Researchers continue to explore possibilities for expanding additive manufacturing (AM) technologies into direct product manufacturing. One limitation is in the materials available for use in AM that can meet the needs of end-use applications. Stereolithography (SL) is an AM technology well known for its precision and high quality surface finish capabilities. SL builds parts by selectively crosslinking or solidifying photo-curable liquid resins, and the resin industry has been continuously developing new resins with improved performance characteristics. This paper introduces a unique SL machine that can fabricate parts out of multiple SL materials. The technology is based on using multiple vats positioned on a rotating vat carousel that contain different photo-curable materials. To change the material during the process, the build platform is raised out of the current vat, a new vat with a different material is rotated under the platform, and the platform is submerged into the new vat so that the new material can be used. This paper introduces a new vat exchange mechanism, cleaning process, recoating process, resin leveling mechanism and process planning technologies for the implementation of multiple material SL. An overview of the system framework is provided and the system integration and control software is described. In addition, several multiple material test parts are designed, fabricated, and described.
Journal of the Korean Society for Precision Engineering
Kim, Ho-Chan; Choi, Jae-Won; and Wicker, Ryan B., "Development of a Multi-material Stereolithography System" (2010). Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research. 861.