Two southern Maryland residents, Nicholas Lanham and David Edelen, owners of AaronLouis Technology, LLC, have displayed the ultimate entrepreneurial spirit–the two have developed the first-ever industrial 3D printer that includes closed loop motor control using open source software. The native Marylanders have been working on software for these printers, named the AaronLouis Closed Loop (CL) 1720 and Open Loop (OP)1720, over the past three years and are committed to delivering an affordable closed loop additive manufacturing alternative that is loaded with features and controlled via open-source software, a common entity in the 3D printing community. Their mantra: Made in Maryland. In May, Lanham and Edelen will launch a Kickstarter campaign that offers several all-metal construction 3D printing systems that include closed loop motor control, open source software, high temperature extruders and hotbeds, and several additional features. The team’s goal is to introduce their new 3D printing systems to the market and highlight closed loop motor control capabilities.
Closed loop motor control systems are typically very expensive and require proprietary software that can be equally expensive. In addition, the software provided with most closed loop control systems is typically not open for customization or modification for the user. However, the software running the AaronLouis Closed Loop (CL) 1720 and Open Loop (OP)1720 printers is completely free and open to the 3D printing community. No additional software license costs are required. Several third-party companies have produced closed loop motor kits for existing printers, requiring complicated tuning algorithms and extensive testing. In comparison, the AaronLouis software is a turn-key, ready-to-use design. AaronLouis 3D printers were designed to push additive manufacturing capabilities past “rapid prototyping,” as well as printing parts that lack structural integrity. For a standard temperature printer, this goal is achieved by expanding customer filament options to anything that can be extruded within the 315 deg c. extruder nozzle and 300 deg c. hotbed temperature range. Our high temperature versions of the CL1720 and OL1720 systems are capable of extruding at temperatures above 400 deg c. This exclusively wide temperature range allows for virtually every filament option to be available, including exotic materials like fiber-reinforced PEEK or PEI for parts designed with function and structural integrity in mind.
After three years of development, the team is very proud to offer the first 100-percent open sourced closed loop 3D printer. The CL1720 and OL1720 printer systems are very strong, reliable systems built on an extremely rigid aluminum frame that is surrounded by 16-gauge aluminum sheet stock. This design further increases rigidity, and also provides a very clean and industrial look to the printer.
The extruders included with the CL1720 and OP1720 systems are based on an all-metal design along with stainless-steel drive gears that are powered by NEMA11 motors. These motors provide 13 times the torque of standard NEMA11 motors and output improved power curve profiles for more consistent extrusions. This advanced extruder design, combined with a low-profile, removable hotbed design is extremely durable and ready for extended use. The independently-controlled, dual print head provides the capability of printing with a support material for complex shapes, two different colors for multi-color prints, or two different materials for hybrid part designs.
The removable hotbed design is based on two pieces of .25-inch thick 6061 aluminum plates that encase three high-temperature, low-profile, heater elements. These high-temperature elements are capable of reaching temperatures of 300 deg c. Finally, the hotbed is driven by a high-torque (400 oz/in) NEMA 23 stepper motor that is connected to a 16MM ballscrew drive to increase accuracy and extended durability. As previously noted, the low-profile removable hotbed design increases productivity by providing customers with the ability to quickly remove finished parts rather than waiting several minutes between prints for cool down. In order to significantly reduce system downtime between prints, the AaronLouis hotbed design allows for another hotbed surface-plate to simply be dropped onto the existing base-plate.
The following video provides a sneek peak into the team’s kickstarter video and industrial 3D printer concept. The video provides a unique example of how closed loop motor control allows for continued prints, even when the extruder is pushed away from the object being printed. We do not recommend attempting this demonstration with any other printer, as this video was intended to demonstrate the accuracy and reliability of the CL1720 system. Even after two separate pushes that physically moved the extruder hundreds of millimeters away from the object being printed, the CL1720 requires no re-calibration or adjustment and continues to accurately print the part. The closed loop motor control system continues to actively compensate for any missed steps, maintaining quality at higher print speeds.
The following table provides a comparison between the CL1720 and OL1720 systems and several other similar 3D printing systems in the industry. After reviewing the provided table, it is easy to see how the AaronLouis industrial 3D printers offer more build volume, more material options, closed loop motor control, and more overall workflow compatibility for a better price. At $5,850, the CL1720HT is the only model that offers closed loop motor control in this class, even compared to it $20,900 competitor. The OL1720S offers a similar build volume on a more robust mechanical design for over $6,000 less then a competitor of similar specifications. The OL1720HT offers the widest material selection of any of its competitors at a very economical price.
|Name||OL1720S||CubePro Dual||OL1720HT||Ultimaker 3 Extended||CL1720HT||AXIOM 20||uPrint SE Plus|
|Material||ABS, PLA, Flex, Wood, Nylon, PC||ABS, PLA||All Known Thermo plastics!||Nylon, PLA, ABS CPE, and PVA||All Known Thermo plastics!||ABS, PLA, Flex, Wood, Nylon||ABS|
|OS Compatibility||Windows, Mac||Windows, Mac||Windows, Mac||Windows, Mac||Windows, Mac||Windows, Mac||Windows|
|3rd Party Material||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Build Size||300x300x 300mm||285x230x 270mm||300x300x 300mm||197x215x 300mm||300x300x 300mm||318x305x 508mm||203x203x 152mm|
|Heated Bed (Max Temp.)||Yes (150C)||No||Yes (300C)||Yes (100C)||Yes (300C)||Yes (140C)||No|
|# of Extruders (Max Temp.)||2 (315C)||2||2 (400C)||2 (280C)||2 (400C)||2 (315C)||1|
|Motor Control||Open Loop||Open Loop||Open Loop||Open Loop||Closed Loop||Open Loop||Open Loop|