The purpose of this paper is to show a possibility of how new functions can be integrated in parts, created by the powder-bed-based 3D-printing technology. One big advantage of additive manufacturing technologies is the possibility to create function-integrated parts during the manufacturing process. This applies to mechanical functions like movable elements, thermodynamic functions like contour near cooling channels in a part as well as electrical functions like conductive lines and electrical components.
A powder-bed-based 3D-printer is utilized to process polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) as base material. To enable new functionalities, an automated exhausting mechanism was implemented into the test system. The created cavities can be filled with new components or rather new materials.
Three different approaches are shown in this paper. The first one was the integration of screw nuts to enhance bolted joints compared to threads, directly created in the part. The average tensile strength could be raised from 200 to 430 N/mm. The second approach was the integration of different reinforcement elements like carbon or metallic fibers. Here again a reinforcement of the tensile strength of approximately 27 per cent could be reached. The last approach shows a method to integrate conductive material as well as electrical components in a part to create simple electrical circuits.
The paper demonstrates how to extend an additive powder-bed-based technology with a powder-exhausting mechanism. The possibilities of this technology are illustrated by three examples, integrating mechanical as well as electrical functions in a part.
The presented studies are amongst others part of the research project “3DAMEEA-3D Additive Manufacturing of Electrical and Electronic Applications” which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology (BMWi).
Glasschroeder, J., Prager, E. and Zaeh, M.F. (2015), "Powder-bed-based 3D-printing of function integrated parts", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 207-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-12-2014-0172
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