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Fabrication Process

3D printing on arbitrary surfaces

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process where, conventionally, layers are built atop of other layers to form a three-dimensional (3D) part. Normally, the material cannot support itself, hence the layers themselves or a support material support subsequent layers or overhanging features.

Description
The part is sliced and a print path containing the geometric information for the XY-stage of the printer is generated in the first step of the process. This topic has been covered extensively and is considered by many as solved. One issue with this traditional approach is that it assumes a flat substrate to print on, which makes the print path generation relatively straight-forward. While people printed on arbitrary structures before, not much research looked into the automated print path generation for such tasks. Printing on other parts that either remain with the printed part or are taken away afterwards can have several advantages. Some of them are to reduce the printing time, to increase the accuracy, to make use of synergetic effects such as conductivity, or to repair parts. An example surface is shown in Figure 1, on which arbitrary objects could be printed, such as antennas. When looking at the algorithm, it needs to be distinguished between printing individual filaments that don’t touch, as shown in the figure, and bulky structures with layers of continuously connected material. For the former, a previous project in the group generated such an algorithm.

The steps are defined as follows. 1. Literature survey on a. Print path generation algorithms b. Work that covers the different scenarios of print path generation 2. Testing the output on a real 3D printer in the lab and printing representative sample parts. Parts to print on can include mathematically defined surfaces or 3D-scanned objects 3. Extension of the algorithm for bulky, multi-layer and multi-material parts 4. Testing and verification of the extended algorithm.

Goal
The first part of this current project will be to test and use this generator on a 3D printer with multiple examples to demonstrate its functionality. The second part will extend the algorithm to bulky, multi-layer and multi-material parts of arbitrary shapes. In a third part, and this depends on the type of the thesis, optimization will be used to design parts particularly suited for the algorithm, such as a crack infill.

 

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Fabrication Process

This Robot Is a Loom For Weaving Carbon Fiber Into Rocket Parts

There’s plenty of carbon fiber in space right now. It’s the best bet we have for making spacecraft lighter—and it’s going to be key on deep space missions where every gram of food, water, and fuel is carefully planned. But making these parts isn’t easy, or cheap. Prototyping and testing new carbon fiber designs is slow, expensive, and labor-intensive. And as NASA pushes towards putting humans into deep space, it will need to make huge leaps in manufacturing to develop the spacecraft capable of these long, distant journeys.

This summer, NASA got a tool that will make prototyping those parts way easier. It’s a 21-foot robotic arm whose head is made up of 16 rods that look like oversized sewing spools, attached to a long, 40-foot track that allows the robotic arm to slide around a model.

http://gizmodo.com/this-robot-spins-carbon-fiber-threads-into-rocket-parts-1722022204

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Fabrication Process

The wild weird world of carbon fiber

How can something that starts out like cloth end up being so strong and light?

Carbon fiber is properly described as a “composite material,” a term that is used to describe any substance with multiple components that combine in interesting ways to produce a material with complex, desirable properties. Most of our time on the GE campus was spent in the center’s composite manufacturing lab, and we were surrounded by tons of different composite materials, from glass to metals—but carbon fiber was the thing we focused on.

Carbon fiber’s standout properties, and the reason that you see it showing up in body panels of cars and in jet turbines, is that as a finished material it can be made both much stronger and much lighter than equivalently sized metal parts. “Stronger” here refers to a multitude of different measurement. For example, as explained here, carbon fiber has a tensile strength (that is, it resists being stretched) roughly four times greater than steel and eight times greater than aluminum. It is also stiffer (it resists bending) than steel or aluminum by a significant amount. These gains in strength are accompanied by a drastic reduction in weight: typically, a carbon fiber part weighs only a third as much as a steel part of the same volume.

 

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Fabrication Process

Dirk Van Der Kooij

Dirk Van Der Kooij

More important to Vander Kooij though, is the fact the old robot works in low resolution and therefore leaves a texture reflecting the material pumped through it, unlike new 3D printing machines or molds, which smooth everything out to the point of a generic surface. The old robot shows signs of the production process, as well as striations in color, which change based on flecks of different plastic chips in the mix or if he purposely adds different pigments. Vander Kooij considers this to be an utterly honest aesthetic, in the same way that any piece of wooden furniture will have a different grain, each piece of his recycled plastic furniture has a unique patina.

http://coolhunting.com/design/studio-visit-dirk-vander-kooij

http://www.dirkvanderkooij.com

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Fabrication Process

5-axis 3D printing

The print is intentionally very coarse with stepping of 0.4mm. The uniqueness of this print comes from the way the print is finished with 5-axis printing. Continents were printed in 5 axis conforming to the surface of the base. This allows to cover up the layered texture of the ordinary 3d print with custom patterns and goes beyond limitations of a standard 3d print. This technique can be used for a lot of different purposes, one of which to increase structural integrity to the printed objects.

 

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Software

Adobe Files Patent for ‘Smooth 3D Printing’ Process

The “stepping” problem is clearly an area where FDM printers could be improved. Companies like 5AxisWorks are trying to solve the issue through hardware like their 5-axis printer, and Topolabs is developing software that tries to tackle the issue as well.

http://3dprint.com/56862/adobe-patent-smooth-fdm/

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Software

Topolabs developing non-layered 3d printing software

Current FDM 3d printers print in layers which comes with certain limitations and aesthetics.  Topolabs is developing software that will enable 3d printing freed from constrains of layered printhead paths. Filament will travel in more organic shapes in all 3 dimensions. It will also enable more curved graphical and decorative surface elements printed directly on the object.

 

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/04/15/topolabs-god-build-straight-lines/