A five-axis robotic conveyance system, collectively referred to as Multi3D Manufacturing, provides spatial control of material and functionality within a single enclosure containing a suite of complementary additive and subtractive manufacturing processes.
This project addresses the development of a low cost industrial Multi3D System for 3D electronics manufacturing using additive manufacturing processes and traditional CNC machining processes within the same system.
Current Multi3D technology is cost and space restrictive for multifunctional aerospace component fabrications that require both additive and subtractive technologies (hybrid manufacturing). A system that provides spatial control of material and functionality as structures are created layer-by-layer with a suite of complementary manufacturing processes blended together was successfully demonstrated at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) under a previous America Makes program (Project 4030: 3D Printing Multifunctionality in Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications). The developed system configuration, however, provides a production-level system with a footprint size and cost that is prohibitive for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The goal of this project was to develop a low cost industrial system for hybrid manufacturing housed within a single enclosure that contains both thermoplastic deposition and machining capabilities. The system includes embedding tools for wire and foil applications for high conductivity interconnects and toolpath generation software to enhance commercialization efforts particularly among SMEs and applications requiring high quality complex parts. This low cost industrial Multi3D system would create a new level of design freedom for manufacturing 3D printed electronics that require an optimized use of volume and weight (e.g. satellite components, air frame parts, active electronic implants, wearable computing).
The technical approach involves the development of a low cost system that integrates additive and subtractive technologies for fabricating state-of-the-art thermoplastic structures with intricate detail and embedded metallic traces and surfaces serving as conductors. In addition, machine vision capabilities, a tool rack for additional tool heads that will provide machine flexibility, and automatic tool change plates into a gantry system with a machining spindle will be incorporated, adding to the multifunctional capabilities of the system. Pellet fed extrusion via a Strangepresse extruder along with wire and metal foil embedding capabilities with tool path planning software are being developed concurrent to the machine design. The completed Multi3D system’s capabilities will be demonstrated in the production and evaluation of industry relevant parts.
Other Project Participants
- Draper Labs
- Northrop Grumman
- Applied Systems and Technology Transfer, Inc. (AST2)
- U.S. Department of Defense
- National Science Foundation
- U.S. Department of Energy
Updated: November 20, 2017