Make Moai extensible, not open source


#1

Dear Peopoly,

Having read the forums about the desire for open source for the Moai SLA printer… I completely sympathize with Peopoly for wanting to protect IP and that being “knocked off” is a rite of passage for competitiors that they know all too well would happily destroy their hard work to make great product.

Especially in the galvo control code must be protected. And frankly no one else should mess with it for lot’s of technical and saftey reasons.

The point is – Open Source does not solve the true goal of the run-of-the-mill experimenter, which is to innovate and still have support from Peopoly. Yes open source will allow a few, like me, to do whatever I want, but frankly I do not want to break code and be stuck high-n-dry with no support.

A development SDK solved this.

I was a systems PM and systems developer in graphics and gaming at Microsoft for nearly 20 years… trust me, I know this system design and SDK stuff. Really really really well. Now I have a private product design boutique in Seattle.

I own 4 Moai, and a formlabs 1+, and I really enjoy the Moai – the Moai are the most essential part of my product design business.

I selected Peopoly over Formlabs and others not because of compariable quality at a great price, but becase it was advertised as being open for experimentation. Which to me meant I could extend, not replace, some capabilities. Currently I have to hack the hardware to get the signals I need for external monitoring.

So there you have it – I have no interest in “experimentation”, but I really need extensions, and remote control and to change settings on a per job basis without “hands on” – g-code does not have what I need and require hand editing each time, plus it’s not real time responsive.

I have no interest in the Galvo control code, or changing the UI etc… My team and I are more than capable of writing an entire control system (having done it for years on other CNC style equipment and 3D printers), but I do not want to waste time redoing great work that Peopoly has already done. I do not want to hack it.

I put it to Peopoly to consider an extensible solution for output of system state, position, layer information (like bounding rectangle), thickness, controling print/pause/estop, reading and writing settings over one of the many IO methods… I2C, SPI, RS232, ISP, USB, I see there is clear a debug interface…

For instance, I could really use a signal at the end of each print so I can trigger a robot to swap build plates (I worked out a solenoid release), or take a picture, or a command to delay starting until the chamber is warm, I need to know when the tray is tilt mode and when it’s. Or turn on a strobe if there is an error, or the a job complete.

I’d like to hook it up to IoT device I made that sends task start/end and picture data to a google-docs spread sheet and sends me a text message when the job is done (I use the MKR1000). I have this for other automated equipment.
This kind of thing would open up Moai to support factory-floor software… that is huge! No other SLA system under $30k does that. and it doesn’t take much. I ran a team that built equipment to test the xBox at the factory…

I have an idea for a much better tray system I’d like to try, but I need a signal to know when it’s starting the tray tilt action, and need to know the speed setting for the tray tilt – dynamically. I currently monitor the phase A & B duty cycle, but you hold the tray at 10% duty (it appears) sometimes and not others, so I cannot always be sure the tray is still or moving. As such I had to add a gyro to the tray. But i do not know always know when the tray tilts as part of the printing sequence or if it’s start up sequence. A command set would allow me query or be notified…

Peopoly could start a “extension contest” to gather the best ideas and fold them into future product, build a better user-developer community. Jokingly call it “Moaihackathon”, “Wanna hack a moai”.

Make the system controllable through a command set, then you will have full filled your commitment to make the Moai a true platform for extensibility and experimentation, and no need to open the source.

Again, you will see a lot of creative and clever feedback from the communinty and offer something no other 3D printer has before. All if which will give you an edge over the competition.

Companies that steal your ideas and knock off your products will take market share, that is true. So it’s your community, support, quality and ability to “out create” your competitors that will put your company up there with the big boys and still attract the most creative inventve people on the planet to your product line. Open new markets without nearly as much dev costs.

Make your system extensible, open it up that way, and still protect your source and most of all your IP.

Contact me if you would like idea on how to implement making your system extensible and opening it up for customization with out risking your IP. My team would probaby do the first cut at a specification and even a sample implemntation at no charge, because we need it for our own internal use.

Scotty


#2

I believe there’s a terminal on most recent moai boards that lets you hook an arduino or something. I haven’t tried myself and I’m not sure what data is passed (very little probably, maybe just layer end?).

As far I understand the firmware reached its limit, any further implementation would require a new main board, which I hope will happen soon and an upgrade kit offered.

by anyway, I’m with you on this.


#3

I have also requested these sorts of features via PM to @peopoly.

I would specifically like to copy the Form2 lateral peel mechanism but would need some control signals to coordinate the lateral vat movement with the z-axis movement.


#4

First of all, thank you for supporting Moai. I believe we spoke in private for with three of you, and there is a draft email for @Scottalot that somehow forgot to send.

@matt3o covered some of the realities we are facing as the board is very much tapped out. It was built as a closed system for stability/robustness, so it has neither new ports to communicate and processing power is pushed to limited. There is not much to gain in trying to beat new life into the current board, and we are overstretched with support and production. We are expanding our engineering staff and is gathering feedbacks and recommendation for future board development, so it is never too early to put your ideas. We will consider all ideas but cannot promise everything will be implemented.

While Moai is not an open source project nor we ever claimed to be one, we share what we can regarding knowledge and the fact that Moai very adjustable, many new designs and better printing approach came out of it. Our Asura software is developed to be used by all resin users and I believe our resin MSDS has been used as a reference for several chemists. For resin printing, we believe how laser/galvo works is less important than how to design, print and process as well as knowledge about resins. There is still much misunderstanding and lack of accurate information out there that we believe much good work can be done there. The approach to cure resins may change, but the printing knowledge is very transferable.


#5

Scotty makes some good points. However, I would like to add that a full height display showing real-time progress would go far. If that’s not possible, then may I suggest that real-time data is transferred by USB or wifi to display real-time progress?