3D Printer Filament Monitor

First of all we should consider the following points:

  1. For obvious reasons of easy pricing the plastic of 3D printing filament is sold and managed at source on a weight based. Despite it is distributed in form of filament, useful for the 3D printers. The most common diameters are 1.75 and 3 mm thick.
  2. 3D printers – especially the slicers algorithms – calculates the printing time based on the – average – Extruder speed integrated with the filament diameter, the nozzle size and the layer thickness. It has sense because as a matter of fact the physics of the slicer is calculating a solid 3D object divided in slices where the speed as well as extrusion temperature impact on the final quality. So while doing the slicing calculations it is easy and useful to collect the number of meters needed to 3D print a certain object.
  3. Depending on the material we use filament has different performances; I mean same weight corresponds to different metering of the roll (filament diameter makes the difference)
  4. We know – or it is easy to know the specific weight of the materials, e.g. PLA and ABS have different specific weights: one meter of PLA has different weight than one meter of ABS, same diameter. A good value can be obtained by the filament calculator
  5. The entire process to measure weight and lenght of the filament (used, remaining etc.) should be cheap and easy and efficient too
  6. Asking for external – producers/distributors – help making complex changes is senseless. We have a problem and we should solve it. Not change the world to avoid the problem.

Considering the above points the right approach for a dynamic measuring of the 3D printers filament usage is surely weight-based.

About one year ago I have created an original 3D printable filament spool support. The assembly guide is shown in an instructable: 3D Printer Filament Spooler Support Assembly Guide I used for all my 3D printings without problems.

Now the 3D Printer Filament Monitor integrates this support with a weight sensor creating an Arduino based device for real-time filament monitoring. Also in this case the entire structure is fully 3D printed and the images below shows how it is built.


Coming soon: TiltPan Micro Camera Arduino Shield

The next project will be published, soon available on Tindie.com is the TiltPan Micro Camera Arduino Shield. In the following video you can see the prototype on-the-move.

TiltPan Assembled 3Main features

  • Dual-axis tilt and pan 180 Deg movement with micro servos
  • Board shield arduino compatible with Duemilanove, Diecimila, Arduino UNO R1/R2
  • include a full HD micro camera
  • Shooting and video saved on the camera micro SD (up to 32Gb)
  • Arduino library provided with the shield (under development)
  • Can be easily adapted to other cameras
  • Full camera control (power, shooting mode, etc.)
  • Can capture time-lapse variable sequences
  • Independent power supply for the camera and servos
  • Can capture semi-spherical panoramas (need separate stictch software to assemble the image)
  • Independent axis movement in the sequences (tilt-only, pan-only) or synchronized movement (tilt-pan together)
  • More options and features are under testing

Test example

The video below shows a sequence only created with the device.

Test settings

  • One shoot every 4 seconds
  • First move from left-bottom to up-right, 1 Deg step on the longer axis (pan rotation)
  • Second move from the previous position to the middle position, pan rotation only, 1 Deg step
  • 512 frames shoot in the same position

Digital Potentiometer Arduino Shield Reviewed by Freetronics.com

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 07.50.40We wish to thank the friends of Freetronics (Australia) for the review of the Digital Potentiometer Arduino Shield on their great blog.

The shield PCB or full assembly version can be bought on Tindie. for 10$ (or less, follow the discounts and promotions). See the Freetronics full blog post here.

Digital Potentiometer Arduino Shield on Electro Schematics

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 17.54.02Full description of the Digital Potentiometer Arduino Shield on the new article on Electro Schematics electronic site. The article can be found in the Arduino section.

Includes downloadable sketches of the programs shown in the video below, a complete description of the project, schematics, PCB layout and the digital potentiometer device data-sheet.

The shield PCB or full assembly version can be bought on Tindie. Follow the full description on the product page.