Hybrid Manufacturing: Integrating Direct Write and Stereolithography

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Medina, Frank
Lopes, Amit
Inamdar, Asim
Hennessey, Robert
Palmer, Jeremy
Chavez, Bart
Davis, Don
Gallegos, Phil
Wicker, Ryan

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A commercial stereolithography (SL) machine was modified to integrate fluid dispensing or direct-write (DW) technology with SL in an integrated manufacturing environment for automated and efficient hybrid manufacturing of complex electrical devices, combining threedimensional (3D) electrical circuitry with SL-manufactured parts. The modified SL system operates similarly to a commercially available machine, although build interrupts were used to stop and start the SL build while depositing fluid using the DW system. An additional linear encoder was attached to the SL platform z-stage and used to maintain accurate part registration during the SL and DW build processes. Individual STL files were required as part of the manufacturing process plan. The DW system employed a three-axis translation mechanism that was integrated with the commercial SL machine. Registration between the SL part, SL laser and the DW nozzle was maintained through the use of 0.025-inch diameter cylindrical reference holes manufactured in the part during SL. After depositing conductive ink using DW, the SL laser was commanded to trace the profile until the ink was cured. The current system allows for easy exchange between SL and DW in order to manufacture fully functional 3D electrical circuits and structures in a semi-automated environment. To demonstrate the manufacturing capabilities, the hybrid SL/DW setup was used to make a simple multi-layer SL part with embedded circuitry. This hybrid system is not intended to function as a commercial system, it is intended for experimental demonstration only. This hybrid SL/DW system has the potential for manufacturing fully functional electromechanical devices that are more compact, less expensive, and more reliable than their conventional predecessors, and work is ongoing in order to fully automate the current system.


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