3D polymer adaptive printer (pellet printer)

Pellet Printer
01 November 2017 → 30 September 2019
Regional and community funding: Industrial Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Ceramic and glass materials
    • Materials science and engineering
    • Semiconductor materials
    • Other materials engineering
Additive manufacturing micro-extruder pellet high and low viscous polymers 3D printing
Project description

The subject of this project proposal is the further development of a new type of adaptable micro-extruder that has its main application area in the domain of 3D printing. This design of the micro-extruder has been submitted in an IDF to TT to start the patenting process.

The micro-extruder will be used in a 3D printing method called FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) which is an extrusion-based technique. Up till now this technique uses polymer filaments as feedstock but this poses several drawbacks. Polymer materials have to be converted from pellets to filaments which introduces an extra processing step and extra cost. There is only a limited set of materials available as filaments.

The use of the micro-extruder in the printing head allows to create an “ll-polymer”3D printer based on pellets instead of filaments. The adaptable design of the micro-extruder combined with the integrated sensors and control algorithm allow to print a wide variety of materials in a very easy way with only one printing head.

In this project the existing proof of concept of the technology will be developed more in depth providing necessary data for the patent (during filing or during the priority year). The universal character of the technique will be supported by a detailed rheological analysis.

This project will also allow to fabricate a mature demonstrator and showcase the ability to print multiple materials while maintaining good quality through the integrated control algorithm.

The valorization goal is to license the technology to a 3D printing equipment manufacturer. This will be achieved by creating market pull for the technology by setting up collaborative projects with end users of the technology, which has already started. The equipment manufacturer will then also be approached directly in a licensing strategy.