To provide process optimization of metal fabricating self-replicating rapid prototyper (RepRap) 3-D printers requires a low-cost sensor and data logger system to measure current (I) and voltage (V) of the gas metal arc welders (GMAW). This paper builds on previous open-source hardware development to provide a real-time measurement of welder I-V where the measuring circuit is connected to two analog inputs of the Arduino that is used to control the 3-D printer itself. Franklin firmware accessed through a web interface that is used to control the printer allows storing the measured values and downloading those stored readings to the user’s computer. To test this custom current and voltage monitoring device this study reports on its use on an upgraded all metal RepRap during the printing of aluminum alloy (ER1100, ER4043, ER4943, ER4047, and ER5356). The voltage and current data were analyzed on a per alloy basis and also layer-by-layer in order to evaluate the device’s efficacy as a monitoring device for 3-D printing and the results of the integrated design are discussed.
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The lead screw from the stepper motor driving that carriage is also visible in the center of the first image.