What seems a flawless process on completion, involves many intricate details in the development stages. The selection of infills, their amount and patterns involved are factors that have to be decided for an accurate 3D printing process.
Makerbot provides a vast selection of infill patterns like the cat, honeycombs, sharks and more. Infill optimization involves the correct selection of weight and strength that produce an end product which is durable though not heavy and cumbersome. A team of researchers from the Delft University of Technology, Technical University of Denmark, and the Technical University of Munich have developed a new type of infill makes the final object resilient yet not too bulky.
The infill structures were inspired by the design of the ‘bone’ structure which has the strength and optimal weight. Dr. Jun Wu, Assistant Professor of Advanced Manufacturing at TU Delft, said that the infill optimization generates a structure of 3D printing which is similar to the trabecular bone. Trabecular bone is spongy and less dense that the cortical bone. The tiny lattice structures of the trabecular bone make up the parts around the joints, ribs, skull, and vertebrae. In a paper titled “Infill Optimization for Additive Manufacturing — Approaching Bone-like Porous Structures,”, the researchers have described how they used this concept of nature and applied it to 3D printing.
The researchers first designed a porous structure using a mathematical algorithm. After a series of tests, the porous, trabecular bone structure was inferred as perfect for 3D printing, particularly for the larger, lightweight parts. There will be further tests to test the durability and strength of the structure for complex designed parts. These infill structures can ideally be used for the manufacturing of application specific parts in additive manufacturing. The contributors to the paper are Dr. Wu, Niels Aage, Rüdiger Westermann, and Ole Sigmund.