Industrial 3D printing goes skateboarding

ScienceDaily | 4/9/2019 | Staff
donuzumaki (Posted by) Level 3
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A team led by engineers from Michigan Technological University and re:3D, Inc. developed and tested the Gigabot X, an open source industrial FPF 3D printer, which can use waste plastic particles and reform it into large, strong prints. Because of the unique challenges presented by sporting goods -- size, durability, specificity -- the team chose several Upper Peninsula-inspired items.

"This isn't a gadget to make toys for your kids; this is an industrial machine meant to make real, large, high-performance products. With well over 1,000 Fab Labs worldwide spreading fast and morphing into environmentally friendly 'green fab labs', the Gigabot X could be a useful tool to add to their services as well as other makerspaces," said Joshua Pearce, Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Of course, for our testing we wanted to use recycled plastic."

Hallmark - Gigabot - X - Year - Michigan

That's a hallmark of the Gigabot X -- last year a Michigan Tech and re:3D collaborative study showed that it could be used with a wide range of plastics plucked from the waste stream to live on in a new productive life. The system is based on a previous design from the MOST Lab, the recyclebot, which makes waste plastic filament for 3D printers. Pearce's team has looked deep into better ways to sort, sift and classify plastic to improve its 3D printability. Melting and extruding, however, does weaken plastic, it can withstand five cycles before it's mechanically compromised. What's new with the Gigabot X is the process called fused particle fabrication (FPF) or fused granular fabrication (FGF) that skips the step of making filament before 3-D printing and saves on one melt cycle. Basically, it prints directly from shredded waste. The Gigabot X's size and versatility to use any material...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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