3D Printer: Polymer-Metal Component Manufacturing

Save time, energy and money by utilizing a multi-polymer head system for multi-component manufacturing.

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Save time, energy and money by utilizing a multi-polymer head system for multi-component manufacturing.

As low-cost desktop 3D printing is now dominated by free and open source self-replicating rapid prototype (RepRap) derivatives, there is an intense interest in extending the scope of potential applications to manufacturing. This study describes a manufacturing technology that enables a constrained set of polymer-metal composite components. This paper provides:

  • free and open source hardware
  • software for printing systems that achieve metal wire embedding into a polymer matrix 3D-printed part via a novel weaving and wrapping method using
  • OpenSCAD and parametric coding for customized g-code commands.

Composite parts are evaluated from the technical viability of manufacturing and quality. The results show that utilizing a multi polymer head system for multi-component manufacturing reduces manufacturing time and reduces the embodied energy of manufacturing. Finally, it is concluded that an open source software and hardware tool chain can provide low-cost industrial manufacturing of complex metal-polymer composite-based products.


Metal polymer composite Gigabot printed/structural components


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Metal-polymer composite Gigabot mechanical bill of materials.


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Assembled two RAMPS 1.4 with custom I/O PCB per the KiCAD-PcbNew specification


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Secondary I/O PCB schematic developed in KiCAD-PcBNew.


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Electromechanical process map of the metal-polymer composite Gigabot


This diagram
represents a qualitative understanding of the primary connection points between operational
mechanisms and electronic controllers. Extruder motors: A, E0, E1, E2, E3. Directional motors:
X, Y0, Y1, Z0, Z1. Solenoid end stops: XS, Y0S, Y1S, Z0S, Z1S. Thermistors: T1, T2, T3, T4, T5. Heater
cartridges: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5
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  • 10 × OpenBuilds NEMA 17 Stepper Motor
  • 2 × RAMPS 1.4
  • 10 × A4988 Pololu Driver
  • 1 × Arduino 250 Mega
  • 1 × Custom I/O Board

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