This multi-nozzle technology promises to revolutionize 3D printing

Illustrative image — BLACKDAY /

Although 3D printing continues to improve, it is still limited by relatively long print times and low resolution. A new technique using several small print nozzles simultaneously instead of one large one could fix it.

Multiplexed Fused Filament Manufacturing

In a typical FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printer, molten plastic or resin is extruded through a single nozzle, creating a three-dimensional object using successive layers that bond together. others as it cools. Throughout the printing process, the nozzle is moved across the print bed by a structure known as the ” gantry “.

Needless to say, printing large objects this way can be time consuming. It is possible to speed up the process by using a larger nozzle, which allows more material to be deposited at once, but this results in larger individual layers of material, giving the finished object a coarser appearance .

This is precisely where the new approach, called “multiplexed fused filament fabrication” (MF3). Developed by a team at Rutgers University, this is based on the use of several small nozzles, all mounted on a single gantry.

3d printing technology
—FrameStockFootages /

As it moves, each nozzle independently extrudes or retains material, depending on its location relative to the object to be printed, implying that different sections are printed simultaneously, from relatively thin layers of material. Thus, the object is printed faster while maintaining a high resolution.

A promising technology

Our technology is based on software specifically developed to independently control the material deposition for each of the nozzles, even if they follow the same trajectory. “, explains Jeremy Cleeman, lead author of the study, published in the journal Additive Manufacturing. ” By adjusting a variety of parameters, we can ensure that the deposited filament will properly bond to the previously cooled filament that is adjacent.. »

In addition to being used to print large single objects, the MF3 can also print several small objects simultaneously. Furthermore, if one of its nozzles fails, the software adapts the printing process so that one or more other nozzles can take over and finish the object.

If multiplexed fused filament manufacturing promises to disrupt the3D printing, it’s not the only emerging technology in the field. In recent months, processes to manufacture objects in seconds or to obtain robots in a single step have been unveiled.

Leave a Comment