Multi-material 3D printing with several mechanically distinct materials at once has expanded the potential applications for additive manufacturing technology. Fewer material options exist, however, for additive systems that employ vat photopolymerization (such as stereolithography, SLA, and digital light projection, DLP, 3D printers), which are more commonly used for advanced engineering prototypes and manufacturing. Those material selections that do exist are limited in their capacity for fusion due to disparate chemical and physical properties, limiting the potential mechanical range for multi-material printed composites. Here, we present an ethylene glycol phenyl ether acrylate (EGPEA)-based formulation for a polymer resin yielding a range of elastic moduli between 0.6 MPa and 31 MPa simply by altering the ratio of monomer and crosslinker feedstocks in the formulation. This simple chemistry is also well suited to form seamless adhesions between mechanically dissimilar formulations, making it a promising candidate for multi-material DLP 3D printing. Preliminary tests with these polymer formulations indicate that variability due to molecular differences between hard and soft formulations is less than 3% of the prescribed model dimensions, comparable to existing commercial DLP and SLA resins, with unique advantages of a wide range of elastomer stiffness and seamless fusion for 3D printing of structurally detailed and mechanically heterogeneous composites.
- 3D printing
- Digital Light Processing (DLP)
- Mechanically tunable