PrintWatch detects 3D printing errors to optimize time and materials

US-based Printpal has announced the official release of PrintWatch, a software and API capable of detecting printing errors during the part manufacturing process and taking appropriate action. The solution can stop a print in progress, warn the user of a fault or reduce an excessively high extrusion temperature. PrintWatch is also able to monitor the status of the 3D printer in question, which facilitates the planning of possible maintenance operations. This solution can be integrated with OctoPrint and is available through a monthly subscription.

Managing a print, regardless of the technology used, can be complex, especially when you have several 3D printers running at the same time. Errors happen quickly, such as nozzle jams, threads, over-extrusion, etc. Often you have to restart the printing process, which means using more material than expected and, above all, wasting machine time. There are currently a few solutions to facilitate this management: remote monitoring applications, integrated cameras, end of filament detection, etc. Indeed, we presented this intelligent AIMS box, capable of detecting the most common errors simply by being placed on the machine.


What the machine learning model sees (photo credits: Printpal)

PrintWatch is not based on a physical system but on software and an API. Printpal, a company specializing in machine learning and artificial intelligence, uses a series of algorithms that adapt to the user’s 3D printer. The user installs the software on his computer or on a Raspberry Pi – configuration is quick and easy – and enters his printing parameters. For example, he can choose the preferred detection sensitivity.

Concretely, when the software has spotted a defect, it traces it in order to assess its seriousness. Depending on the situation, it can shut down the machine or simply send a notification to the user. The accuracy rate is estimated at 93%. How it works? Printpal explains, “In order to detect defects in real time, PrintWatch takes the video feed from a camera attached to the printer’s print area and runs it through a machine learning model capable of detecting defects of varying sizes, shapes, colors, materials, lights and settings. When a defect is positively identified, PrintWatch then begins to follow the defect to see how it develops. If it is clear that the defect is getting worse, PrintWatch takes action This tracking system helps prevent false positives from triggering action by the software.”

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These machine learning models are built on a cloud, so all you need is an internet connection to access them and run the calculations. PrintWatch is also accessible through Octoprint. Finally, be aware that another version is under development, a version that would only work via a local network, ideal for manufacturers facing possible security problems. As for the price, it costs $9 per month for a 3D printer for the Premium version – if you want to use a second machine, add $4. A one-month trial version is available for the most curious. Find more information HERE.

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