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Multi3D Manufacturing for Multi-Functional Applications
Keywords: 3d Manufacturing, Multi-Functional Applications, Multi3D
In the last decade, research has focused on 3D printing for not only creating conceptual models but functional end-use products as well. As patents for 3D printing expire, new low cost desktop systems are being adopted more widely. This trend is leading to products being fabricated locally and improving supply chain logistics. However, currently low cost 3D printing is limited in the number of materials used simultaneously in fabrication and consequently is confined to fabricating enclosures and conceptual models. For additively manufactured end-use products to be useful, supplementary features and functionalities will need to be incorporated in to the final structures in terms of electronic, electromechanical, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and optical content. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has recently been reporting on embedding electronic components and electrical interconnect into 3D printed structures either by interrupting the process or by inserting the additional content after the structure has been built. However, only until recently and with an investment from the presidential initiative on Additive Manufacturing – America Makes – has there been a concentrated research focus on developing technology that produces multi-functionality. This presentation will review the last decade of work at UTEP in printing multi-functionality including examples of electromechanical actuation and electro-propulsion.
Dr. Eric MacDonald, Associate Professor
University of Texas El Paso (UTEP)
El Paso, TX

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