Students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne EPFL have created a high-performance 3D printer capable of printing extremely small structures measuring just a few microns in size.
The project began when professors at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne were looking for a new 3D printer. But the options were either too expensive or not up to the standards required for their work.
Professors Christoph Moser and Jürgen Brueger decided to build their own printer. And thethe printer What they built is an ultra-thin filament printer capable of printing in two and three dimensions.
The researchers say they have some funding from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to buy a printer. But they couldn’t find a MEW printer that would meet their requirements.
As a result of the team being unable to find a commercial offer, the professors decided to involve the engineers and students in the college in the project.
Before building the printer, the team had to figure out how MEW technology worked to determine what materials they would need to build the printer.
“We started from scratch and had to learn how MEW technology works and what materials we need to use,” explains prototype designer Dickie Ahmen, an engineer at the Microsystems Laboratory.
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3D printer from scratch
Building a printer from scratch is an engineering feat in itself. But the capabilities of the printer they developed were also remarkable.
The printer can print parts from 1 to 10 microns in diameter. This is much smaller than the 100-micron limit of conventional 3D filament printers.
The speed of the printer they created was also an important feature. The printer can make a frame of 20 x 20 millimeters in about two minutes.
Additionally, building the own printer gave the team benefits. And given that they knew how it worked, setting up the device was much easier. They can also adjust the printer for different applications making it the ideal tool for teaching and scientific research.
“We developed a platform that we can then adapt and fine-tune to suit specific materials or applications,” Moser says. And the printer was also much cheaper than buying a similar ready-made model at a price of up to 70 thousand Swiss francs.
The printer also supports many materials, including all types of plastic, allowing them to print different products.
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