Design of a UV Curing Cartridge for 3D Inkjet Printing

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Wiswell, Richard
printer cartridge; 3d printing; ultraviolet; engineering; Mechanics of Materials; Semiconductor and Optical Materials
poster description
In printing multi-layer electronic circuits, each layer must be formed as a continuous pattern in high resolution from ink jetted liquid droplets and be in precise alignment with the other layers, precluding substrate removal for UV curing. This research seeks to determine the optimal method for in-situ UV curing of the ink jetted material in a single pass. The inkjet replacement cartridge designed for this purpose was constructed of aluminum, fit into the printer head assembly in good alignment with the other ink cartridges, and contained a UV LED for in-situ curing and a cooling fan to maintain safe operating temperatures for the LED. Measurements of heat transfer and UV exposure determined the optimal characteristics for the cooling mechanism and the LED, respectively, and the temperature profile was modeled prior to construction. The aluminum cartridge remained in proper alignment; the 5W-rated 365nm LED provided instant, in-situ curing; and the cooling fan kept the LED within its optimal temperature range. This design allows the printing of multi-layer electronic circuits without substrate removal for UV curing.