Exone end to end binder jetting service

3D Printing on an Inflatable Substrate

INTAMSYS industrial 3d printing

Share this Article

Fergal Coulter

Fergal Coulter

Fergal Coulter is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the College of Art & Design and Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University. He has experience in the additive manufacture of tubular, dielectric, elastomer Minimum Energy Structures, cardiac assist devices, auxetic structures, soft robotics and printed electronics.

His latest project, 3D scanning and printing on inflated structures, uses multiple layers of hard silicone – Shore A 73 hardness to be precise – to create seamless, hexachiral structures on an inflated silicone balloon.

scan2print-600x511The soft silicone is sprayed onto an air-permeable mandrel which is then inflated and 3D scanned. Those scans are used to calculate geometries for 3D printed forms which are then extruded on to the inflated mandrel using a much harder silicone. The specific geometries being printed are auxetic, ‘hexachiral honeycomb’ structures.

Such auxetic structures have the potential to be used in a wide range of applications from deployable and morphing structures to various medical treatments, soft robotics and artificial muscles.

In this particular case the structures are used to constrain some of the pre-stretch that is imparted in the balloon during inflation. The entire printed structure is to be used in artificial muscles (or more specifically ‘Dielectric Elastomer Actuators’) for in-vivo prosthetics. Rather than using a conventional external actuator of some sort, dielectric elastomers can be made to change form and size through the application of a voltage across a thin rubber membrane. Their efficiency is greatly increased if they are held in a stretched form.

The “auxetic hexachiral structures” can be tailored and tuned for a stiffness response, by varying material hardness, thickness or the tangent angle of the straight line ‘ligaments’.

When the extruded layers of silicone are cured, the balloon mandrel is deflated finally settling into what is termed a Minimum Energy Structure (MES).

Coulter is also working on what are called “smart aortic grafts,” which researchers hope can one day be implanted into a removed section of the ascending aorta to improve the heart’s efficiency. Using “smart materials” that expand when a voltage is applied to them, these origami-esque auxetic techniques can be made to collapse and expand.IMG_38903 The idea is that the grafts will create a counter blood-flow by aping the ‘beating’ response of the heart out of phase with the diseased heart. As the heart fills with blood, the woven tube contracts to increase pressure in the heart. When the heart pumps oxygenated blood around the body, the tube is essentially stimulated to expand and release the pressure, thereby increasing blood flow.

Coulter and his fellow researchers use 3D printing techniques which can be tailored to a patient using MRI scan data.

Working with team leader “Dr Anton Ianakiev, Coulter says the findings are groundbreaking stuff which has the potential to be more effective than current therapies.

Can you think of any applications for this 3D printing on an inflatable substrate technique? Let us know in the Inflatable 3D Printing Substrate forum thread on 3DPB.com.

2014-10-13-17.57 3

 

Share this Article


Recent News

GE Additive Partnership to Establish BEAMIT Metal 3D Printing Powerhouse

Design for Disruption: 3D Printing Design for Installation



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Dream 3D Printing Soonicorns: Essentium, ICON & More

As of July 2021, 291 companies achieved the coveted mythical $1 billion status, far surpassing any previous year’s peak, according to financial platform Crunchbase. With 2021 proving to be a...

Massive 3D Printed Park Erected in Shenzen, China

Forget the mutually reinforcing buildup of their respective militaries – the real battle between the United States and China is in the field of 3D printing! You’ve probably heard of...

Featured

3D Printing Innovator’s Roundtable Webinar: Ditching DfAM and Embracing Design Freedom

In an industry where change is constant and unpredictable, professionals across the manufacturing industry have turned to additive manufacturing (AM) to overcome design and supply chain challenges. But conventional AM...

Startup Accelerator, Singapore: Dental 3D Printing, Services, and More

This is the eighth article detailing the 3D printing startup scene in Singapore. Teehee Dental Works Teehee Dental Works is a dental lab and dentist with a difference. Along with...


Shop

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