(A) Schematic of M3DP (b) Examples of parts fabricated using M3DP. Different polymer colors correspond to distinct sections of a part printed by a distinct printhead.
Achieving high throughput at high resolution is key to big area 3D printing, whether for printing multiple small parts or fewer large parts. Rutgers researchers have created a multiplexed 3D printing (M3D) approach that simultaneously meets these two, often contradictory, needs. M3D uses multiple material deposition printheads mounted on the same gantry. Each printhead concurrently prints a different section of a large part or prints multiple small parts (Fig. A). AI-driven toolpath generation creates complex, non-periodic, fully 3D geometries without requiring multiple gantries or multiple robots (Fig. B ). In-situ treatment of the printed material ensures properties that approach the bulk material.
Current big area 3D printing methods use large lines to increase printing speed but need post-print machining to achieve high resolution. Such machining needs 2-3X more time than printing itself and reduces overall throughput, increases cost, and wastes material. M3D achieves 2.5-4X lesser machining time and waste by increasing the as-printed resolution without sacrificing printing speed. Compared to high-resolution nozzle printers that print smaller lines M3D reduces the printing time by 10X or more via concurrent multi-nozzle printing.
- High throughput at high resolution with lesser machining time, cost, and waste.
- Materials capability includes polymers and metals (consumer & engineering).
- Part strength ≈ 80-90% of material.
- AI-driven in-process quality control and introduction of new materials.
- Large & small parts printable on same machine with above advantages.
- Possible to retrofit existing printers to M3D.
Intellectual Property & Development Status:
Patent pending. Preliminary prototype developed and potential advantages observed. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.