3D Printer with Improved Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Keywords 3D Printing, CAD, Rapid Prototyping
Three dimensional (3D) printer and rapid prototyping (RP) systems are currently used to quickly produce objects and to prototype parts using CAD tools. Most RP systems use an additive, layer-by-layer approach to building parts by joining liquid, powder, or sheet materials to form physical objects. Some of these RP systems through selective laser sintering amalgamate materials by heating them with lasers to generate 3D printed objects.
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have created a new 3D printer with improved selective laser sintering. The new 3D printer and process varies the composition of the materials in a 3D printed object thus creating an object with enhanced strength, conductivity, heat resistance and other enhancing properties.
This invention presents a straightforward way of incorporating fibers and micro-and-nano-particles in the matrix material of the part built with powder bed fusion technologies such as Selective Laser Sintering. The invention allows for production of functionally graded parts where material within the part is not homogeneous but contains layers of various types of inclusions as is required to enhance the performance of the part. Additionally, the invention outlines the way the use aligned carbon fibers as integral part of SLS based production.
State of development
A prototype of this technology has been made and tested for heat and mass transfer.