Our project website is live at http://beamprint.engineering.
The ideation process is a constant back-and-forth between thinking and creating. To make this back and forth easier, we must make rapid prototyping easier. Currently, there is no modular system to control and simplify the laser cutting process which is essential to rapid prototyping.
What it does
Beam Print combines every step of the laser cutting process into one simple iOS app. It starts with an OnShape add-on that exports your files to the app. The app then takes these files to give you a 3D visual of your parts on your laser cutter bed. You can convert to Tile mode, which analyzes the stock, arranges your parts, and displays the parts onto your stock. Once you are satisfied with its placement, you can print to the laser cutter through the app. There is also a safety feature that recognizes fire and immediately stops the print. We successfully implemented live stock detection, cut boundary detection and world-building. You can visualize your 3D product and its laser-cut sub-components with close to zero latency on a commodity tablet.
How we built it
Using the AR Kit and the Deep Nest tiling library we combined aspects of plane recognition, persistent AR placement, and packing theory. The fire recognition aspect was built using python and openCV running with a laptop's webcam. Additionally, the signal light and networking abilities of the system are handled by a ESP32 microcontroller module.
Challenges we ran into
The most challenging part of the process was learning how to develop iOS apps with AR Kit. After a long night of research and work, we overcame challenges in presenting and positioning models and created a successful app implementation.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are incredibly proud of the work in our iOS AR app, and in our use of the micro controller as a wireless network handler.
What we learned
No one on our team had any prior experience in AR or app development, so we learned a lot of technical skills related to these fields.
What's next for Beam Print
There is a lot of business potential for Beam Print. We look forward to going back to Olin College of Engineering and doing extensive user research. It is important to find out if a large enough consumer market exists and exactly what that market wants. We also hope to continue prototyping and developing our software and hardware to complete more complex tasks.