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Characterization of microscale structures fabricated using Polymer-jet printer
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1  Pillar of Engineering Product Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design


Recent advances in additive manufacturing technologies have enabled fabrication of functional microscale devices using polymer-jet 3D printing. The class of polymer-jet printers (Stratasys, USA) offers broad range of inkjet 3D printers for various applications. In this study, we investigated the microscale features produced by the desktop, polymer-jet printer (Object30 Prime). The acrylic formulated, transparent photopolymer Veroclear is subjected for the test, and influence of the printing parameters over the feature dimensions are analysed. We found systemic deviation of the  printed microscale structures from the computer-aided design (CAD) of the structure. The deviation of the structure was explained in light of  two competing physical forces due to surface tension and gravity. Spreading of the resin and curvature formation are the two major phenomena that explains the deviation caused by the printing process. In this additive manufacturing process, the thickness of each layer is also known to affect the feature size of printed parts. The influence of layer thickness and interdependence of the design width over the printed heights are reported. Based on the observed limitation of the instrument, the suitability of the printer for producing microscale structures are discussed and some design considerations are provided.

Keywords: Microscale devices, 3D printing, Polymer-jet, Photo polymer, Microfluidics