Integrated multi-media platform for hybrid 3D printing

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Dunn, Conner
Qi, H. Jerry
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The advent of Additive Manufacturing, also commonly referred to as 3D Printing, has enabled the rapid production of parts consisting of complex geometries that are extremely labor-intensive or even unrealizable with the use of traditional manufacturing methods. Current technologies exist that are able to print parts composed of multiple materials within a single platform, but the library of usable materials is restricted to certain subsets that are dependent on the technology being used. In this thesis, the concept of Hybrid 3D Printing is introduced as a solution to the limited range of materials that can be printed concurrently. Hybrid 3D Printing can be described as the integration of multiple additive manufacturing process within a single platform. The design and development of a Multi-Media Manufacturing Platform is presented, detailing the technologies used and how they are integrated to enable printing of multiple materials using different additive manufacturing methods. The technologies used include Aerosol Jetting, Fused Deposition Modeling, Direct Ink Writing, Photopolymer Inkjet Printing and the non-additive processes of photonic curing and robotic pick and place. The increased functionality of printed parts relies on the properties of the build materials used. A silver based ink is studied to provide electrical functionality within printed parts. The thermal curing effects on the electromechanical properties of a silver nanoparticle ink are investigated. From this study, thermal curing conditions are prescribed for application specific uses from stretchable electronics to sensing and heating elements. Potential applications of Hybrid 3D printing are highlighted by using the developed platform and the silver ink, including printed/embedded electronics, soft robotics, and smart structures.
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