Advanced Manufacturing

Direct Ink Writing of Ceramics

We've used direct ink writing to print a variety of functional structures from silicon carbide. Our hybrid borosiloxane-colloidal SiC ink blends enable printing over a wide range of colloidal volume fractions to produce relative densities of ≈30–50%. We've printed structural (bars, cylinders, turbines) and functional components (periodic lattices, microwave feedhorns) that can be sintered with excellent shape stability.
  • Modular inks having 0.38 < ɸ <  0.54.
  • 3D printed microwave feedhorns that transmit microwaves (8.5 GHz) with very low insertion losses (≈0.05 dB) relative to commercial standards.
Relevant Publications:

Digital Mask Projection Stereolithography (DMP-SL)

Stereolithography is a 3D printing process that uses high intensity light to selectively cure a liquid precursor into a solid polymer. We’ve developed a custom system that uses an off-the-shelf projector to simultaneously control more than two million individual pixels of light. The printing process is shown in the video to the right. This process allows us to quickly fabricate high resolution prototypes and explore new material compositions.
  • Nominal resolution of 35µm in XY plane.
  • Layer heights of 25-50µm.
  • Build speed of ~25mm/hr.
Relevant Publications:

Rotational Molding

We've adapted an industrial scale fabrication technique called rotational casting to fabricate monolithic soft actuators from thermosetting elastomers. A major advantage of this method is that no adhesives are required; this results in the ability to apply higher forces compared to other soft actuators that are bonded, and the potential to use tougher materials (e.g., polyurethane, styrene-butadiene). Rotational casting will expand the applications of soft robots, especially those requiring high force, high volume production, and high reliability.
  • Monolithic soft actuators produced without any bonding.
  • Ten-fold increase in max actuation pressure compared to soft lithography.
  • Allows for the fabrication of soft actuators from materials that can't be bonded.
Relevant Publications: