4061 Multi-functional BAAM: Big Area AM with Multi-Purpose Wire Embedding

BAAM + wire embedding allows for wire embedding to be 3D printed directly into structures such as car doors to supply power to lights and speakers, or in washing machine side panels to provide wiring to the control panel.

This project addresses the design and implementation of multi-purpose wire embedding into the current Cincinnati BAAM machine providing sufficient build volumes and production rates for large scale applications.

Problem
Objective
Technical Approach
Project Participants
Problem

Build volumes and production rates of traditional desktop and production 3D printers are not sufficient for large-scale applications in the automotive, home appliance, aerospace, furniture, and construction industries.  Furthermore, although standard commercial 3D printing technologies have advanced to print in a broad range of materials including thermoplastics, metals, and ceramics, the resulting structures are generally limited to a single material, or at most, a narrow range of compatible materials.  The Cincinnati BAAM machine has the same material constraints and would benefit from embedded disparate materials such as metal fibers serving as reinforcing agents, thermal conduits, and electrical lines.

Objective

The primary objective of this project is to introduce wire embedding capabilities of diverse wire gauges into the Cincinnati BAAM, providing a new level of 3D printing with multifunctionality. The embedded wires can serve as supply lines, reinforcing agents, electronic interconnects, thermal conduits, and transverse geometrically complex dielectric structures. The technology also offers the potential to implement wiring and sensors within large scale smart tooling to measure temperature, strain, pressure, and other properties.

Technical Approach

The major task of this project involves developing a wire embedding technology appropriate for use within the gantry of Cincinnati’s BAAM technology. This includes designing the wire embedding tool to appropriately interface with the control system (including firmware) of the BAAM machine. A parallel task consists of developing a new design software framework that captures and models geometrically complex multi-process and multi-material structures to allow successful execution of 5-axis motion multi-process toolpaths via the BAAM + wire embedding machine, collaboratively. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and Techmer PM intend to work together to characterize and develop improved BAAM process parameters for thermoplastic-based composites.  UTEP and Cincinnati Inc. plan to transition the wire embedding technology from UTEP to every BAAM machine as well as collaborate with Autodesk to identify the commercialization path for the developed software.

Project Participants

Project Principal

University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Logo

Other Project Participants

  • Cincinnati Inc.
  • Autodesk
  • Techmer PM

Public Participants

  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • National Science Foundation
  • U.S. Department of Energy

Project Summary

Updated: November 7, 2018

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