The solvent-cast 3D printing technology is a highly versatile microfabrication technique that can be used to fabricate 3D geometries at room temperature. It was developed to produce various geometries such as straight filaments, towers, layer-by-layer scaffolds, and freeform circular spirals by the robotic deposition of a polymer solution ink onto a moving stage.
The research work, by Shuang-Zhuang Guo, under the supervision of professors Daniel Therriault and Marie-Claude Heuzey at École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada, makes the cover of the prestigious journal Small.
Under applied pressure, an ink material which undergoes capillary shear flow inside the micronozzle, relaxes its stresses upon exiting the nozzle. The ink material is a fast-drying thermoplastic solution composed of dichloromethane (DCM) and ~30wt% of polylactic acid (PLA). As the solvent evaporates post extrusion, the diameter of the filament decreases and its rigidity gradually increases with time due to a locally higher polymer concentration.
This rigidity gradient enables the creation of self-supporting curved shape by changing the moving path of the extrusion nozzle, in which the filament bending occurs in the low rigidity zone of the newly extruded material. After most of the solvent evaporation, the rigidity of the extruded filament changes from fluid-like to solid-like, which facilitates the shape retention of the deposited self-supporting features. For successful printing of 3D freeform structures, the viscoelastic properties of the polymer solution and the solvent evaporation rate have to be set to ensure proper ink rheological behavior while providing a fast solvent evaporation. This 3D printing process enables the creation of different multifunctional microsystems featuring complex geometries….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the MakerBot Digitizer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
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