3-D-printed smart screw: functionalization during additive fabrication

Gräbner, Daniel; Dödtmann, Simon; Dumstorff, Gerrit; Lucklum, Frieder

Integrating sensors into machine parts is a necessary step for the development of smart or intelligent components. Sensors integrated into materials such as concrete, fiber compounds, or metals are already used to measure strain, temperature, or corrosion. The integration is mostly done during fabrication, where the sensor is recast in the material during processing. However, approaches to integrate sensors into parts fabricated by additive manufacturing are still rarely found. Especially in the case of rapid prototyping, additive techniques are already substituting the machining of parts using classical technologies like cutting, drilling and milling. To characterize such 3-D-printed machine parts the direct integration of sensing elements is the next logical step. This can be done in multi-material printing by using insulating, magnetic, and conductive materials. In the case of single material printing, our idea is to integrate a sensing element during the printing process itself. As proof-of-concept, we present the functionalization of 3-D-printed screws. Strain gauges screen-printed on a 6 inline-formulaµm thick foil are interposed into the 3-D part during microstereolithography printing. We measure the torsional strain in the screw head to calculate the prestressing force in screws made from different plastic materials. We also analyze the defect effect by comparing it to screws without integrated elements.

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Gräbner, Daniel / Dödtmann, Simon / Dumstorff, Gerrit / et al: 3-D-printed smart screw: functionalization during additive fabrication. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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