Stereolithography and jetting based colorful 3D printing
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Additive manufacturing is a new manufacturing technology that can build object directly from digital model in a layer by layer manner. It offers advantages in manufacturing part that are difficult or impossible to make using conventional manufacturing technologies. Intensive researches have been done based on this process and many novel AM processes have been developed. Colorful additive manufacturing is one important research direction among them; colorful 3D printing model has wide variety of applications in architecture, medical, engineering, personal fabrication, to name a few. However, very limited colorful 3D printing devices are developed, and the present devices on market are expensive, most models printed are not internally visible. This research focuses on the development of colorful 3D printing process based on mask projection stereolithography (MPSL) and jetting. In this research, a novel colorful 3D printing process is proposed. The developed prototype has potential to print colorful 3D model in a faster, cheap and more accurate way with better surface finish. First, a MPSL system has been developed, including the hardware, software and control modules. Second, a desktop inkjet printer is retrofitted to enable flatbed printing; the principle of inkjet printing technology is studied. Third, a hybrid system by combining the MPSL and flatbed inkjet printer is developed; four potential applications of the built system are presented. The hybrid system could serve as a platform or testbed for colorful stereolithography study in the future. Finally, we investigated the possible marriage of nanotechnology with our platform. By changing ink of the inkjet printer, the proposed hybrid process would be a high potential access for applying nanocomposite into additive manufacturing.