Microcontroller based 3D printer control

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Dr. Iváncsy Szabolcs
Department of Automation and Applied Informatics

3D printing, fast prototyping - the Internet has been flooded with these phrases since the associated costs of 3D printing dropped and it became accessible for everyone. Its technology went through a substantial growth in the last couple of years, in which the open-source online community has played a significant role.

The goal of my thesis project is to design, manufacture and program a 3D printer control circuit, which is capable of driving the readily available, commercial FDM 3D printers today.

In my thesis report, first I elaborate on the 3D printing technologies that are available today. Thereafter I itemize all the selected hardware components in the design phase, which covers the main control circuit and the local user interface. Since my hardware approach doesn't rely only on a microcontroller, but instead on the synergy of a microcontroller and a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), I also present their task distribution. My report continues with the detailed description of the FPGA's and the microcontroller's software, which guides the reader through both all the embedded functionalities and the entire human machine interface. The report ends with various measurements of the assembled and programmed device.

Within the framework of my thesis project, I've designed a control circuit, its local user interface and implemented the necessary software modules. Various circuit measurements prove its proper operation.


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