posted on October 11, 2013 |
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A team from TU Delft is reimagining how and where a 3D printer can be used. Their prototype can 3D print on any surface despite its topology.
Traditionally, 3D printers are additive manufacturing machines that build objects up from a flat base. With the aid of a robotic arm, the Delft printer can articulate itself to place its print head on any surface within its seemingly endless build volume. Armed with an Océ print head, the printer can add material to even the most complex curved surfaces. This allows the machine to build anywhere it choses.
Researchers at Delft believe their new printer has a number of applications particularly in the field of on-site, rapid repairs. If the printer could be scaled up it is possible vehicles, planes, and all manner of machinery can be repaired on site.
Combining this technology with DMLS printing techniques could prove to be a game changer when it comes to industrial additive manufacturing.
While it might not be economical to print whole parts, factories could employ multiple robots printing specialized components onto pre-cast parts. Or, perhaps having a series of 3D printing robotic arms is exactly how factories of the future will work.
Image and Video Courtesy of TU Delft