Columbia Engineering researchers created a technique that could transform three-dimensional (3D) printing by potentially enabling multi-materials manufacturing.
Columbia's Hod Lipson and John Whitehead have overcome the challenge of selective laser sintering, which is limited to printing a single material at a time, by inverting the laser so it is oriented upward rather than downward.
The team used its working prototype to produce a 50-layer thick, 2.18-millimeter sample from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) powder with an average layer height of 43.6 microns, and a multi-material nylon and TPU print with an average layer height of 71 microns.
The resulting materials were made stronger and denser by pressing the plate hard against the hanging part during sintering.
Lipson said, "This could be key to moving the additive manufacturing industry from printing only passive uniform parts, towards printing active integrated systems."
From Columbia Engineering
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