Three Dimensional Electrophotographic Printing Through Layered Manufacturing : An Exploration into Personal Fabrication

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Title: Three Dimensional Electrophotographic Printing Through Layered Manufacturing : An Exploration into Personal Fabrication
Author: Mahale, Tushar Ramkrishna
Advisors: Dr. Edward Grant, Committee Member
Dr. Ola L. A. Harrysson, Committee Member
Dr. Denis Cormier, Committee Chair
Abstract: A machine capable of making 'anything' has always existed in the realm of science fiction. The advent of the Rapid Prototyping machines partially fulfilled the realization of a personal fabricator by breaking the boundaries on the geometric form that could be realized through a machine in a single set up. The proliferation of the rapid prototyping machines into the industry and finally for domestic use, has been hampered by their costs, size and process limitations. The current trends in the Rapid Prototyping industry has been to develop machines capable of manufacturing parts in functionally graded materials. In order to achieve this, there is a need to develop means to precisely deposit a controlled combination of materials within the volume of a part. Electrophotography has been used for decades for monochrome and multicolor dry toner printing. The application of electrophotography for the generation of 3D parts through layered manufacturing has been left mostly unexplored. This thesis suggests guidelines for the development of an electrophotography based rapid prototyping process that would be cost effective in comparison with current commercial rapid prototyping technologies, as well as have the capability of depositing multiple materials. The initial research involved attempts to adapt a commercial electrophotographic printer to print in 3D. Later, experiments were conducted to indigenously build an electrophotography based layered manufacturing system. The research involved the development of transmission systems, development of power supplies to facilitate electrostatic charging, testing of polygon mirror based laser-scanning system, development of fusing and pressing station and experiments with multiple materials. Though a electrophotography based rapid prototyping machine was not realized at the end of this research, substantial evidence was generated to validate future research towards the development of such a system. Future work would involve the development of a completely automated system. Upon the completion of this system, further research could be carried out in the fields of personal fabrication, micro Rapid Prototyping, materials with directional properties, bio and materials, direct write technologies for printing circuits and functionally graded materials.
Date: 2004-06-03
Degree: MS
Discipline: Industrial Engineering

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