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FFF printing in a viscous medium

Posted by LoboCNC 
FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 28, 2015 10:48PM
Has anyone ever tried FFF printing with the nozzle submerged in a highly viscous medium to enable printing without supports? I just got some 1,000,000 cSt viscosity silicone oil for another project, and it has the consistency of epoxy that is just about to set up. I'm imagining that it might be possible to print a layer into this fluid and have it stay put until the next layer goes down. Or maybe have some really minimal supports like with SLA printing. Any thoughts on the myriad of potential problems? I'd rather get talked out of this before trying a really messy experiment.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2015 10:48PM by LoboCNC.
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 29, 2015 12:24AM
I say try it and see what happens!


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 29, 2015 01:45AM
The heat transfer into the fluid will be massive. You´d have to insulate the whole hotend and nozzle.

Better try to eliminate gravity winking smiley
-Olaf
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 29, 2015 12:54PM
it's an interesting idea, I was also wanting to try something like that... maybe a foam of some type? a gel? you could insulate the tip of the nozzle with kapton or ceramic paper... FDM definitely needs a better support medium. You should be able to start printing on this material, not just hold up a filament. Let us know your results!
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 29, 2015 01:22PM
The other though I've mulled over for a long time is printing submerged in a bed of glass microspheres. This would actually result in even less heat loss than an extruder in air. However, they may actually hold in too much heat in the already extruded material. They are also a bit of a nightmare to work with because they float everywhere, and are also an inhalation hazard.
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 29, 2015 01:24PM
If you don't use 100% infill won't the oil get stuck inside the print?
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 29, 2015 01:44PM
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 29, 2015 02:03PM
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 30, 2015 11:53PM
My favorite idea is depositing powder (ie fine sand) as a support fill from a second 'extruder'.

You'd probably need a 5-sided box (either FFM extruded per-layer or part of the machine) in which to hold the powder.

The idea would be that you first do the FFM portion of the layer, then 'extrude' the powder support material in the void space of the layer where support is needed (keeping in mind minimum slope angle of your powder, etc).

Repeat as needed, then depowder.
Re: FFF printing in a viscous medium
August 30, 2015 11:57PM
... and extending that to a neutrally buoyant fluid:

  1. Start with an empty chamber or a mesh stage above the fluid tank
  2. Deposit FFM material for the layer (must be neutrally buoyant w/respect to the 'fill' fluid)
  3. Either add fill fluid to the tank, or lower the mesh stage into the tank
  4. Go to 2 for all layer.
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