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Open Source Multi-Head 3D Printer for Polymer-Metal Composite Component Manufacturing

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Abstract[edit]

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As low-cost desktop 3D printing is now dominated by free and open source self-replicating rapid prototype (RepRap) derivatives, there is an intense interest in extending the scope of potential applications to manufacturing. This study describes a manufacturing technology that enables a constrained set of polymer-metal composite components. This paper provides (1) free and open source hardware and (2) software for printing systems that achieves metal wire embedment into a polymer matrix 3D-printed part via a novel weaving and wrapping method using (3) OpenSCAD and parametric coding for customized g-code commands. Composite parts are evaluated from the technical viability of manufacturing and quality. The results show that utilizing a multi-polymer head system for multi-component manufacturing reduces manufacturing time and reduces the embodied energy of manufacturing. Finally, it is concluded that an open source software and hardware tool chain can provide low-cost industrial manufacturing of complex metal-polymer composite-based products.

Keywords[edit]

open source; 3D printing; RepRap; composite; manufacturing; heat exchangers

See Also[edit]