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The major innovation of FDM 3D printed nozzles: adaptive technology

Antarctic bear 3D printing 2024/07/08 08:32

Reading guide:In 3D printing,Users are usually faced with the dilemma of choosing high-resolution or high-speed printing。 Smaller diameter nozzles are suitable for high-resolution printing and can show details; Larger diameter nozzles increase print speed. However, a new technology or method may eliminate the need for users to compromise between precision and speed.

Antarctic Bear 3D Printing, FDM 3D Printing Nozzle Major Innovation: Adaptive Technology

△Adaptive 3D printing nozzle developed by Johns Hopkins University

On July 6, 2024, Antarctic Bear learned that researchers Jochen Müller and Seok Won Kang at Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering have developed an adaptive nozzle technology called AN3DP that can dynamically adjust the diameter and cross-sectional shape during the 3D printing process. This innovation allows users to print at both high resolution and speed, without having to compromise between accuracy and speed. This technology not only speeds up printing, but also ensures fine details in the printing process, effectively avoiding printing errors, and has brought important progress to the field of 3D printing.

Antarctic Bear 3D Printing, FDM 3D Printing Nozzle Major Innovation: Adaptive Technology

△The team's research results have been published in the journal Science Advances under the title "Multi-scale 3D Printing with Active Nozzle Size and Shape Control"

Optimizing the nozzle size and filament cross-sectional shape

at the same time to fix the nozzle often results in over- or under-extrusion, which can lead to a step effect, especially when dealing with parts that have both complex details and solid elements. Therefore, the team's main motivation was to improve the process and results of 3D printing through the use of adaptive nozzles.

The engineers took inspiration from the retractable gripping tools of humans and animals, as well as the tendon mechanisms. The AN3DP nozzle is equipped with eight movable pins that are joined together by an elastic membrane. The motor controls the movement of these pins to adjust the shape and size of the nozzle, while the film ensures an even flow of material.

This combination of moving pins with an elastomeric film is essential for the production of precise and complex structures and enables rapid production. Compared to the variable nozzles available on the market, the AN3DP is designed to not only adjust the diameter of the nozzle, but also change the cross-sectional shape of the filament, allowing for better control over the shape of the molding material.

Antarctic Bear 3D Printing, FDM 3D Printing Nozzle Major Innovation: Adaptive Technology

△AN3DP nozzle

In addition to the needle and membrane, precision and speed are also due to the tapered internal design of the adaptive nozzle. According to the researchers, "Traditional 3D printers use fixed nozzles, which limits resolution or speed. A smaller nozzle increases resolution but slows down printing, while a larger nozzle increases speed but reduces detail. The AN3DP is designed to overcome this problem by adapting to the specific requirements of each printed feature, resulting in high resolution and faster print speeds. ”

Antarctic Bear 3D Printing, FDM 3D Printing Nozzle Major Innovation: Adaptive Technology

△ By adjusting the shape and size of the nozzle during the printing process, a smoother, continuous surface can be created, which improves the overall quality of the printed object

Adaptive nozzles eliminate the "Minecraft effect"

AN3DP can currently extrude a wide range of materials, including polymers, hydrogels, ceramics, metals, composites and even biomaterials. The system is capable of withstanding operating temperatures up to 200°C and is planned to be integrated into FFF systems in the future. This new nozzle has a significant effect on improving the quality of the print.


Antarctic Bear 3D Printing, FDM 3D Printing Nozzle Major Innovation: Adaptive Technology

△ Design and implementation of AN3DP printhead

Müller explains: "One of the main advantages of this adaptive nozzle is the ability to reduce the 'staircase' effect. This effect is similar to the block pattern in Minecraft, where a fixed-size nozzle is used to print on an inclined or curved surface, resulting in a noticeable step effect instead of a smooth surface. By adjusting the shape and size of the nozzle during the printing process, we can achieve a smoother, more continuous surface, which improves the overall quality of the printed object. The

team said there was also room for improvement in AN3DP. The current nozzle design requires manual installation and cleaning, which is its main drawback at the moment. In addition to this additional work, nozzles can currently only be used for a single manufacturing process.

Müller and Kang are currently working to adapt the design to overcome these limitations and develop the AN3DP into a viable solution. Their goal is to make the AN3DP an attractive solution for everyday and industrial applications and to improve printing in a variety of areas, from aerospace components and soft electronics to structural beams and walls.

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