3D Printer Revolutionises Commercial Counterparts
Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been at the forefront of 3D printing advancements, and have now developed a desktop 3D printer that performs up to 10 times the speed of existing commercial counterparts.
The technology underpinning 3D printing has been constantly developing in recent years. Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been at the forefront of this progression, and have now developed a desktop 3D printer that performs up to 10 times the speed of existing commercial counterparts.
How does it work?
The new design utilises two new, speed-enhancing components to their compact printhead: a screw mechanism that feeds polymer material through a nozzle at high force; and a laser, incorporated into the printhead, that rapidly heats and melts the material, enabling a faster flow through the nozzle.
The MIT team demonstrated the printing of small eyeglasses frames, a bevel gear, and a miniature replica of the MIT dome, from start to finish, within several minutes – a vast progression from the average print rate of about 20 cubic centimetres, or several Lego bricks’ worth of structures, per hour.
Fast desktop-scale extrusion 3D printing – Mechanosynthesis Group, MIT.
Anastasios John Hart, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, states that this development demonstrates the potential for 3D printing to become a more viable production technique, “If I can get a prototype part, maybe a bracket or a gear, in five to 10 minutes rather than an hour… I can engineer, build, and test faster.”
The researchers are now presented with the challenge of mathematical combinations by which the path of the printhead can be optimised. They will also explore new materials to feed through the printer.
Undoubtedly, the ability to print quickly and efficiently opens the door to many exciting opportunities in future.