3D Printers

3D Printer Solutions from Texas Instruments


Additive manufacturing, or 3D Printing, is a process of laying down successive layers of material to produce a 3D physical object. In a matter of hours, 3D printers create products by “printing” successive layers of material specified by the cross-sections of a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model. The possibilities for 3D printers are limitless as they have been used to create a wide variety of designs, from prototypes to end-products. With this technology, printing parts of a material can be done in a single process flow. Although they have been in existence for several decades, 3D printers are becoming more affordable for medium and small scale businesses in which rapid prototyping is brought all the way into the office, no longer requiring manufacturing floor space. The 3D printer model described below is especially useful for general purpose 3D printing. If high precision 3D printing is required, it is suggested to use a DLP 3D printer, which can be found under Similar End-Equipment Solutions.

The necessary components for designing a 3D printer using TI’s Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor are shown in the block diagram above. A 3D model of the object to be printed is produced by CAD software running on a PC. The CAD model is transferred to the processor via USB. The processor accomplishes motor control through Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) signals to MOSFET drivers. One option for hard real-time operation of the motors and extruders is to use the PRU-ICSS. The X- and Y-axis motors correctly orient the object on the Heated Printer Bed (HPB) while the Z-axis motor controls the extruder as it begins the process of printing layers of material. Fans may also be added for cooling the object as it is printed. Power is provided by TI Power devices.

Alternative methods for creating a 3D printer exist that utilize TI’s Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor on BeagleBone or BeagleBone Black interfacing with a cape. The BeBoPr 3D Printer Cape provides all the necessary I/O to control a Mendel/Reprap 3D-printer. More information can be found from the links under Reference Designs.

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Application notes & user guides

Application Notes (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
HTM 8 KB 15 Apr 2013 603

User Guides (2)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
pdf 147 KB 12 Jan 2017 2589
pdf 426 KB 18 Dec 2012 792

Selection & solution guides

Selection Guides (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
PDF 4.91 MB 24 Jul 2012 459

Solution Guides (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
PDF 6.34 MB 16 Nov 2016 48838

Product bulletin & white papers

Product Bulletin (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 216 KB 17 Oct 2012 2007

White Papers (5)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 4.1 MB 09 May 2013 1807
PDF 152 KB 14 Mar 2013 1803
PDF 1.17 MB 04 Oct 2012 1035
PDF 179 KB 20 Apr 2012 2310
PDF 77 KB 11 Mar 2008 901

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