One of the issues with 3D printing is that when a print is done, you need to go back and pull the print off the bed to reset it for the next one. What if you needed to print 600 little parts for whatever reason? Most people might say get lots of printers and queue them up. Not [Pierre Trappe], as he decided that his Prusa i3 MK3S+ would print continuously.
The setup was dubbed Loop and consisted of a few parts. First, there’s an arm that sweeps the build plate to clear the printed pieces, a slide for the pieces to descend on, and a stand for the printer to sit on that puts it at an angle. The next step is to modify OctoPrint to allow a continuous print queue. The slicer needs to change as [Pierre] provides some G-code to reset the printer and clear the print.
We were especially impressed with the attention to detail in the documentation for this one. There’s extensive guidance on getting the bed adhesion just right, as you can’t have it come off mid-print, but you need it to detach cleanly and easily when the arm sweeps across the bed. Calibrating that first layer is essential, and he provides handy instructions to dial it in. Additionally, temperature and material play a crucial role, and [Pierre] documented the different materials and temperatures he used while developing Loop.
While continuous belt printers are arguably the “correct” answer to the question of printing 600 little parts, they come with their own baggage. Being able to pull off something similar on a printer as reliable and well supported as the Prusa i3 makes for a compelling alternative.