The development of self-supported electromechanical structures using Fused Deposition Modeling

Jorge Ramos-Almeida, University of Texas at El Paso


Recent research has focused on the fabrication freedom of 3D printing to create not only conceptual models but also final end-use products. In the last decade, several research groups have reported embedding electronic components and electrical interconnects into 3D printed structures during process interruptions; however, to date there is an absence of fabricated devices with electromechanical functionality for parts fabricated in a single Additive Manufacturing (AM) build sequence. ^ The focus of this research is the use of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) to manufacture a self-supported electromechanical motor. FDM is an AM process capable of building parts in a layer-by-layer fashion. A uPrint SE Plus (Stratasys, Edina, Minnesota) (a relatively low-cost FDM system), was used to manufacture an electromechanical device. Economical, out-of-the-shelf electrical and mechanical components were used to fabricate the device. A three-phase brushless direct current (DC) motor was chosen because of its easy assembly and minimal requirement of electrical and mechanical components. The motor requires electromagnets, permanent magnets (PM), an electronic speed controller, and ball bearings to function. The three-phase brushless DC motor was manufactured in a process interrupt method where pauses during fabrication were strategically place during the build for the embedding of the electrical and mechanical components. Furthermore, surfaces angled at 45-degrees from horizontal were used in the design to prevent the deposition of internal support material and prevent thermal shock of the electronic components. ^ The three-phase brushless DC motor was designed using an iteration process. The first iteration worked as a proof-of-concept while the second design contains improvements including reduction of mass, fabrication time, and size. The iteration process on the design was done to determine the performance improvements that can be achieved. Thus, the second and final iteration successfully reduced the fabrication time by 2hours (26%), mass by 60g (40%) and size by 40 cm3 (40%).^

Subject Area

Engineering, Mechanical

Recommended Citation

Ramos-Almeida, Jorge, "The development of self-supported electromechanical structures using Fused Deposition Modeling" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1559466.