FFF 3D Printing Help

  • Hello,

    I'm new to robotic arms, and I'm interested in 3D printing with a robotic arm.

    I work with 3D printers (FFF and SLA) for several years, and I will have access to Yaskawa robotic arm, I think it will be the GP4 model.

    I'm looking here for some tips on how the process of slicing is, and how to control an extruder.

    I already did some research and found that some manufactures like Kuka and ABB have features for 3D printing on their softwares, that could do the slicing process, simulate and printing.

    I did not find any native solution on Yaskawa website, actually on their website they suggest to use 3rd-Party CAD/CAM Software tools, that already have registered libraries for their robots.

    I also found some softwares that could do the slice process, or import a g-code and convert it, like Robotmaster, RoboDK and Octopuz OLRP.

    Is there any open-source solution?

    About the extruder, how is it connect to the arm? Is there any I/O available on the arm to control the extruder?

    The extruder is a standard one, so it will be necessary connections for: motor, thermistor, fan, and a heater.

    I'm also interested in collaborative extruders, so I can print one part with several extruders at the same time, could it be possible with the already existing softwares, or it could it be necessary a lot of programming?


    Carlos Silva

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  • I 3d print using yaskawa robots (FDM)

    I normally use Prusaslicer for slicing and use the generated gcode in Robodk. With robodk I'm able to generate the JBI files. Currently the robot only controls the movement and when to start and stop the extruder. Temperature and extruder speed is controlled directly on the Duet3D.

    The problem with yaskawa controllers is that they do not have enough memory to run other than very small prints so we have an external PC which we use to drip feed the robot using a program called motoDCI which we bought from yaskawa.

    It is not easy to start 3d printing. We spend a lot of time to get everything up and running and we still not where we want to be.

    You can see our robots here https://www.flexible-products.dk/en/3d-print/

  • Hello jba,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Let me ask you some other questions:

    1. How does the robot control the start/stop extruder?

    1.1. The extruder is controlled with the Duet, how do you synchronize with the robot?

    2. How does the velocity/acelaration/jerk of the robot and the extruder work?

    Thanks again.

    Carlos Silva

  • When the extruder needs to start or stop we call a program called EXTRUDERON or EXTRUDEROFF. As you can see we get a EXTRUDERON call for every movement of the robot. This is off course not necessary but that needs to be fixed in the postprocessor of ROBODK which is written in python. (we dont have anyone in the company that knows python) The Duet does not control when the extruder starts and stops it only controls the temperature and the flowrate.


    MOVL C00211 V=27.6


    MOVL C00212 V=27.6


    MOVL C00213 V=27.6


    MOVL C00214 V=27.6


    MOVL C00215 V=27.6

    the EXTRUDERON/OFF program is a single line that turns on/off the output which comes from the stepper driver

    DOUT OT#(11) ON

    3. Im not sure exactly what you are asking for. Currently the extruder has a set flowrate which cannot be changed during a print. This produces fine prints and any jerks/acceleration of the robot does not affect the quality. It would be nice to be able to change the flowrate during the print.

  • Hello jba,

    Thanks again for the reply.

    How did you configure the Duet to receive the start/stop command?

    And how did you connect the Duet with the Yaskawa controller?



  • The stepper driver sends and voltage to the yaskawa controller. When the controller turns on/off the DOUT#11 the voltage goes back to the stepper driver which turns on the stepper motor. When it does not recieve the voltage the stepper motor does not spin. (it might be the other way around) So actually the yaskawa controller only talks to the stepper driver. The stepper driver is not connected to the duet.

    I'm sure that you could connect the controller directly to the Duet but that is too complicated for our current skill level.

  • Hello jba,

    We follow your advice to control the extruder anda finally we are start doing some lines.

    We notice that after every instruction there is a little stop of less of a second, that is causing over-extrusion.

    Did you get also this problem, how do you solve


  • No I dont think we have encountered that problem. What program du you use to generate the program? You can try to upload the program and I can see if anything looks off.

  • Has anybody tried making a ping pong robot like this using a 3d printer?

    I have come across one old project: it is a functional ping pong balls launcher designed to be controlled by an arduino (or any other microcontroller). It uses a servo to dispense the balls and two motors with wheels to give speed and shoot them. But I am really interested in other projects.

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