Monday, November 18, 2013

A Sticky Situation

Recently, the focus of the materials subset of the build team has been developing an auto-refill system. The team has spent a lot of time testing a peristalsis pump in order to efficiently use left over resin in an automatic refill system. The pump is hooked up to a power supply and by reversing the motor, can easily transfer liquids from one area to another, something ideal for an auto-refill and drainage system. The strongest challenges have come from avoiding the cross contamination of the different resins. In order to use multiple resins, we have to ensure that they do not mix as every resin has a different chemical makeup. This has set up a sticky situation because the resin sticks to almost everything making some equipment hard to clean, especially with the peristalsis pump. Some solutions include using a separate pump for each resin, removing the pump and cleaning it by hand, or lining the tubing of the pump with a nonstick coating such as Sylgard 184. We will be able to make our first complete design for the refill system by the end of the week. We also will start to figure out how we will integrate the system into the rest of the 3D printer over the next week. Another portion of the team has been focused on ordering parts, within our budget, for not only the build team and CAD team prototype but also a separate open source Do it Yourself 3D printer that a few team members are working on outside of the classroom. As more ordered parts of the printer come in we will be able to make the CAD teams design come to life.