Variable fused deposition modelling - concept design and tool path generation

Brooks, Hadley Laurence orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9289-5291 (2011) Variable fused deposition modelling - concept design and tool path generation. In: 12th Rapid Design, Prototyping & Manufacturing Conference. Unspecified, pp. 113-122. ISBN 978-0-9566643-1-0

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Current Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) techniques use fixed diameter nozzles to deposit a filament of plastic layer by layer. The consequence is that the same small nozzle, essential for fine details, is also used to fill in relatively large volumes. In practice a Pareto-optimal nozzle diameter is chosen that attempts to maximise resolution while minimising build time. This paper introduces a concept for adapting an additive manufacturing system, which exploits a variable diameter nozzle for the fused deposition of polymers. The variable nozzle allows the print resolution and the build speed to become independent variables which may be optimised. The paper discusses a concept design for the variable diameter nozzle to be fitted to a RapMan 3D printer and the software used to generate the tool paths for the extrusion head. The methodology involves the use of existing software solutions to gather basic data from STL files and generate the tool paths. A method for integrating the data and the deposition system is proposed. The challenges and possibilities of the technology are discussed as well as future research.

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