Desktop manufacturing of complex objects, prototypes and biomedical scaffolds by means of computer-assisted design combined with computer-guided 3D plotting of polymers and reactive oligomers
Computer-assisted design and image processing were combined with computer-guided one- and two-component air-driven 3D dispensing of hotmelts, solutions, pastes, dispersions of polymers as well as monomers and reactive oligomers to produce solid objects with complex shapes and tailor-made internal structures. During the 3D plotting process either individual microdots or microstrands were positioned in order to construct complex objects, fibers, tubes and scaffolds similar to non-wovens. The resolution was in the range of 200 μm and depended upon inner nozzle diameter, air pressure, plotting speed, rheology, and plotting medium. Plotting in liquid media with densities similar to that of the dispensing liquid eliminated the need for construction of temporary support structures. The design capabilities of this computer-guided 3D plotting process was demonstrated using conventional moisture-curable silicone resin.