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3D Printing In Gel Enables Freeform Design and an Undo Function

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the just-go-down-and-get-a-tub-of-gel-from-walmart dept.

Hardware Hacking 33

Zothecula writes "The additive layer process of conventional 3D printers means they are usually limited to bottom up fabrication on three axes. Now, the LA-based NSTRMNT team has created a 3D printing process called suspended disposition that gets around gravity by printing objects within a gel. Not only does this allow freeform additive fabrication on six axes, it also enables an 'undo' function."

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33 comments

Timmeh!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44428489)

I want to jizz in timothy's ass.

resin+gel as support material (3, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44428555)

you can do support materials with some other techniques as well. easily dissoluable(sp?) support material for fdm style machines would be really useful, that printed well(the materials that print well now tend to need nasty chemicals). I'm not sure why the robot in this case has to be a six axis one, seemingly the technique would be just fine with a 3 axis printer?

Re:resin+gel as support material (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44428637)

They are not extruding layer by layer, but they are moving an injector needle on a path through a block of gel. It allows the injector to follow a 3D path without having to wait for the model to be built up slice by slice.

Re:resin+gel as support material (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44428983)

yes, but why the 6 axis? they could build it bottom up within the gel with 3, so why 6 which makes this considerably(so much more that mentioning arduino as control electronics doesn't matter at all, since it's such insignificant expense) more expensive?

Re:resin+gel as support material (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44429349)

Well, three to position the extruder within the gel, and three to orient it. The extruder is like a needle, and if you move it sideways, the gel will try to slosh around it to fill in the gap, so you want to be moving the extruder lengthwise as much as possible to minimize the effect.

However, I'm guessing that the real reason is that they happened to have a 6 axis manipulator lying around and using it would have been cheaper than building a specialized unit.

Re:resin+gel as support material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44431211)

Plus, you could actually inject around other objects without just crashing into them.

Re:resin+gel as support material (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about a year ago | (#44429439)

As this is a line scanning process, it will probably take just as scanning a laser to build up an object layer by layer.

Though the laser would probably be faster, even with resin recoat time, typical laser scan for stereolithography are around 4-25 meters per second.

I doubt there is any robot that can go that fast and maintain 0.1 mm accuracy.

Re:resin+gel as support material (2)

johanwanderer (1078391) | about a year ago | (#44428731)

This allows you to print "unbalanced" objects, e.g. those that would tip over when you print layer-by-layer.

Re:resin+gel as support material (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44428947)

This allows you to print "unbalanced" objects, e.g. those that would tip over when you print layer-by-layer.

any support material approach allows that. on fdm it's crucial that the part is attached to the platform by considerable force anyways, tipping isn't the problem.

seems familiar... (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#44428605)

This goo, is it grey?
Does it self-recycle?
Is it vulnerable to cold?

Re:seems familiar... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44429839)

This goo, is it grey?

Does it self-recycle?

Is it vulnerable to cold?

That's a must-see episode.

This would be epic (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year ago | (#44428635)

Adding support material generally jacks up my prints. Would be very cool to get around that as I have tons of ideas that I have no choice but to build in parts and glue together because the support material just doesn't do the job well.

Organs (4, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#44428649)

As one comment on the original article says. This is the way to do organs. The original gel can be agar like or other cellular support matrix then you can print in a circulatory system with external interface then add in the actual organ cells. Let it mature a bit and finish up by washing off the original gel.

Re:Organs (3, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44428865)

This method can also make entire clones. And remember, clones are always hot and wear thermal bandages.

Re:Organs (1)

mdielmann (514750) | about a year ago | (#44431141)

This method can also make entire clones. And remember, clones are always hot and wear thermal bandages.

Well, that's just reasonable. Why would you add additional, unwanted material to the model? It's expensive and takes longer!

like Michaelangelo said, (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44428651)

If you want to make a great sculpture, all you have to do is find a rock and carve away everything that isn't part of the sculpture.

Re:like Michaelangelo said, (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#44429449)

That doesn't sound like a ninja turtle at all.

Re:like Michaelangelo said, (1)

Scoldog (875927) | about a year ago | (#44431493)

He also said "forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza!"

Gravity is not the problem (0)

Plazmid (1132467) | about a year ago | (#44429233)

Gravity is not the reason why supports are used in stereolithography type 3d printing, shrinkage is.

When a photopolymer solidifies it shrinks, and I'd imagine that this process would have many of the same shrinkage issues.

Re:Gravity is not the problem (3, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#44429637)

Gravity is not the reason why supports are used in stereolithography type 3d printing, shrinkage is.

Gravity is sometimes the reason why supports are used in both STL and FDM. Shrinkage is the reason why George repeatedly shouted "I was in the pool!"

Re:Gravity is not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44431647)

shrinkage issues

I was in the pool... I was in the pool!!!

Improvement (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about a year ago | (#44429257)

I think they could do better if they had a 2d mesh of individually controlled apetures that had switchable nozzles that could easily switch between extruding gel and resin. The printing speed would be ridiculously fast.

Re:Improvement (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about a year ago | (#44429525)

Someone has actually done this [usc.edu] , sans switchable nozzles or gel. They were able to make centimeter high objects of decent resolution in minutes.

Re:Improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44431203)

That's cool, but that's still a layer-based approach, and the printing of any part relies on the hardening of previous layers.

Re:Improvement (1)

Ferrofluid (2979761) | about a year ago | (#44431217)

That's quite different. While it's a parallel process, nothing's being extruded. It's stereolithography, which means that a resin is being cured one layer at a time. Commercial systems like this exist (which use a projector to expose an entire layer at a time, rather than raster scanning a laser across it). A major limitation is that you can only make things out of photo-curable resin. If someone were to develop a parallel extrusion system as Stoutlimb suggested, you would be able to use a much larger variety of materials.

Re:Improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44431261)

That's cool. It's still a layer-based approach, though, and would still require support material (although it would happen from top to bottom as opposed to bottom to top). Another group of SCI-Arc students did basically the same thing in that USC article, but at a huge scale. http://vimeo.com/49888105

embarrassing quality (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#44429685)

The print quality is absolutely embarrassing. Here's a link to some prints [gizmag.com]
A high school project out of legos would outdo this pathetic effort.

Re:embarrassing quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44431235)

Pretty sure that image caption says "tests." Plus, those guys are architecture students, not engineers.

Re:embarrassing quality (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44434891)

It's not embarrassing at all. It's a proof-of-concept.

Bah. Only 59 seconds aloft? Those Wright Brothers should be embarrassed.

undo ... (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#44432131)

also known in the normal world as "knife"

Re:undo ... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44434935)

That's a spoon.

Re:undo ... (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#44438631)

"Ah, I see you've played Knifey-Spoony before!"

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