Solvent-Polymer Deposition 3D Printing: Cost Effective Rapid Prototyping with Sustainability in Mind
R C Palmer Secondary
Floor Location : S 048 N
In the Infinite 3D project, an innovative novel 3D printing process was developed and a printer capable of printing using the process was also developed from scratch. The process utilizes a semi-solid mixture of polymer and solvent. This process is different from both the Fused Filament Deposition and Stereolithography process found on the consumer market. This process currently is capable of printing in two different mediums. One is an ABS based plastic resin and solvent combination while the other is a water soluble cellulose and PVA polymer biodegradable composite. Major advantages of this process include simple recyclability of printed materials, printing color in a CYMK profile through injecting dye into the solvent-polymer solution, and the ability to print without heat, significantly improving safety by reducing fire hazards associated with normal fused filament deposition printers. A printer capable of utilizing the process was developed and fabricated using another 3D printer, waterjet cutting, and laser cutting. The design of the printer overcomes various issues that plague conventional 3D printers ranging from frame rigidity, backlash, and fire hazards. The 3D printer designed, has various features to accommodate the new process like a fully enclosed glass frame which allows fume extraction from the solvent through a fume hood system and also effective performance of a CO2 based automatic fire extinguishing system. The traditional extruder is also replaced with an extruder that can extrude the semi-solid solution. To conclude, the Infinite 3D project involves developing and fabricating a 3D printer which uses a novel process that allows printed parts to be easily and quickly recycled along with other advantages.