FDM: 10X Faster. Thinking (And Moving) Ahead.

We can continue to move FDM printing ahead in many ways. You just need to think differently, and don't take no for an answer. A few industry figures have said "FDM is near its limits for wher ethe tech can go." I have never took that as policy and neither should you. Awhile back, two MIT professors, Jamison Go, and John Hart have developed a new 3D printing hardware called FastFFF (Fast Fused Filament Fabrication) which is ten times faster than 3D printers we use today.

mit team develop 3d printer 10x faster 1

Research papers and more information can be read here: Science Direct

Heres the abstract:

"Significant improvements to the throughput of additive manufacturing (AM) processes are essential to their cost-effectiveness and competitiveness with traditional processing routes. Moreover, high-throughput AM processes, in combination with the geometric versatility of AM, will enable entirely new workflows for product design and customization. We present the design and validation of a desktop-scale extrusion AM system that achieves a much greater build rate than benchmarked commercial systems. This system, which we call ‘FastFFF’, is motivated by our recent analysis of the rate-limiting mechanisms to conventional fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology. The FastFFF system mutually overcomes these limits, using a nut-feed extruder, laser-heated polymer liquefier, and servo-driven parallel gantry system to achieve high extrusion force, rapid filament heating, and fast gantry motion, respectively. The extrusion and heating mechanisms are contained in a compact printheadthat receives a threaded filament and augments conduction heat transfer with a fiber-coupled diode laser. The prototype system achieves a volumetric build rate of 127 cm3/hr, which is approximately 7-fold greater than commercial desktop FFF systems, at comparable resolution; the maximum extrusion rate of the printhead is ∼14-fold greater (282 cm3/hr) than our benchmarks. The performance limits of the printhead and motion systems are characterized, and the tradeoffs between build rate and resolution are assessed and discussed. High-speed desktop AM raises the possibility of new use cases and business models for AM, where handheld parts are built in minutes rather than hours. Adaptation of this technology to print high-temperature thermoplastics and composite materials, which require high extrusion forces, is also of interest."

3D printers have become more and more useful in the mass production of complex products that are cheaper and stronger. However, the only issue with 3D printing is its slow speed. These desktop 3D printers can print only one product at a time and only one thin layer at a making.

The process is rather time-consuming, and the main factors behind it are the force that can be applied to filament when it’s pushed through the nozzle, time taken by heat to melt the filament, movement of build area around build area and the time taken by the material to solidify.

The printing process begins with a polymer rod or filament which is then heated, melted and forced through a nozzle in the printhead. The printhead, then, moves in a programmed pattern depositing one layer of polymer at a time.

According to Hart, “So rather than starting with a solid block and grinding material away, in 3-D printing — also called additive manufacturing — you start with nothing and build up your object one layer at a time,”

To solve the hurdles, Go and Hart adopted creative techniques such as developing a new method of extrusion using a threaded nut and threading the filament. This method of extrusion is comparatively faster and more precise than the contemporary method used in Desktop 3D printers.

To address the heating time, the professors used lasers. When the filament passes through the quartz chamber, a laser is bounced around inside which pre-heats the filament before it passes through the traditional heating block.

printhead cutaway model 640x677


Lastly, the MIT professors designed a servo driven parallel gantry system that moves the printhead rapidly and precisely around with little backlash. Speed is increased by using a heavy-duty frame and powerful motors.

Check out the video:


earl miller
Supporting Young Minds Through Wanhao University S...
The First Layer. Elusive? No. Common Sense.


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