3D Printing is So Last Week…Say Hello to “5D Printing” at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs!

Share this Article

408601412_1280x720

A self-assembling 4D printed part.

We all know what 3D printing is – obviously. (If you don’t, here’s a handy overview. Welcome, newcomer.) We’ve also explored 4D printing, which involves printed objects that mutate and morph into different shapes when exposed to an outside stimulus such as light, water or temperature changes. So what’s involved in 5D printing? Printed objects that levitate? Printed objects that teleport? Time-traveling printed objects?!

Well…no. You can 3D print a TARDIS, but you still can’t make it travel. 5D printing is simply another name for five-axis additive manufacturing, and while it may not be as exciting as teleportation, it’s still pretty cool – and useful. The term “5D” as applied to five-axis printing is being used by Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL), the North American subsidiary of the multinational corporation’s research and development branch. They’ve been experimenting with a print bed that actually rocks back and forth on two axes, creating a fourth and fifth axis as a result.

tilt2What this means for the final printed part is that instead of being created as a series of flat layers, the layers are curved. William Yerazunis, Senior Principal Research Scientist at MERL, describes the advantages of this process as applied to a pressure cap. A cap printed using standard 3D technology will be quickly ripped apart along the adhesion lines when pressure is applied, he explains. But if that same part is printed with the 5D method, curving the lines where the maximum stress will be applied, the part will be three to five times stronger – and will use 25% less material.

“It’s the same shape, made from the same CAD model, made out of the same plastic from the same spool, made on the same machine,” he says. “But the 5D printed part is up to five times stronger. That’s like the difference between a bicycle and a racing motorcycle.”

To prove his point, Yerazunis and a colleague printed the same pressure cap in both 3D and 5D, then tested them by adding pressure. The 3D printed cap pitifully burst after about a second, making it only to 0.1 megapascal of pressure before it decided it had had enough. The 5D printed cap, on the other hand, held on for the application of 3.7 megapascals before blowing its top.

pressurecap

It’s a very different approach to additive manufacturing, and goes to show that the limits of 3D printing are never really set in stone. The process can always be toyed with and altered, sometimes to surprising – and exciting – ends. Many manufacturers may find MERL’s study to be of great interest, especially manufacturers who have held off using 3D printing for end use parts because of insufficient material strength.

“Our goal in this 5D printing project is to make parts that are strong in the directions they need to be strong in, no matter what direction that happens to be….5D printing does require a lot of analysis, and it does require knowing how the part will be used,” says Yerazunis. “But when you can make a part that’s five times stronger, that really changes how you think about 3D printed parts.”

You can watch the experiment for yourself below, and discuss the topic further over in the 5D Printing forum at 3DPB.com.

 

Share this Article


Recent News

nScrypt 3Dx-700 System Goes Beyond 3D Printing for Digital Manufacturing

BASF and CTIBiotech Develop 3D Bioprinted Human Reconstructed Skin



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Poietis: Bioprinting With Their Innovative Laser-Assisted Technology

In 2014, French startup Poietis developed a unique technology for the bioprinting of living tissue. Unlike conventional approaches to tissue engineering or extrusion bioprinting, their promising 4D laser-assisted system allows cells...

Creating Vascular Structures Using Low Cost Desktop 3D Printers

In a thesis entitled “Engineering of vascular networks within biocompatible hydrogels using 3D printing technology,” a PhD student named Juan Liu discusses the need for new technologies in wound healing....

3d.fab’s BioAssemblyBot Wants to 3D Print Skin onto People

3D bioprinting continues to diversify as more and more companies and research organizations join the field, each bringing their own take on the technology to the table. French collaborative platform 3d.fab has...

3D Printing for Diagnosing and Treating Cancer and R&D Tax Credits

Cancer research has evolved with the help of 3D printing. Doctors can create patient-specific 3D models of cancerous body parts to prepare for upcoming surgeries. Medical engineers can create digital...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!