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Coordinated Toolpath Planning for Multi-Extruder Additive Manufacturing
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  • Jayant Khatkar ,
  • Chanyeol Yoo ,
  • Robert Fitch ,
  • Lee Clemon ,
  • Ramgopal Mettu
Jayant Khatkar
University of Technology Sydney

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Chanyeol Yoo
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Robert Fitch
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Lee Clemon
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Ramgopal Mettu
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Abstract

We present a new algorithm for coordinating the motion of multiple extruders to increase throughput in fused filament fabrication (FFF)/fused deposition modelling (FDM) additive manufacturing. Platforms based on FFF are commonly available and advantageous to several industries, but are limited by slow fabrication time and could be could be significantly improved through efficient use of multiple extruders. We propose the coordinated toolpath planning problem for systems of extruders mounted as end-effectors on robot arms with the objective of maximising utilization and avoiding collisions. Building on the idea of dependency graphs introduced in our earlier work, we develop a planning and control framework that precomputes a set of multi-layer toolpath segments from the input model and efficiently assigns them to individual extruders such that executed toolpaths are collision-free. Our method overcomes key limitations of existing methods, including utilization loss from workspace partitioning, precomputed toolpaths subject to collisions with the partially fabricated object, and wasted motion resulting from strict layer-by-layer fabrication. We report simulation results that show a major increase in utilization compared to single- and multi-extruder methods, and favorable fabrication results using commodity hardware that demonstrate the feasibility of our method in practice.