An All in one 3D printer or (AIO) combines a variety of printheads or tools on one platform. They can also be called Hybrid, Multi-tool or Multifunctional 3D printers. It is as simple as that really! Well, no not really! Typically, 3D printers come with one type of printhead or laser fixed in place.
So, one of the main considerations for organisations considering which 3D printer to invest in, requires matching an application with the best 3D printer technology for that application. This can be very restrictive and application limiting. Not what you want!
See our article regarding this here!
Hybrid Printer – One System, Infinite Possibilities
With an All in one 3D printer (AIO) or Hybrid printer you get the best of all technologies. This means your organisation will benefit from the flexibility of a range of functionalities; 3D printing with syringes, nozzles, printheads and extruders, UV light etc, as well as CNC milling, laser cutting, engraving, microscope and ‘pick and place’ capabilities.
It is now unnecessary to invest in different 3D printers. AIO will not only be saving space. Most importantly you get loads of application flexibility.
Application use as an example
The field of soft robotics is undergoing rapid development. Here, materials are central to performance and functionality. This application requires composite structures that combine; elastomers capable of large elastic deformations with stiffening components used to restrict body strains under actuation and to house electrical components within.
As a result soft robot performance is highly sensitive to material composition, material distributions, and component geometries (e.g., flexural rigidity distributions on bodies, fingers, tentacles, wings, fins, etc.). Historical processes like casting restrict designs with advanced geometries and material options. Additionally, these processes have complicated manufacturing steps that increase fabrication time.
Instead, additive manufacturing provides considerable advantages in the processing of multiple materials in composite structures. Therefore an All in one 3D printer (AIO) is becoming the ‘go to’ process for fabricating functional robots.
In particular, embedded 3D printing (E3DP) is of interest for its compatibility with multi-material fabrication.
Material inks extruded into a fluid reservoir (matrix) and used as a sacrificial support material during printing is a perfect process for fabricating soft sensors, fluid-based actuation for soft robots, and perfusable tubular structures.
The use of an All in one 3D printer (AIO) or Hybrid printer which provides a multi-purpose 3-axis motion control and can accommodate a series of deposition tools simplifies the process for the fabrication of soft robotics. Here, Fused filament fusion is used to produce moulds and fluid dispensing via a pneumatic fluid dispensing system (Ultimus V, Nordson EFD) with actuated disposable Luer-tipped syringes all in one system. To visit the full published research relating to this article.