Z-Chunking for Cooperative 3D Printing of Large and Tall Objects

Weber, Daniel H
Zhou, Wenchao
Sha, Zhenghui
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Cooperative 3D Printing (C3DP) is an emerging technology designed to address the size and printing speed limitations of conventional gantry-based 3D printers. To print large-scale objects, C3DP divides a job into chunks to be printed by a swarm of mobile robots. Previously, we developed a Chunker algorithm to partition jobs into printable parts in the XY direction, which theoretically enables the printing of objects of unlimited size in XY dimensions. However, print size is limited in the Z direction due to the physical constraints of the printer. In this paper, we introduce the first working strategy and rules of Z-Chunking for C3DP, such as where and how to place chunk boundaries along the Z direction and alignment geometries for easy post-assembly. Additional challenges of interfacing with XY chunking and facilitating re-assembly of the job are also considered. We conduct two case studies on objects of varying geometric complexity (e.g., simple solids vs. hollow structures) in which the object is chunked, printed, and assembled.