P11553: Improved Power Spreader for ProMetal

Generate Product Concepts

Table of Contents

Clarify The Problem

Three Dimensional Printing (3DP) is a new technology with many areas of improvement. The process of interest involves layers of metal powder binded successively. The spreading technique in particular causes problems for the density of the printed object. Currently, a straight blade drags powder of a specified depth from a platform in a box to an equivalent platform in an equivalent box. As the powder is scraped from one box, the depth of the pile increases. As the powder is scraped across the second box, the depth of the pile decreases. This change in depth creates an uneven density at the beginning and end of the printing box.

This uneven density is the problem.

Search Externally

Pile of Powder dragged via:

  1. Blade scraping process: Current process wipes powder from one surface onto the print surface.
  2. Roller
  3. Counter Rotating Roller
  4. Box across print surface

Search Internally

  1. Trough: Move large pile with trough so that density remains constant. Similar to the asphalt paving process.
  2. Vibrator: May increase density and improve design.
  3. Spray Nozzles:
  4. Sifting Drum:
  5. Compressing Plate: Have a flat plate compress the layer after each spread.

Explore Systematically

In this process, we took all of the available ideas and mix-and-matched. We compared the efficiencies and the practicality of each idea.

Reflect on the Results and the Process

A functional black box is used to describe the system, Concept Generation PDF. Using this, and comparing to what we have available, powder spreading is the primary concern for our group. This process allowed for creativity within the group to generate ideas.