YouMagine set forth a challenge. They challenged people to “Develop a New 3D Printing Technology.” Their winning idea would be chosen based on a combination of merit and achievability. The winner is to receive an Ultimaker, with which to implement their idea and share it with the YouMagine community. Succeed or fail, they are mandated to document and share their by June 1st.
On February 1st the decision was made and YouMagine actually selected two winners for the contest. The first winner is Laird Popkin. His design focused on improving efficiency in printing. His concept involves a printer with a small (, 0.1mm to 0.2mm layer height) and large (large nozzle, 0.5-1mm layer height) nozzle. This dual nozzle printer allows perimeter layers of fine resolution to be extruded from the smaller nozzle and infill via the thicker one, not unlike the Robox 3D printer from CEL.
In addition to this hardware, he stated that he wanted to make changes to “open source slicer software and configurations to optimize print speed.” Popkin also expressed interest in utilizing this method to rapid print prosthetic limbs. While 3D printing is already employed in making prosthetics, improved efficiency could be very useful in increasing accessibility.
Then, there’s the second winner: XYZAidan. His concept was built around a new way to print with silicone. He mentions that the current paste extrusion method suffers from layer drift and might not be the most efficient process for printing with paste. Silicone can be made with a mixture of a base part (A) and a catalyst (B). Adding B to A causes the mixture to solidify.
Aidan’s concept involves putting down a base layer of A and using a nozzle to deposit catalyst B in a precise specific pattern to form the first layer of a shape. The pattern is repeated with another solid layer of A and a specific pattern of B to build up the form. After the print is done, the remaining A could be “recycled or washed away or reused in the printing process,” and the specific pattern of B would remain in a solidified state.
Both of these winners will receive their Ultimaker. Both of these concepts are intriguing additions to the industry and the posted progress should provide for some interesting information to the YouMagine community. The June 1st deadline for progress is something to eagerly anticipate.