PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF DEPOSITION PRESSURE CONTROLLED MULTI-AXIS FREEFORM FABRICATION

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Date

2023

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University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

Additive manufacturing is being explored as one of the most promising in-space manufacturing techniques. The presence of micro-gravity enables the fabrication of support-free sparse structures with ease. Sparse lattice structures (e.g. trusses) are attractive for space applications as they can be tailored for specific load paths. Previous studies have identified a positive correlation between deposition pressure and inter-layer adhesion in 3D printing. However, excessive deposition pressures negatively influence the in-orbit printing accuracy. Therefore, a parametric investigation was conducted to determine the optimal deposition pressure to fabricate mechanically sound trusses in orbit. Support-free arches with varying nodal deposition pressures were 3D printed using a multiaxis robotic manipulator with integrated force sensors. Mechanical testing of these arches concluded that the strength improvement plateaus and registers no significant increase in (joint) strength after a certain deposition pressure, characterized by the properties of the extrude. Integration of a force-feedback facilitates free-form printing of complex, multi-layered, support-free structures in terrestrial environments. In a free-floating space environment, it assists in optimizing the overall printing process.

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