Development of an Automated Ultrasonic Wire Embedding Process for Use with Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Electronics Fabrication
Polymers have been used in Additive Manufacturing (AM) by many industries for rapid prototyping. Parts created using polymer AM however are known to be relatively expensive thus limiting them to small volume production and making them inapplicable for mass production, while their inherent porous and anisotropic properties make them mechanically inferior to parts made using traditional methods such as injection molding. As projects demand more efficient designs, and at the same time ask for more complex features, AM, combined with other manufacturing processes, like Ultrasonic Wire embedding, can streamline and consolidate assemblies. In the realm of composite and multifunctional assemblies, the layer–by-layer construction of AM parts allows components to be embedded within assemblies simplifying them and making them compact; thus, overcoming design constraints, and reducing weight and space in aeronautical and aerospace applications. Wire embedding, in particular, allows parts to not only be structural but also utilizes the substrates material properties to insulate wiring away from the environment while also retaining the wire and allowing the integration of bulkheads. Inserting wires however can be a challenge as they must be placed securely, accurately, and below the top layer so as not to interfere with subsequent layers atop them. The tool developed in this research makes use of ultrasonic energy to deform the channel around the wire and ensure consistent attachment. The system developed here makes use of a specially designed ultrasonic horn and mounting system to lay wire within polymer surfaces. The tool integrated into our mulit-3d system which allows parts to be removed form a Stratasys Fortus 400mc printer, placed a CNC on which the ultrasonic wire embedder is mounted, and redeposited in the printer after embedding so that printing can be finished, completely encapsulating the wire and any components placed within the part.
Martinez, Nikki Lee, "Development of an Automated Ultrasonic Wire Embedding Process for Use with Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Electronics Fabrication" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28261188.