Director: Dustin Wheeler, PhD
Providing instrumentation support, Dustin Wheeler, PhD, is available for consultation, general maintenance and troubleshooting regarding a variety of instrumentation. He also oversees a pair of 3D printers, which are available for use by members of the Department of Chemistry.
3D Printing Information
A few techniques dominate 3D printing: stereolithography (SLA), fused exposition modeling (FDM), selective laser sintering (SLS), and inkjet printing. The 3D printers in the facility use FDM and SLA methods to manufacture parts.
FDM is a mechanical (rather than chemical) process, that builds up layers through the extrusion of semi-molten materials, typically thermoplastics.
Resolution is limited by the extrusion cross-section of material (i.e., the filament size), a few tenths of a millimeter on most printers. Final printed resolutions are typically a few hundred microns.
Hunter’s FDM machine is an Ultimaker 3, capable of printing a wide variety of thermoplastic materials. If your desired material isn’t on hand, filament can be ordered. Ultimaker has a number of first-party materials available for purchase, as well as a number of compatible third-party materials that have been tested for compatibility.
SLA is done via optical curing of specially formulated liquid resins. Generally this is done by using a UV laser, rastering the laser to form an image, or by displaying a UV mask over the printing surface using a projector. SLA is capable of very high resolutions, as low as a few dozen microns.
The department has a Form 2 printer that creates parts from a number of UV-curable polymer resins. Many of these resins are on-hand and available for immediate use.
Scheduling an appointment for a design consultation, modeling help, or to time to print a part is available online.