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Development of novel solutions for robotic 3D ceramic paste printing

Jorgensen, Tavs; Lightfoot, Sonny; Farzadnia, Farzad; White, Michael; Joyce-Badea, Michael

Development of novel solutions for robotic 3D ceramic paste printing Thumbnail


Sonny Lightfoot

Farzad Farzadnia

Michael White

Michael Joyce-Badea


3D printing with polymer-based mediums is ubiquitous in many sectors with a broad range of technologies maturing and providing a very good level choice both in terms of cost and quality. However, with the ceramic medium some challenges still remain to achieve the same level of functionally and ease-of-use that exists with other Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) systems. While commercial 3D printing systems capable of printing with ceramic paste have been available for some time, limitations of the systems still remain, particularly in relation to the paste delivery system. Significant opportunities for research and innovation also remain in terms of the articulation system used for operating the print head. In particular the increased proliferation of collaborative robotic arms presents an opportunity to significantly extend the use of paste based ALM approaches. This paper presentation outlines ongoing research which seeks to exploit these research opportunities and presents novel approaches with 3D ceramic paste printing using a 6-axis collaborative robotic arm as the core articulation platform.

One of the novel approaches concerns the use of a hydraulic paste delivery system. The research includes an investigation of an integrated feedback loop to control the system pressure in order to ensure consistent delivery of clay paste to the print head. Equally, the paper will discuss the design and manufacture of bespoke hardware parts for 3D paste printing systems. These parts include bespoke auger screws, which are being created using parametric computer scripts and 4th axis CNC milling. These investigations include developments of printhead housing using bespoke ALM created parts and standard pipe components.

The paper will also report on work focused on developing an integrated system based on a mechanical paste delivery system. The development of this system involves the creation of software solutions including a 3D printing slicer and robotic arm control. The paper will outline the challenges of developing a system capable of delivering co-ordinated volumes of paste to an auger based printhead while integrating the paste deposition with the movements of the 6-axis robotic arm.

Furthermore, the paper will present outcomes of the experimental use of the systems with examples from a number of applications, including architectural ceramics and components for water filtration systems. The paper will present experiments with entirely novel applications, such as the creation of investment casting moulds using cold-cure ceramic shell paste, and explorations into 3D printing with composite pastes.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name EcerS 2023
Start Date Jul 2, 2023
End Date Jul 6, 2023
Publication Date Jul 4, 2023
Deposit Date Aug 26, 2023
Publicly Available Date Sep 15, 2023
Keywords Additive Layer Manufacturing, Ceramic Paste 3D Printing, Collaborative Robots, Ceramic Paste Delivery Systems, Toolmaking
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