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Published Online: 1 March 2018

Production Techniques for 3D Printed Inflatable Elastomer Structures: Part II—Four-Axis Direct Ink Writing on Irregular Double-Curved and Inflatable Surfaces

Publication: 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
Volume 5, Issue Number 1

Abstract

This article is the second in a two-part series describing a process for conformal 3D printing onto inflated substrates. The article describes the design and build of a custom-built four-axis 3D printer with the ability to measure the shape of any uneven substrate, and to then accurately extrude a thixotropic silicone onto the substrate by using Direct Ink Writing techniques. Details of strategies for 3D scanning a double-curved tubular inflated substrate using an industrial triangulation laser measurement device are given. Methods to import scan data and create a digital representation of the surface within the parametric design software Grasshopper 3D are explained. Geodesic print paths are created over the surface of the computed substrate, and these are the basis for calculating 3D printer toolpaths. A constant surface linear velocity strategy is developed, allowing the printer to move the print nozzle at a varying speed over the substrate surface. The change in speed is correlated with changes in the surface linear velocity of a fourth axis rotation of the variable radius balloon substrate. This ensures that the extruded bead maintains a constant thickness, even while using a constant flow rate deposition. The process is achieved by adapting cartographic techniques to re-project to the desired print paths. The efficacy of this technique is analyzed by 3D scanning a printed patterned balloon, then measuring and comparing multiple cross-sections of the extruded beading.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
Volume 5Issue Number 1March 2018
Pages: 17 - 28

History

Published in print: March 2018
Published online: 1 March 2018

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Fergal B. Coulter
Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
Department of Materials, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.
Brian S. Coulter
Soils and Analytical Services Department, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle Research Centre, Wexford, Ireland.
Emmanouil Papastavrou
School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Anton Ianakiev
School of Architecture, Design and Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Notes

Opposite page: Auxetic chiral pattern printed on an inflated balloon surface, using direct ink writing of silicone. Photo credit: Fergal Coulter.
Address correspondence to:Fergal B. CoulterDepartment of Mechanical and Materials EngineeringUniversity College DublinBelfieldDublin D4Ireland
E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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