Reducing prototype fabrication time through enhanced material extrusion process capability

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Parry, Georgia Rose; Felton, Harry James; Ballantyne, Robert; Su, Shuo; Hicks, Ben
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Bristol
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 3025-3034
DOI number:


3D printing is a widely used technology for automating the fabrication of prototypes. The benefits are wide reaching, and include low required expertise, accurate geometric form and the processibility of many materials. However, production of certain forms – especially large forms – can be slow. From review of the sub-systems, the hotend is commonly found to be the limiting factor. To improve this, a modified nozzle design is considered that incorporates a flat copper plate within the flow stream. Analytical simulation was used to guide this design before experimental methods validated the modifications. The maximum volumetric rate for the standard hotend nozzle is 14 mm3/s. The best performing modified nozzle increased the maximum volumetric flow rate to 26 mm3/s – an 86% increase. A series of popular parts were further considered, demonstrating a maximum ~48% fabrication time reduction, and a mean of ~23%. This enables 3D printed prototypes to be made more efficiently – both with regards to the design cycle and energy use – and allows designers to use the technology more rapidly than previously possible. By extension, this improves the efficiency of the design process.

Keywords: Prototyping, 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing, New product development

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