Researchers at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) have developed a 3D Printer with five axis.
The two additional axis, compared to a normal FDM 3D printer, make it possible to 3D print stronger parts. With a normal 3D printer the layers are placed horizontally above each other. The connections between these layers aren’t as strong as the filament itself. So for example if you print a stick vertical on a FDM 3D printer it will break easily. But if you print it horizontally it will be more stable.
The 5-axis 3D printer makes it possible to add layers with curves, so you can build around weaker parts of the object. As William Yerazunis, Senior Principal Research Scientist at MERL shows, the researchers printed fuel caps with the same filament on three axis and with the optimised five axis process. The normal part breaks after just 0,1MPa of pressure. In comparison the optimised printed part breaks a 3,7MPa. Additional the process saved up to 25% of filament while producing stronger parts.