Since the prototype is going to be developed further by Jelle this reflection will be mainly written about the future possibilities of the prototype. The major things to reflect about is the design of the machine itself and the nozzle. One of the goals was to make a machine that’s easy to handle and very mobile. There are still things that can be worked on to make this 3D-printer handy enough to print freely and to design intuitively using this printer.
For the upcoming prototype, there will be a few vital measures to consider for the advancement of the current prototype. Although the current prototype is relatively lightweight designed, demand for accuracy during 3D-printing manually is inevitable. So, a smaller and lighter version will be designed to achieve maximum freedom in movements. For now all the heavy parts of the 3D-printer aren’t integrated within one design of this machine. The parts for now are placed on the ground. Preferably all parts have to be small and lightweighted enough to be in one design but due to the requirements of the engine and also the prices of high quality parts it will be quite difficult to obtain this design. For example, one of the solutions is designing a moveable nozzle whereas other part are placed on the ground and the only mobile part would be the nozzle. This will also solve the problem of not having to carry around the large amount of plastic for the printing. The only thing that has to be solved is how to distribute the plastic into the nozzle. So there are still many future versions of designs to make for this 3D-printer that come with their own pros and cons.
Another possibilty is to develop the outcome of the 3D-print. The idea of a changeable nozzle which prints diverse shapes and sizes is already applied to the current prototype. However, this leads to the problem where the time taken for the plastic to solidify plays an important role in order to obtain the desired shapes. So a cooler after the nozzle will be implemented in the next prototype. As the temperature is already adjustable in the current prototype, implementing adjustable rotational speed in the next prototype enables the plastic to be produced more consistent and more accurate.
As previously mentioned in the beginning of the blog, we are a team of five members. Our team consists of students who venture in different field of studies, architecture, industrial design engineering and maritime engineering. For the most of us, presumably, it was our first time working with such diverse group of people, with distinct mind set, ideology and ways to bring something into reality. It’s inevitable for a team to have internal conflicts and frustrations, but those weren’t enough to keep us hindered from moving on and achieving our ultimate goal.
In our team, tasks were given out at the end of every day. Everyone had their fair share of workload to deal with. Although, some of us might be more knowledgeable in certain fields, opinions from others were still taken into considerations during the process. Hence, we have learnt to value and respect everyone’s opinions as a team.
We would like to thank all the help we got from Tiwanée, Casper, Martijn and Mascha. Also thank you for reading the blog for those who were interested in our project. It was a fun project with a lot of further developments and possibilities to come. As a team we’re proud that we could be part of this project and help with the research on this type of 3D-printing.