Jerry Ajay, Chen Song, Aditya Singh Rathore, Chi Zhou, Wenyao Xu
Publication year: 2017

As the next-generation manufacturing driven force, 3D printing technology is having a transformative effect on various industrial domains and has been widely applied in a broad spectrum of applications. It also progresses towards other versatile fields with portable battery-powered 3D printers working on a limited energy budget. While reducing manufacturing energy is an essential challenge in industrial sustainability and national economics, this growing trend motivates us to explore the energy consumption of the 3D printer for the purpose of energy efficiency. To this end, we perform an in-depth analysis of energy consumption in commercial, off-the-shelf 3D printers from an instruction-level perspective. We build an instruction-level energy model and an energy profiler to analyze the energy cost during the fabrication process. From the insights obtained by the energy profiler, we propose and implement a cross-layer energy optimization solution, called 3DGates, which spans the instruction-set, the compiler and the firmware. We evaluate 3DGates over 338 benchmarks on a 3D printer and achieve an overall energy reduction of 25%.