Home Research & Education MIT researchers develop 3D printer that automatically adapts to materials

MIT researchers develop 3D printer that automatically adapts to materials

In a world where the demand for more sustainable production methods is constantly growing, the adaptability of 3D printers to a wide variety of materials poses a significant challenge. Researchers from MIT, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Greek National Center for Scientific Research (Demokritos) have presented an interesting development. They have developed a 3D printer that can independently determine the settings for previously unknown, sustainable materials.

Traditionally, up to 100 parameters have to be set manually to print a new material. This makes it difficult to use alternative, environmentally friendly materials. The technology presented by the researchers uses a modified extruder to measure the forces and flows of the material during the printing process. This data is fed into a mathematical function that automatically generates the required printing parameters. This significantly reduces the manual effort required.

This development could represent a milestone, particularly for the use of recyclable and renewable materials. The properties of these materials in particular often vary greatly and there is no standardized parameter definition. The research team demonstrated the efficiency of their approach through test prints with various materials, including sustainable ones, and were able to achieve consistently successful results.

The method is based on a 20-minute test that performs a series of temperature and pressure measurements at different flow rates. The data obtained enables the automatic generation of printing parameters, which can then be fed into standard 3D printing software.

The research work has been published in the journal Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation. The researchers plan to further simplify the process by integrating the process parameters directly into the 3D printing software.

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