Introduction to 3D Printing Platform on Bionics

In order to promote the application of 3D printing technology, speed up the development of new products and improve their technological level, the Key Laboratory of Bionic Engineering in Jilin University has established a public technological service platform for 3D printing to highlight the feature of bionic engineering and give consideration to application requirements in different fields and at various levels. Based on multi-material, multi-process and multi-scale 3D printing technology, the platform will establish several 3D printing technologies and equipment systems, including the 3D printing systems of functional bionic surfaces, functional bionic materials, functional bionic apparatus, intelligent biological materials, innovative products and social service. The platform will improve the utilization of equipments in a shared fashion and promote the application of 3D printing technology with professional technical service.


1. 3D printing system of functional bionic surface/interface

Most researches showed that the micro structural morphology and material composition of surface/interface influence various surface properties, such as anti-adhesion, drag reduction, invisibility, noise reduction and adhesion. Lotus leaf is a typical functional bionic surface, and the surface fine and composite tubercle structure and wax layer have a coupling effects on its contact angle, and further influence surface wettability. The adhesion property varies when changing these factors, based on which the bionic engineering surface with anti-adhesion and drag reduction could be prepared.


2. 3D printing system of bionic structure

The characteristic of a component is related to its geometric structure and material composition, and the material property is determined by its arrangement, synthesis and composite structure. Biological material has experienced evolution in long periods and evolved diverse functions so as to adapt to the needs to survive.

Generally, biological material has the extremely high property-weight ratio, such as specific strength and hardness. The way for a biological species to obtain high specific strength is to adopt the optimal combination of materials and structures, and achieve the highest performance with the lowest quality (the lowest energy consumption). For example, the bone tissue has obtained the extremely high specific strength with outside-inside gradient material and geometric structure.


3. 3D printing system of functional bionic apparatus, 3D printing of heterogeneous material integration

For 3D printing technology, each material corresponds to one kind (category) of technology, and multiple materials need to be accomplished by the coordination of diverse 3D printing technologies. The 3D printing system with the coordination of multiple materials and technologies integrates several traditional technologies with multiple processes together to achieve the 3D technology for “Made with Wisdom” of heterogeneous material. Multi-material computer-aided design tools (multi-material CAD) could be used to design multi-material bionic apparatus, and 3D printing system of heterogeneous materials will be further used to manufacture such bionic apparatus. For example, multi-material 3D printing devices for metal and ceramic could be used to prepare multi-mental bionic apparatus.


4. 3D printing (4D printing) system of bio-medical and smart material

The special tress response function could be realized by utilizing multi-material, multi-technology and multi-scale 3D printing technology and preparing smart material structure with multi-material component, ordered material structure and specific 3D geometrical structure, such as tissue implantation (soft tissue of cosmetology silica gel, mouth false tooth and artificial thigh bone), repair of defective tissue (repair of defective cranium), medical models and devices of orthopedics fixture (fracture).


5. Innovative design and 3D printing system of new products

Selective laser sintering, fused deposition and 3D printing are adopted as the main 3D printing technologies to establish the 3D printing system that is being used directly for function models and final components, and to realize the accelerated development of products in low cost. 3D printing technology is applicable to small-lot and single piece manufacturing, and it can manufacture components and parts rapidly only with the individual 3D printing device other than specialized fixture and complex production chain. Fused deposition and 3D printing technology can manufacture the most automotive upholsteries, and selective laser sintering can manufacture structural components. 3D printing technology can achieve high-tech and high-performance design unrestrained by processes.


6. 3D printing system of social service

3D printing system of social service is a 3D printing technology cloud platform using network technology. The cloud platform has three basic functions, including the cloud manufacturing of bionic technology, bionic design and bionic products, the cloud manufacturing of final parts and molds, and vocational education and technical training for 3D printing.

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