Pressure in 3D Printing

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

Pressure in 3D Printing

Different 3D printing processes include: stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), binder jetting, poly-jet, fused deposition modelling(FDM)/fused filament fabrication (FFF) and more.

Depending on the type of material being used, the pressures involved to obtain sufficient and consistent material flow can be an issue. This is especially true for plastics. To understand the problems, researchers have tried to model the impact of different pressures in 3D printers.

In his master of science thesis, “Applying feedback control to improve 3D printing quality,” the author relates the error between an analytical solution and a computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) solution to the steady-state non-Newtonian pipe flow problem (the fluid does not conform to Newton’s Law of Viscosity) for various pressures. See Table below.

Computational-Fluid-Dynamics (CFD) table

Source: “Applying feedback control to improve 3D printing quality.”

To improve the printing process, one company has already introduced a pressure-controlled 3D printer. The SLA Elemental printer utilizes a laser system to cure photosensitive resins, but unlike other SLA printers it uses a pressure control system to control resin levels when an 3D object is being built.

One of the benefits of pressure control in a 3D printer is a reduced need for print support structures where there is overhang in a 3D model. The pressure control allows the material surrounding the cured material to hold the build material in place long enough for the laser to cure the resin above it.

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