A method and apparatus for the 3D printing of continuous fiber
Data di pubblicazione
Licenza a Spin off
Data di priorità
Politecnico di Milano
Department of Chemistry Materials and Chemical Engineering
Marinella Levi, Gabriele Natale, Giovanni Postiglione
The invention is a 3D printer for the manufacturing of three-dimensional objects made of continuous fiber composite material. The apparatus consists of the following:
- set of rolls that move the fiber strand within the impregnation tank;
- a feeding head, that includes a polymerization device (e.g. UV LEDs, lasers or a heat source), conveniently placed by the nozzle;
- a cutting tool (e.g. a couple of moving blades) for the composite material designed for interrupting the material feed out of the nozzle;
- a numeric control machine tool consisting of at least 3 axes that controls the motion of the printing head.
The impregnation system consist of one or more resin tanks, where the fiber strand is immersed for a residence time that depends on the matrix viscosity and on the strand textile structure.
The resin tank could also be composed by a hopper integral with the printing head. In term of chemical composition, it is possible to use several combinations of fibers (e.g. glass, carbon, Kevlar, basalt, etc.) and matrix resin (typically liquid resin for thermosetting such as epoxy, acrylic, polyester, etc.).
Campo di applicazione
3D printing of highly performant parts in continuous fiber composite material.
- manufacturing of parts in continuous fiber composite of any shape without using molds;
- manufacturing of parts with geometries not suitable with other technologies such as hollow objects or objects with undercuts;
- ability to orient the fibers in any direction during the manufacturing process according to the stress applied onto the object when in use;
- ability to regulate the fiber impregnation;
- versatility in term of types of fibers and matrices suitable for the process;
- scalability of the process.