MIT’s New 3D MultiFab Platform Enables Mixing of Materials at the Micron Level

By: | September 1st, 2015

MIT Multifab

MIT Multifab (Image Courtesy

A New Multi-Material 3D Printing Paradigm

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed MultiFab to improve upon current 3-D printers that typically use one or two materials as well as current multi-material printers.

MultiFab not only allows 10 materials to be printed in one print, but the platform is also low-cost, contains easily reconfigurable hardware and software, and is primarily intended to support novel research and manufacturing not currently possible with existing multi-material printing platforms. This kind of multi-material 3-D printer allows for significant experimentation by combining materials that interact in novel ways both mechanically and optically.

MultiFab is a modular, scalable, high-resolution printer architecture with an integrated machine vision system. According to MIT News, “this system allows for self-calibration of printheads, 3-D scanning, and a closed-feedback loop to enable print corrections.”

Main Features of MultiFab

MultiFab features:

  • Enable 3-D printing of parts with materials that interact optically and mechanically.
  • Have modularity allowing modules to be added and removed as required in specific applications.
  • Low-cost hardware that is built from off-the-shelf components and has a Bill of Materials (BOM) of about $5,000.
  • Printing in high resolution of sub 100 µ for all materials and can print from hundreds of microns to tens of centimeters.
  • Piezoelectric printheads that enable multi-material 3-D printing with a resolution of at least 40 micrometers [mu]m and enables mixing of materials at the micron level.

For more information on MultiFab see the paper.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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