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Multi-material and multi-nozzle 3D printing creates voxel-level flexible objects


3D printing technology has always had certain technical bottlenecks in multi-material printing. Therefore, our usual extrusion 3D printers have only one nozzle and can only print one material at the same time, as shown below.

Multi-material and multi-nozzle 3D printing creates voxel-level flexible objects

In order to achieve multi-material 3D printing, equipment manufacturers generally choose to increase the number of nozzles to two and print different materials respectively, such as one material as the final model, and the other as a supporting structure. However, if you want to further increase the number of types of materials, it will become very difficult, because it will be very difficult to add more nozzles.

If you want to use one print head to print multiple materials, it will become very difficult, especially it is difficult to change the material at a precise position, mainly because the switching speed between different materials is too slow. Therefore, it can only be made into a mixed color effect, like the picture below.

The article reports a multi-material 3D printing technology (MM3D), which realizes the rapid printing of voxel-level multi-material functional structures through rapid switching when the material is ejected from a single nozzle, which greatly expands the complexity of 3D printing. Manufacturing capabilities of functional structures. In other words, use a nozzle to quickly switch printing materials to achieve accurate printing of multiple materials, as shown below.

If it is only this way to be able to get on "Nature", it would be too small to look down on Nature magazine. Since two kinds of materials can be printed, changing to 4 kinds of materials can also deal with it perfectly.

What is even more shocking is that the number of print heads can be further increased to 4, and the structure of printing four materials at the same time can even support simultaneous printing of 8 materials at most.

16 print heads can print at the same time. The author said that up to 128 print heads can be arranged in parallel.

The key to this technology lies in the design of the flow channel structure in the multi-material printing nozzle and the precise and fast switching between different materials. The ingenuity of its design is that multiple material inlets and material outlets are integrated into a single nozzle through a three-dimensional three-dimensional flow channel structure design, and a high-speed solenoid valve is used to precisely control the pressure in each flow channel so that different materials are at the nozzle outlet. The printing can be switched continuously, so as to realize the voxel-level control of the material by a single nozzle.

Combining the hardness and softness characteristics of different materials and structural design can produce functional products. The team used MM3D printing technology to integrate the origami structure and soft robots.

Looking to the future, this integrated multi-material printing nozzle will realize the rapid printing of voxelized functional structures. In addition, in terms of printing resolution and printing efficiency, customized printing inks and functionalization of printing structures are equally important. Research and application value.

Professor Lewis' team has been deeply involved in the field of 3D printing for many years, and has completed breakthroughs in various printing technologies such as smart material 4D printing, multi-material printing, and embedded printing.

According to Antarctic Bear, among the currently commercialized 3D printing equipment, high-end 3D printers represented by Stratasys J850 have also achieved multi-material, multi-color 3D printing. For example, the following eye is realized by printing with multiple materials and multiple colors. Stratasys uses its company's exclusive PolyJet technology.

Link to this article: Multi-material and multi-nozzle 3D printing creates voxel-level flexible objects

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