This 3D printer can watch itself fabricate objects
Researchers from MIT, the MIT spinout Inkbit, and ETH Zurich have developed a new 3D inkjet printing system that works with a much wider range of materials. Their printer utilizes computer vision to automatically scan the 3D printing surface and adjust the amount of resin each nozzle deposits in real-time to ensure no areas have too much or too little material.
Since it does not require mechanical parts to smooth the resin, this contactless system works with materials that cure more slowly than the acrylates which are traditionally used in 3D printing. Some slower-curing material chemistries can offer improved performance over acrylates, such as greater elasticity, durability, or longevity.
In addition, the automatic system makes adjustments without stopping or slowing the printing process, making this production-grade printer about 660 times faster than a comparable 3D inkjet printing system.
SonoPrint: Acoustically Assisted Volumetric 3D Printing for Composites
Advancements in additive manufacturing in composites have transformed various fields in aerospace, medical devices, tissue engineering, and electronics, enabling fine-tuning material properties by reinforcing internal particles and adjusting their type, orientation, and volume fraction. This capability opens new possibilities for tailoring materials to specific applications and optimizing the performance of 3D-printed objects. Existing reinforcement strategies are restricted to pattern types, alignment areas, and particle characteristics. Alternatively, acoustics provide versatility by controlling particles independent of their size, geometry, and charge and can create intricate pattern formations. Despite the potential of acoustics in most 3D printing, limitation arises from the scattering of the acoustic field between the polymerized hard layers and the unpolymerized resin, leading to undesirable patterning formation. However, this challenge can be addressed by adopting a novel approach that involves simultaneous reinforcement and printing the entire structure. Here, we present SonoPrint, an acoustically-assisted volumetric 3D printer that produces mechanically tunable composite geometries by patterning reinforcement microparticles within the fabricated structure. SonoPrint creates a standing wave field that produces a targeted particle motif in the photosensitive resin while simultaneously printing the object in just a few minutes. We have also demonstrated various patterning configurations such as lines, radial lines, circles, rhombuses, quadrilaterals, and hexagons using microscopic particles such as glass, metal, and polystyrene particles. Furthermore, we fabricated diverse composites using different resins, achieving 87 microns feature size. We have shown that the printed structure with patterned microparticles increased their tensile and compression strength by ∼38% and ∼75%, respectively.