Cleated Print Surface for Fused Deposition Modeling
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Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) has become popular among Additive Manufacturing technologies due to its low cost, speed, and geometric scalability; however, the primitive nature of the FDM build surface fundamentally limits the utility of FDM in terms of reliability, autonomy, and material selection. Currently, FDM relies on adhesive forces between the first layer of a print and the build surface; depending on the materials involved, this adhesive bond may or may not be reliable. Thermal contraction between the build plate and build materials can break that bond, which causes warpage and delamination of the part from the build surface and subsequent failure of the part. Furthermore, with each print, the user must use tools or special maneuvering to separate the printed part from the build surface as well as retexture or replace the used build surface. In this paper we present a novel build platform that allows for a mechanical bond between the print and build surface by using dovetail-shaped features. The first layer of the print flows into the features and becomes mechanically captivated by the build platform. Once the print is completed, the platform is rolled or flexed open to release the part from the mechanical bond. This design not only lowers the risk of delamination during printing but also eliminates the need for a user to reset or replace the build surface between print jobs. The effectiveness of each geometry was determined by measuring the distance at the pinch point compared to the distance that the extrusion filled below the pinch point. The Captivation Ratio was measured to compare the different geometries tested and determine which direction of extrusion creates a better ratio.