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Technologies 2017, 5(2), 36;

Open Source Multi-Head 3D Printer for Polymer-Metal Composite Component Manufacturing

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 601 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, USA
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 121 EERC Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Salvatore Brischetto, Paolo Maggiore and Carlo Giovanni Ferro
Received: 1 March 2017 / Revised: 5 April 2017 / Accepted: 18 April 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additive Manufacturing Technologies and Applications)
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As low-cost desktop 3D printing is now dominated by free and open source self-replicating rapid prototype (RepRap) derivatives, there is an intense interest in extending the scope of potential applications to manufacturing. This study describes a manufacturing technology that enables a constrained set of polymer-metal composite components. This paper provides (1) free and open source hardware and (2) software for printing systems that achieves metal wire embedment into a polymer matrix 3D-printed part via a novel weaving and wrapping method using (3) OpenSCAD and parametric coding for customized g-code commands. Composite parts are evaluated from the technical viability of manufacturing and quality. The results show that utilizing a multi-polymer head system for multi-component manufacturing reduces manufacturing time and reduces the embodied energy of manufacturing. Finally, it is concluded that an open source software and hardware tool chain can provide low-cost industrial manufacturing of complex metal-polymer composite-based products. View Full-Text
Keywords: open source; 3D printing; RepRap; composite; manufacturing open source; 3D printing; RepRap; composite; manufacturing

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Laureto, J.J.; Pearce, J.M. Open Source Multi-Head 3D Printer for Polymer-Metal Composite Component Manufacturing. Technologies 2017, 5, 36.

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