3D Printing Using Build Plate with Mechanical Hold

Technology #15605

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Researchers
John Michael Loeffler
Brandon Rosenthal
Managed By
Lenny Terry
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending US 2017/0036400 A1

Mechanical Hold Allows the Production of Larger Parts and Exotic Materials While Limiting Warping and Failure

This 3D printing build plate utilizes mechanical hold, allowing for larger objects to be printed while decreasing the number of failed prints. 3D printing is implemented in many industries, such as automotive, hardware, and prosthetic. Available Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing technologies limit the size of manufactured parts because they rely on material adhesion to the build plate via tape, heated bead, heated build chamber or disposable plates. Objects exceeding 6-7 square inches typically suffer problems related to warping or detachment from the build platform. University of Florida researchers have developed a platform for 3D printing that uses a mechanical hold root system to ensure successful printing, including the printing of larger pieces and exotic materials that would typically have difficulty adhering to the build platform. The mechanical hold physically holds the printed object to the build plate and is stronger than available methods of adhesion.

Application

3D printing using build plate with mechanical hold for successful printing of larger pieces and other materials that have difficulty adhering to surfaces.

Advantages

  • Requires fewer heating elements and less energy for operation, allowing for a wider breadth of material types that can be used
  • Allows for easy removal of building materials from building platform, reducing chance of injury
  • Build chamber is not heated, nearly eliminating printing issues for materials with high thermal contraction that might cause the print to become dislodged
  • Keeps prints secure, allowing for large prints and printing in different orientations
  • Reduces number of failed prints, decreasing overall printing costs
  • Build plates are designed and intended for reuse, maintaining low operational costs

Technology

This 3D printing build plate differs from other 3D printing technologies by using mechanical hold instead of material adhesion, providing anchor holes (roots) and a raft on which it is possible to print larger parts. The build platform is able to achieve this through anchor holes on its surface. The anchor holes have a chamfer configuration, where the base has a larger diameter than the top. When printing begins, the nozzle extrudes material into the anchor holes and proceeds to print the first layer of the 3D object. The printed object connects to these anchor holes, where it is held mechanically. This tool path is auto generated to use the least material possible but results in a strong base for printing. After printing is complete, simply cutting the attachment points or detaching the root using a chamfer hand tool makes the build plate is ready for reuse. Because physical and thermal adhesion are not involved in holding the part to the build plate, materials previously inappropriate for 3D printing – many photopolymers, plastics, metals, and alternative material types or combinations of materials – can be printed on the mechanical build plate.