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Advanced Nozzle Designed for Complex 3D Printing


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Many current 3D printers build up objects by using a plastic filament that is deposited layer by layer. While this works well for simple objects, some want to be able to print objects made of multiple materials and even have electronics built in. To achieve this, the printer has to be able to switch between materials and efficiently mix them, and researchers at Harvard have designed a new printhead to achieve this.

Normally materials in a 3D printer are mixed passively by having them in the same channel. This works fine for low-viscosity fluids, but fails with high-viscosity fluids. To solve this problem the researchers' new printhead has a rotating impeller inside the microscale nozzle. With this, the nozzle can combine viscous materials and inks, such as those necessary for printing electronics and embedding them into printed objects.

Recently the same group of researchers also designed a different printhead that can rapidly switch between materials in a single nozzle. This is important for building structures without the defects that tend to occur when the process starts and stops to switch materials.

Source: Harvard University

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