Oct 17, 2016 | By Benedict

A $100,000 Kickstarter campaign has been launched for alignG, a precision alignment tool for 3D printers and CNC machines. The wireless, portable, non-contact measurement instrument utilizes an innovative ultrasonic measurement technology for 3D printer and CNC machine maintenance.

No matter how good your 3D printer is, failing to set the correct nozzle-bed gap can result in poor adhesion and overall print quality. Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to determine the appropriate size of the gap: too large and the print will not stick; too small and the first layer could become damaged. To enable precise Z-stage positioning, a group of 3D printing experts has introduced alignG, a precision alignment tool for both 3D printers and CNC machines. In 3D printers, the device can be used for monitoring and zeroing of the Z-stage, as well as rapid and accurate bed leveling and filament life estimation, making it an essential item in the maker’s toolkit.

The high precision, non-contact distance measurement sensor of the alignG system is able to accurately measure the displacement of the Z-stage of a 3D printer. Makers need only attach the device to the printer’s extruder before calibrating it or finding the best gap through trial and error. alignG will then give an accurate, quick, repeatable reading of the gap distance via its built-in display, allowing makers to consistently achieve proper adhesion and print quality.

According to the alignG team, the new device can do much more than just Z-stage positioning. To achieve perfect prints, users of 3D printers also need to properly level their print bed, which can become misaligned through small bumps and nudges. Failure to properly align the bed can lead to uneven layers and low-quality prints. Using alignG, makers can perform this task quickly and easily, as the device can automatically identify which corner needs adjustment, and by what degree.

The final printer-enhancing feature of alignG is its capacity to estimate the lifespan of 3D printing filament, enabled by an adaptive humidity monitoring algorithm. With this algorithm, alignG (when dropped into a filament storage container) measures the humidity and temperature of the environment, then estimates the amount of water absorbed by the filament. The result is an accurate estimate of the remaining lifespan of the filament. By flagging up filament which has absorbed too much water, alignG can help makers avoid jamming their hot end or getting small bubbles in their printed layers.

alignG is available in three versions: I ($56), II ($84), and III ($175). The basic alignG I provides most major features but lacks bluetooth connectivity, battery power, and the humidity sensor function. The most advanced version, alignG III, has a higher precision than the other two models, and also comes with a tachometer. The alignG team has developed software (Windows, IoS, Android, Linux) for all versions, and the handy device can also benefit users of CNC machines, providing Z-stage positioning and bed leveling functionality as well as spindle alignment and spindle speed monitoring.

With a month left to go, the $100,000 alignG Kickstarter campaign already has over 220 backers and over $18,000 worth of pledges. Expect to see this project fully funded on November 15, after which the alignG team will begin preparing shipments. The first early bird orders will ship March 2017.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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