Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
have developed a
3D FDM printer that, with the help of a laser, prints 10
times faster than normal office machines. We recently wrote
about a way to
double your printer’s speed, but this is in another
ballpark. The print head uses a laser and a new, innovative
screw mechanism to increase the machine’s speed.
The key to this innovative 3D printer is due to its
extruder, created by two MIT students. It uses a laser,
selective laser sintering technologies. FDM printers do not
usually do this, instead using a print head which warms the
filament to create successive layers.
How to increase the speed of a FDM 3D printer?
Interestingly, MIT have recently offered a
3D printing university course. We have previously explored
four types of FDM printers, but this doesn’t fit into any
of these categories. MIT developed their 3D printer using an
extruder that features a laser-assisted screw mechanism
instead. This feeds the plastic filament nozzle while the laser
quickly heats up and melts the filament.
The screw mechanism replaces the traditional mechanism of usual
printheads that cannot print as quickly without losing filament
adhesion. The machine processes a specially developed filament
that increases adhesion and allows faster feeding of the
extruder. Therefore, the laser heats and melts the filament
before it gets to the nozzle.
Solving 3D FDM Printer Problems
John Hart, an MIT student and one of the printer’s creators,
believes this could make FDM a more viable production
technique. Since a 1 hour print could be reduced to just 6
minutes, this provides more opportunities in the workplace. In
addition, factories could print spare parts more easily. Hart
also explains that this FDM 3D printer could be a viable
solution in medical emergencies.
Its creators added that it was made to solve three problems
associated with FDM: speed, low extrusion force, and slow heat
transfer. Hart explained that “Given our understanding
of what limits these three variables, we wondered how we could
design a printer ourselves that would improve all three in one
system. We developed it and it works pretty
Here is a live impression with the said 3D printer, without any
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