This journal has recently published an article in June 2017, from the Department of Engineering at Texas A&M University, entitled “Welding of 3D-Printed Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites by Locally Induced Microwave Heating”.
3D printing is a rapidly developing method of producing Thermo-Plastic components. However, because of a weak weld between successive filament traces products are prone to mechanical failure. By heating Carbon Nanotubules (CNTs) and by using Microwave Irradiation a better bond weld is achieved.
At the end of printing and Microwave Irradiation the weld strength increases by 275%.
This has led to increase possibilities in the use of 3D printing because of this increased fracture resistance means that there are entirely new design opportunities for Additive Manufacturing (AM) and the beneficial effect that the radio frequency field had on the Nano material networks.
This has allowed for new technology called Locally Induced Radio Frequency (LIRF) welding do be developed which said increased the fracture strength and it can also be observed that the structure of the layer has not been changed or warped following this procedure.
Norbert Sparrow quickly follows up this paper in July 2017, in 3D Printing Automotive. He explains that a PHD student and his supervisors have used traditional welding principles for 3D printed items and to make them better suited to handle everyday tasks.
He highlighted that in 3D printed items the strength is in the X and Y direction but not the Z direction and by selectively applying heat the strength could be increased.
Practically this is done by coating the 3D printer filament with a thin layer of Carbon Nanotube Composite which is incorporated where each layer meets.
The newly printed object is put into a Microwave and the heat is controlled with an infrared camera. this increases the strength of the finisher object and the potential for the industry is enormous.
A more cheap and cost effective way for the hobbits can be viewed bellow.
Polymaker (2016). Friction Welding 3D Printed Parts. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj9TMmUldhc [Accessed 7 Aug. 2017].
Sparrow, N. (2017). Welding Technique Strengthens 3D-Printed Parts. [online] PlasticsToday. Available at: https://www.plasticstoday.com/3d-printing/welding-technique-strengthens-3d-printed-parts/209328441857178 [Accessed 3 Aug. 2017].
Sweeney, C., Lackey, B., Pospisil, M., Achee, T., Hicks, V., Moran, A., Teipel, B., Saed, M. and Green, M. (2017). Welding of 3D-Printed Carbon Nanotube–Polymer Composites By Locally Induced Microwave Heating. Science Advances, [online] 3(6), p.e1700262. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/6/e1700262.full [Accessed 3 Aug. 2017].