With this research, an implementation of an overlay and abstracting RESTful API (application programming interface) for 3D printers is proposed to expose these resources to the Internet for utilization within and for cloud services. This is to abstract the underlying communication structure and means for accessing and controlling a 3D printer resource in one of three ways. The first way is a proprietary protocol or a 3D printer driver in Microsoft Windows. The second way is the control via a USB-serial connection between a controlling computer and the printer resource. This protocol can either be in a proprietary format or based on open standards like G-Code (ISO 6983-1:2009). The third way of control is based on physical storage devices attached to the printer with machining instructions stored on them. This research excludes the communication and control means involving proprietary protocols or drivers due complexity restrictions within the implementation. The approach is designed with extensibility in mind so that future access to proprietary protocols can be added to the control API. 3D printer resources with only the third control method available are also excluded from this research due to their lack of remote controllability. This work describes the design and implementation of an abstraction API layer between varying software and hardware components with an extensible architecture for future hardware and software components for within the domain of additive manufacturing (AM). With this research, the connection to further cloud services as 3D printing resources as well as a cloud printing service for usage and control of this API is demonstrated. This enables the use of AM machinery within cloud or business process-oriented architectures as the AM machinery and the associated software are exposed in an abstract and unified way and usable as services.
The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 14, 2017
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