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Micromachines 2016, 7(11), 202; doi:10.3390/mi7110202

Fluid Micro-Reservoirs Array Design with Auto-Pressure Regulation for High-Speed 3D Printers

Faculty of Engineering, Ariel University, Ariel 40700, Israel
Academic Editor: Daniel Filippini
Received: 6 September 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing: Microfabrication and Emerging Concepts)
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Abstract

Three dimensional (3D) printing technology is rapidly evolving such that printing speed is now a crucial factor in technological developments and future applications. For printing heads based on the inkjet concept, the number of nozzles on the print head is a limiting factor of printing speed. This paper offers a method to practically increase the number of nozzles unlimitedly, and thus to dramatically ramp up printing speed. Fluid reservoirs are used in inkjet print heads to supply fluid through a manifold to the jetting chambers. The pressure in the reservoir’s outlet is important and influences device performance. Many efforts have been made to regulate pressure inside the fluid reservoirs so as to obtain a constant pressure in the chambers. When the number of nozzles is increased too much, the regulation of uniform pressure among all the nozzles becomes too complicated. In this paper, a different approach is taken. The reservoir is divided into an array of many micro-reservoirs. Each micro-reservoir supports one or a few chambers, and has a unique structure with auto-pressure regulation, where the outlet pressure is independent of the fluid level. The regulation is based on auto-compensation of the gravity force and a capillary force having the same dependence on the fluid level; this feature is obtained by adding a wedge in the reservoir with a unique shape. When the fluid level drops, the gravitational force and the capillary force decrease with it, but at similar rates. Terms for the force balance are derived and, consequently, a constant pressure in the fluid micro-reservoir segment is obtained automatically, with each segment being autonomous. This micro reservoir array is suggested for the enlargement of an inkjet print head and the achievement of high-speed 3D printing. View Full-Text
Keywords: high-speed three dimensional (3D) printers; reservoirs; pressure regulation high-speed three dimensional (3D) printers; reservoirs; pressure regulation
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Einat, M. Fluid Micro-Reservoirs Array Design with Auto-Pressure Regulation for High-Speed 3D Printers. Micromachines 2016, 7, 202.

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