Fused deposition modeling (FDM), often simply referred to as 3D Printing, has been hailed as the future of manufacturing. However, the bad mechanical performance of parts produced by FDM compared to conventionally manufactured objects has limited its use to prototyping. Therefore, despite its promise of mass customization, FDM 3D Printing has not been adopted by industry for production. Researchers at ETH Zürich have developed a bioinspired approach to 3D print recyclable materials using cheap desktop printers that outperform state-of-the-art printed polymers and rival the highest performance lightweight materials. This will finally enable the manufacturing of complex parts that mimic natural structural designs on the mass market.
For more information contact the team reporting its work in Nature.
Figure 1: 3D printed samples of specimens with print lines following the stress lines and the biological inspiration represented by a wood knot. (ETHZ)
Figure 2: FDM Extruder (ETHZ)
FIgure 3: Printed parts (ETHZ)