care of safe removal of print from Print Bed and placing it in a designated container. Down the line, ability to change material can also be added.

My pain point:

I recently started a Hub. My 3D printer is located in my office which is about 30 mins subway ride from my home. Sometimes I receive order late at night. So I would like to start the print without having to waste 30+ mins in commuting each way. Printing at night is also the best utilization of the printer. So it will be nice to automate that process.

I currently have Ultimaker 2+ so I will start with a robotic arm designed for that. However, I would like it to work with most desktop 3D printers in near future.

Some of the existing robotic arms which does similar tasks costs $5000+. My goal is to keep the price low in $200-$500 range.

I have a background in Mechanical Engineering, 3D CAD Software development, Cloud based solutions, and I love tinkering with 3D printers and Arduino and Raspberry Pi. So I thought it will be a fun project to work on and can also be helpful to other makers/ Hub owners.

What do you think? Do you feel the need for such solution? If you have any idea/suggestion that you would like to incorporate in this robotic arm please let me know. My email is pjdixit ‘at’ digiphy3d ‘dot’ com. You can also leave a comment below.

Thank you!

-Prasad @ DigiPhy3D’s Hub


i wish there was some way i could help out.

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Cool for some printers i bet. But with twchnology included with my printer i am able to start stop modify and moniter from my phone. Maybe the arm can lift print off the bed and start the next one?

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that would be the best project to work on to remove print from print bed so you can begin the next print from your phone etc.

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You can always help by spreading the word or by backing the kick-starter campaign when it is launched.

Apart from that, I might need some help building it. So do stay in touch please.

Thank you!


Hi DroneWorks,

Yes, that is the main motive - To be able to completely automate the 3D printing process. You should be able to do everything including removal of existing print from the bed, changing the material and print settings if needed, and starting a new print from any web connected PC or mobile device.

Probably, in recent future drones can carry them to the nearest post office for customers who need shipping. Who knows? :wink:

Thank you!

Hey Prasad. We have offices on the same floor. You can count on me for help whenever you need it.

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Hi Marco,

Thank you for offering help! I will definitely keep you in loop about the progress.

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The fire risk created by printing unattended is not worth it.

Thanks for the link! I have a somewhat different approach in mind.

It is a legitimate concern. However, I have not seen any fire hazards reported because of unattended printing. If anyone has a bad experience, I would like to know.

Nonetheless, The robotic arm will allow you to monitor the 3D printer remotely through a web-connected camera. As an additional security measure temperature sensor can also be added.In case of fire, concerned authorities can be immediately notified.

There have been lots of fires, this guy lost his whole house and a pet Beware your 3D printer (They can cause fires) (Page 1) — Solidoodle Discussion — SoliForum - 3D Printing Community

When I started out I printed unattended all the time, as I met more professional people I found that they were all shocked I even considered printing unattended.

There is a considerable fire risk, especially with kit printers using screw blocks to connect heated beds, don’t take the chance.

Homemade smoke detection systems are not safe either, the sensor connected to the raspberry pi is burned up before it detects a fire and sends any signal, and your house is gone.

I know it takes some of the magic away to not be able to go to sleep or leave and return 8 hours later to a huge new object, but at least you still have a house. Even if it only burns up your printer the cost to clean up a small amount of burned plastic smoke damage would easily wipe out an entire year of printing work for me.

Yep, just thought it Washington Aldo interesting.

I’ll keep an eye on this talk!

I print on PVA and honestly, I’ve had to take pliers to one or two prints to get them off. Whatever you make has to ensure it doesn’t damage the bed. This is extra important if its got sprung manual levelling.

Thanks for the input Acrimonius. I will keep it in mind. I just want to add that I have Ultimaker 2+ which has heated bed. So far every single print came off the bed almost effortlessly without any damage to the print.

You’re most welcome! I was printing PLA with an E3D V6 at 70 degrees on PVA. That stuck way too well!

Oh, and by the way, I’m a Product Design Engineering student and have previously done (and continue to do) NDA commission work (mainly CAD) for a member of a Fortune 500 company. If I can help in any way let me know!

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Thanks! I will let you know.

Glad to hear it! Here’s my Thingiverse so you don’t lose contact: Thingiverse - Digital Designs for Physical Objects

Glad to help :slight_smile:

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