3D printers, especially in the implementation of innovative extrusion processes which do not have a long history of development, are often built by adapting mechanical designs, drives and controls previously developed for generic machine tools. This is done through a process of choice and integration which is based principally on empirical criteria and taking into account separately the different aspects and parameters. Hereafter, we present an integrated mechatronic approach which has been adopted to design from the scratch a machine to implement the innovative metal injection moulding (MIM) technology. Its extrusion rate involves the adaptation of the generated trajectories and consequently requires “ad hoc”
designs, drives and numerical controls (NC) to enable non standard acceleration (and hence torque) setpoint curves. Overall, the project resulted in an acceptable workspace volume (depending on the number of degrees of freedom of the platform) and allows one to combine the extruder flow rate, the given accuracy and the required working speed (1 m/s). The system is currently used as a test bench for exploring and optimizing the parameter space of a new MIM process.
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