Vat polymerization (VP) is one of the most common types of 3D printing processes which includes stereolithography, direct light processing, two-photon printing, and other similar techniques. Parts are fabricated layer by layer, and each layer is the cross-section of the parts built by curing liquid polymer with a light source. Particles can also be added to the resin to build composites for additional functions. However, it is difficult to distribute particles uniformly in the final part of the printing process. Existing solutions make use of fine nanoparticles, which greatly increase production costs, lack certain properties of large particles, and have a risk of precipitating during printing.
This technology provides a method that is capable of printing resin-particle composites with uniform distribution. A plug-and-play functional module is added to commercial VP 3D printers to keep the resin-particle mixture homogenized during the printing process. This enables the fabrication of complex 3D composite parts with uniform particle distribution while also being easy to operate and integrate into existing VP printers without altering their performance or function.
The technology consists of a device that is designed to be attached to the resin vat of commercially available VP 3D printers. The device mechanically homogenizes the resin-particle composition during the printing process, ensuring uniform particle distribution during the printing process. The fabricated composite 3D part will maintain a homogeneous composition even when particles of different sizes are utilized during the printing process.
The technology is applicable to industries that employ additive manufacturing to produce composite materials.
Potential applications include (but are not limited to):