Plural’s 3D Printing Material Management System Uses Propeller 1 FLiP Module

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The Plural Additive Manufacturing Material Management System (MMS) manages filament for large-format, additive manufacturing industrial 3D printers. The system provides a moisture-absorbing desiccant canister and electric heater to keep ten spools of filament dry and ready to print — providing the highest material lifespan in a low humidity environment.

Plural’s new MMS is controlled by the Propeller 1 Multicore Microcontroller in the FLiP format. The Propeller 1 FLiP Module top-level software is written in Spin and is interfaced in the following way:

  • Main control software functionality
    • Generate user display and process input
    • Control heaters to maintain target temp
    • Display filament remaining based on load cell data
    • Communicate with optional PC server to allow users to update filaments and understand what is in the cabinet at any given time
    • Provide zero, calibration and other basic initialization features
    • Manage display communications
  • Lower-level objects for sensor and load cell control is done in PASM
    • Three (3) SPI Temp / Humidity Sensors
    • Six (6) SPI Load Cells 

With the main control software being written in Spin, the Plural team says “it’s easy to maintain and modify” and that “the FLiP Module contains everything we need to do this efficiently, including the EEPROM, I/O, power, and communication via USB in a single package” and ultimately allowing the MMS to optimize material usage while saving time, reducing failed 3D prints, providing the highest print quality, and supporting a 24×7 printing operation with remote control and monitoring. 

Read more about Plural’s large-scale industrial 3D printers at https://pluralam.com/

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