A new type of Solid freeform fabrication (SFF) machine based on Automatically Programmed Tools (APT) language has been developed to construct hydrogel scaffolds and porous structures. The system comprises three servo motors, three motor drives, three appropriate optical linear encoders, digital/analogue input and output interfaces, an air pressure control system, a UV light device, a hot plate, and a nozzle with dispensing controller. In this study, the system was connected into a PC to act as a high-performance servo controller for monitoring the control of a three axis x-y-z moving arms. The printing procedures were repeated layer-by-layer to form a 3D structure. A biocompatible and thermosensitive material, PEG-PLGA-PEG triblock copolymer, has been printed by this new three-dimensional direct printing machine and the experimental results are discussed with respect to potential applications. Our novel SFF printing system has some advantages over other commercial SFF machines, which includes: 1. Changeable printing nozzles for materials with different viscosities. 2. Re-constructible system setup for different printing purposes. 3. Capability for heterogeneous printing. 4. User-friendly software development 5. Economic system design. The study of the hardware and software and their integration are described and its new heterogeneous printing algorithm is discussed for multiple purpose uses. The integrated software has been developed to link all components of the control system together and it is easy to adapt to different applications.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.