Robotic Deposition to Enable Multi-Axis Material Extrusion


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The material extrusion (ME) additive manufacturing process is extensively used in hobbyist and prototyping applications, but it is not always suitable for the fabrication of end-use components. The thermal characteristics of the layer-by-layer deposition results in imperfect bonding between the layers, which reduce the final mechanical performance of the part. To a lesser extent, this same phenomenon occurs within the layers themselves, between adjacent depositions (commonly referred to as ‘roads’). Despite this, the ability for ME to effectively deposit composite materials by achieving long fiber lengths in geometrically complex parts makes it highly desirable for many industrial applications. In order to become viable in these applications though, the poor mechanical properties, particularly between layers, must be addressed. This talk discusses recent advances in high degree-of-freedom (DoF) material deposition, which can be used to improve the mechanical performance of ME parts. Typical ME is facilitated by a 3-DoF gantry, which constrains the tool head to a single orientation and permits only translation movements. By incorporating additional DoF into the motion control system, the tool head and printed part can reorient relative to each other. This enables more optimal deposition of roads throughout part geometry. When combined with stress analysis tools, roads could even be aligned with three dimensional load paths and stress contours.

PDF of paper:

Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 4, Informatics, Electronics and Microsystems: TechConnect Briefs 2018
Published: May 13, 2018
Pages: 79 - 82
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topic: 3D Printing
ISBN: 978-0-9988782-1-8