On the campus of University of Colorado, Boulder, a 6,000 square foot engineering center is leading the way in utilizing multi-materials in the design of 3D printed robots. The center, formed by Professor Rob MacCurdy together with three other mechanical engineering professors, includes a team of PhD students, master students and undergraduate students attempting to improve multi-material printing to create robots with advanced functionalities. Professor MacCurdy has been using Stratasys 3D printers to bring about innovation in mechanical engineering for years, but his current goal is to utilize a combination of different materials to 3D print complex structures and functionalities in his 3D printed robots.
In addition, MacCurdy is also working on creating unique medical models to assist surgeons in understanding unique patient morphology. Using these pre-surgical planning models improves patient outcomes by reducing the amount of time for the patient to recover and reducing the cost by shortening the procedures.
Many researchers and innovation centers face similar challenges in their attempt to gain more flexible and precise control over their additive manufacturing processes, but advanced users often find the tools available on the market to be very limiting. To enable users with innovative goals the tools and capabilities they seek to facilitate implementing these ideas with their 3D printing, Stratasys is releasing their Research package.
"While there are many 3D printing manufacturers that are heading in this direction, Stratasys PolyJet printers offer more material channels, and by introducing a variety of materials — including liquid materials — we can increase the realism of these 3D printed parts. We’re also pioneers in exploring the ability to change the material properties to make mechanically-realistic, pre-surgical planning models,” MacCurdy said.