P18462: Solar Powered FDM 3D Printer
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Systems Design

Table of Contents

Team Vision for System-Level Design Phase

During this phase of our design, our team to continued efforts to create a 3D printing system that is operational in Columbia. This system will be able to operate independently of the power grid due to the areas unreliable power.

We generated a number of different system level ideas through our morph chart and combined them into the creation of our concepts. After comparing the generated concepts for positives and negatives, we came up with a concept that we plan on proceeding with for the rest of our project.

Functional Decomposition

Functional Decomposition

Functional Decomposition

Benchmarking

Solar Panel Benchmarking

Solar Panel Benchmarking

Battery Benchmarking

Battery Benchmarking

Feasibility: Prototyping, Analysis, Simulation

Feasibility Questions

  1. What amount of power (Watts) is required to run the entire system?
    • 250 W printer max power
    • Printer actually runs at around 150 W, or 190 W during preheat
    • Most of this power consumption is due to the heated bed
  2. Will a tracking system on a solar panel increase the efficiency significantly?
    • Rob Stevens advised us that the cost and effort required to install a working tracking system will likely not be worth the increase in efficiency
  3. Can we reduce the power requirements of the heated bed?
    • We generated multiple concepts for selective heating of the bed, which is the most power-hungry component of the printer. These methods would require more intensive software and control methods to function properly, which is likely outside the scope of our project
  4. Is it worth it to heat the filament with an alternative method?
    • We generated some concepts for filament heating, but Rob Stevens advised us that standard electric powered heaters are likely the best choice
  5. What are the material properties of PET plastic?
    • Melting Point: 260C
    • PET needs to be heated to around 240C to print properly. This is slightly higher than PLA or ABS, but is within the current capabilities of the printer.
  6. How does a car battery compare to a deep cycle battery?
    • Deep cycle has thicker plates, therefore longer life cycle
    • Car batteries are not built to last as long
  7. How much will the system weigh?
    • Solar panels range from 4-40 lbs
    • Printers around 20 lbs
    • Batteries range from 9-65 lbs
  8. How expensive will the system be?
    • Premade solar panels range from $100-$800
    • DIY solar panel kits are cheaper, usually $50-$200
    • Deep Cycle batteries range from $60-$300
    • Car batteries are around $100
    • Relays/microcontrollers could cost up to $40
    • Total cost of system could be in the $250-$1200 range
  9. How will the system choose whether to use solar or grid power?
    • We generated multiple concepts for energy switching, including relays, solid-state switches, and manual switching
  10. Will the battery last for the entire printing process?
    • Long prints can take up to 12 hours
    • 150 W x 12 hrs = 1800 WH, 1800 WH/ 12 V = 150 AH

Morphological Chart

Morphological Chart

Morphological Chart

Concept Selection

Concept Generation

Concept Generation

Download Excel File

Download Pugh Analysis File

Systems Architecture

System Architecture

System Architecture

Designs and Flowcharts

Energy Switching Flowchart

Energy Switching Flowchart

Risk Assessment

Risk Management

Risk Management

Download Excel File

Design Review Materials

Design Review Presentation

Updated Design Review Presentation

What we learned from the Design Review

Plans for next phase

Timeline for Next Phase

Timeline for Next Phase

Download Project File

Chris' Three Week Plan

Connor's Three Week Plan

Josh's Three Week Plan

Thy's Three Week Plan


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