The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) startup, Inkbit, has developed an industrial 3D printer with machine-vision and machine-learning technologies.
“The company was born out of the idea of endowing a 3D printer with eyes and brains,” said Davide Marini, co-founder and CEO of Inkbit.
“Everyone knows the advantages of 3D printing are enormous, but most people are experiencing problems adopting it. The technology just isn’t there yet. Our machine is the first one that can learn the properties of a material and predict its behavior.”
“I believe it will be transformative because it will enable anyone to go from an idea to a usable product extremely quickly. It opens up business opportunities for everyone.”
You can find a Video explaining the process here.
In 2015 a team started to develop a high speed; high precision 3D printer capable of processing high-quality materials. That team included Marini, Wojciech Matusik (co-founders of Inkbit), an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Javier Ramos, Wenshou Wang, and Kiril Vidimče.
Rubber-like materials such as silicone, and high-temperature materials such as epoxy, are among the most difficult to 3D print usually leading to clogging and failed prints and have a tendency to shrink according to the team.
To address this, a 3D printer with the ability to produce 10 materials at once with machine vision was constructed. This would lead to the commercialization and development of Inkbit’s multi-material inkjet 3D printer dubbed as “Snapper”.
“Before, people could make prototypes with multi-material printers, but they couldn’t really manufacture final parts,” added Matusik. “This is something that’s not possible using any other manufacturing methods.”
“Some of this is so far ahead of its time,” Matusik says. “I think it will be really fascinating to see how people are going to use it for final products.”
Vialva, Tia, et al. “MIT’s Inkbit Creates Industrial 3D Printer with ‘Eyes and a Brain.’” 3D Printing Industry, 4 June 2019, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/mits-inkbit-creates-industrial-3d-printer-with-eyes-and-a-brain-156523/.