User stories

Cambridge Makespace – using sensors to monitor a 3D Printer

To get the most from your equipment it is important to maintain it regularly, and know the daily demands that are put upon it. This was the goal for Cambridge Makespace, who wanted to easily measure the usage levels of their 3D printer, without expensive equipment or additional staff time.

Together with a simple light sensor placed next to the lights of the printer and our OpenIOLabs system we were able to achieve this. The i2c sensor only cost a few pounds and senses when the printer is switched on and off, based on which lights are on. The sensor sends the reading to the OpenIO LabBook which then records data on how long the printer was on for, and therefore how long it was in use. The team were able to do this without making any physical changes to the printer or disturbing it when in use. The sensor works in the same way as a person standing in front of a printer who sees the lights switch on.

This very simple change allows the team to get the best from their printer as they’re able to look after it properly and judge demand from the community.