Continuous Multi-Filament 3D Printing for Tension-Compression Structure Components
This research was also funded by the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (NSF CAREER-1944691 CMMI) and the National Science Foundation Future Eco Manufacturing Research Grant (NSF, FMRG-2037097 CMMI) to Dr. Masoud Akbarzadeh.
In the study, a new Multi-Filament Fused Deposit Modelling (MFFMD) printer is presented, alongside a generator designed to create 3D-printed structural parts with customized functional properties. The MFFMD printer, equipped with a unique single nozzle, allows for seamless material switching, thereby addressing issues like material delamination and production delays typically associated with multi-nozzle systems. A new method is also introduced, which designs a continuous toolpath for different materials based on stress conditions at specific regions. This technique is exemplified through the fabrication of a Pratt truss. Comparative load tests confirm the performance superiority of multi-filament prints over single-filament prints. Although this research uses thermal plastic filaments and is conducted at a small scale, the method has potential for larger scale applications and different materials. Besides improving structural performance, the study aids in visualizing mechanical and geometrical properties of printed components, enhancing interdisciplinary design communications.