Thermopolymer Support Platforms for ThermoJet Printers
Publication Date: 2001-Jun-01
The IP.com Prior Art Database
6,136,252: PATENT [+3]
A methodology for generating parts on ThermoJet Printers that have less distortion than parts that were built without employing the methodology.
Recent preliminary experiments have shown that curl and other types of distortion that show in some parts built on the ThermoJet( printer can be improved in a couple ways. This is especially true of large parts with broad extents. These techniques have been shown to minimize curl artifacts on test parts, and allow flat-based parts to be built directly on the platform to achieve improved down-facing surfaces.
If the build platform is heated to about 50oC and held there throughout the build, an 8" user part exhibits noticeably less distortion than an identical geometry built on a non-heated platform. Distortion benefit can be gained as well by heating the platform before starting the build without constant heating throughout the duration of the build, although the gain is not as great.
As an alternative, try building a normally supported, .100-inch thick flat layer of thermopolymer on the non-heated, regular build platform. Then build your part on top of the flat layer. Also, the slab may not need to be solid to function as a platform. It may be possible to build a grid or special pattern that makes slab removal easier. The platform should be allowed to naturally cool to room temperature prior to removing the part. Upon removal of the part from the thermopolymer bed, you may experience less distortion in the part than if it were built without this bed. This technique requires CAD manipulation of the model but that may be easily accomplished.
Additional information regarding the ThermoJet printer can be found at www.3dsystems.com or in U.S. Patent Numbers 6,136,252, 6,162,378, and 6,193,923.