Syringe Pump Extruder and Curing System for 3D Printing of Photopolymers
Development of new additive manufacturing materials often requires the production of several batches of relatively large volumes in order to print and test objects. This can be difficult for many materials that are expensive or difficult to produce in large volumes on the laboratory scale. Bioprinter systems are advantageous in this regard, however, commercial systems are expensive or do not have the ability to use photopolymers. Herein, we outline a Syringe Pump Extruder and Curing System (SPECS) modification for inexpensive filament-based 3D printers which enables the use of standard bioplotter materials and photopolymers. The system is capable of using multiple syringe volumes and needle sizes that can be quickly and easily exchanged. The SPECS modification is demonstrated using a Prusa i3 mk3 fused filament fabrication printer to print several 3D objects and films using stereolithography (SLA) photopolymer resin. Geometric accuracy in the X, Y, and Z directions was ±0.1 mm using a 5 mL syringe, 22-gauge needle, and commercial SLA resin. The SPECS system could be of great benefit for laboratories pursing material development in the area of additive manufacturing. This repository includes diagrams, assembly instructions, STL models of components to be 3D printed, a configuration file for the slicing software used in this conversion, and a full CAD model of the system outlined in the HardwareX submission.