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It is a fact that 3D printing has brought about a revolutionary change in the design and production paradigm in the past 10 years, but now the new frontier of additive manufacturing pointing directly at 5D!

Some time ago there was talk of 4D Printing, or adding to the usual 3 dimensions the possibility to change over time, modifying the geometric response of the material by subjecting it to extra conditions such as heat, water, etc. The researches of Professor William Yerazunis team at MERL (Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories) has developed an additive manufacturing technology fused filament fabrication that allows you to build along 5 axes (5AAM) obtaining, according to the first tests, pieces from 3 to 5 times stronger compared to those of traditional 3D Printing, also using less material.

5d aam

The survey started from the finding of the American team that the deposition of material in constant Z-direction produces parts to a lower voltage resistance than the injection moulded material, due to a weakening direction. The particular 5d printer runs on a work surface that can swing back and forth on 2 axes thus achieving the full functionality of the 5-way. To test the system, the company has chosen to produce caps pressure from the convex profile in order to stress the piece from different directions, not least they consider also the inside forces coming from the container on which they were in use. The finding is surprising: the printed samples in 3d traditional Printing resisted to about 0,1MPa while those produced with 5d technology endured up to 3,7MPa and were made with 25% of plastic material in less.


Despite the first encouraging results Professor Yerazunis same highlights the improvements that need to be made to the technology to make it more attractive to industrial additive manufacturing market: improving the performance of the nozzles, making the process faster, expand the size of work area and do research on other materials to print in the future even polymers loaded with fibers such as graphite or Kevlar.

In short, a research project that aims at the dawn already important goals but not impossible!

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