• svgCategory:Development
  • svgCourse:Research project

Silicone 3D printer

Liquid Deposition Modeling (LDM) and Rapid Liquid Printing

For the Veasko shoe project, we build and developed a Liquid Deposition Modeling 3D printer that can do Rapid Liquid Printing – 3D printing silicone suspended in gel.

Rapid Liquid Printing

Rapid Liquid Printing, RLP for short, is a 3D printing technology developed by MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab (Hajash, Sparrman, Guberan, Laucks, & Tibbits, 2017). This method of printing works by extruding a viscous material, a two-component silicone in our case, into a bath of hydrogel. The gel acts as a suspension material for the printed liquid and holds it in place. This effectively eliminates gravity and allows for a much more free and open type of printing as no support structures are needed. After the printed material is cured, it can be taken out of the gel. The gel can be reused multiple times.Since RLP is a rather new technology, there were no commercially available machines available for this type of 3D printing. That is why we decided to build our own printer for RLP.

Nozzle design

As a material for printing, we chose a two-component silicone with a 1:1 mixing ratio. This gave us two options: Mix the silicone prior to printing or mix the material in the printer. We decided to go for the second option as this would allow for longer print times and less waste.

We designed a 3D printable nozzle with a static mixing section that would mix the materials just prior to extrusion. After several iterations of the design, we had a nozzle that could reliably mix the two components and extrude it into the gel. The final nozzle can be seen in the image on the right.

Collaboration with:

Hajash, K., Sparrman, B., Guberan, C., Laucks, J., & Tibbits, S. (2017). Large-Scale Rapid Liquid Printing. 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing4(3), 123–132.