Real 3D printing: how to produce non-planar continuous fiber reinforced composites

Most 3D printing processes are actually 2.5D. What does it mean? The conventional process of 3D printing is laying material on top of each other on the parallel plane, resulting in a three-dimensional object.

In traditional 3D printers, moving parts are most often either the printing table, or the printing head, or both of them, such as in the Composer — continuous fiber 3D printer. Even though the table and the print head move along the x, y, z axes, the layers are still stacking in the parallel plane, and each subsequent layer is parallel to the previous one.

Both FFF (plastic) and continuous fiber 3D printing have a number of limitations. The restrictions are that it is not possible to reinforce parts in two planes at the same time. Since the layers are stacked parallel to each other, the part can only be reinforced in the same plane.

For example, it is not possible to effectively strengthen parts such as in the pictures using conventional 3D printers.

The second limitation is in difficulty printing curved shape models because the extruder cannot move out of the plane so that the nozzle remains always perpendicular to the point where the material is laid out.

However, there is a way for ‘’true 3D printing’’ with continuous fibers. It’s Anisoprint 6-axis robot that allows reinforcing parts of any shape in different planes.

The robot includes a 6-axis robot arm and an end-effector printing with continuous fiber. The robot’s axes allow moving freely in the hemisphere and print parts of complex shapes, without additional supports, molds and tools.

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