3D printing with reusable voxels: A faster and greener future
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Many of the applications in the 3D printing market have been for manufacturing prototypes in an inexpensive and relatively fast manner. Today, 3D printers make this possible by no longer having to use third party manufacturers. For all of the purposes that 3D printing is used, many of them, such as 3D geographic maps, visual art, model support structures, dioramas, prototypes, do not require a high precession. Furthermore, for such applications, there is no need for permanent prints. Due to the advancements in technology, and its residual pollution from waste, there is a need for a ‘greener’ method to 3-D printing. To meet this demand, we propose MIRV (Mechanically Interchangeable and Reusable Voxels), for voxel-based printing, a new method for 3-D printing. MIRV uses pre-built volumetric elements to build 3-D objects, by employing specially designed reusable and interchangeable building elements in voxel-based printing. When there is no longer need for the printed object, the object can be disassembled and the parts reused. This eliminates any wasted material. Meanwhile, all building elements of each layer are displaced in one simultaneous motion. Thus, the overall time to build a print can be significantly reduced compared to other 3D printing technologies.
Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Flexible Automation & Intelligent Manufacturing, held May 20-23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, and organized by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems, University of Texas at San AntonioIncludes bibliographical references