Most consumer 3D printers create objects in a process called fused deposition modeling (FDM), which involves the material being applied being forced through a nozzle heated to its melting point - the nozzle controls the material flow and is moved automatically as instructed and the model is produced layer by layer. And everything is fine until we try to print something that is to consist of different types of polymer, e.g. a different color.
Then we have to prepare for manual and multiple replacement of filament spools - if we wanted, for example, to print a striped vase or something similar, we will have to change the filament after each layer, so depending on the expected effect, even several times. This is where the programmable filament system, designed to significantly speed up such a process, comes into play. The whole thing begins with an analysis of the computer model of the object to be printed, during which it is determined which parts are to be printed from which polymers and in what order.
The system then uses a 3D printer to print a personalized filament spool, where different sections are made of different materials - this is printed as a flat spiral. What is most interesting, however, is that all parts of one color are printed first, between which there are gaps for others, gradually filled in a similar way. And although the process still requires artswww user to change the material, but only once for each color or type of material. After that, there is nothing else to do but load such a ready spool and wait for the result, because during the printing process of the target item we do not have to do absolutely anything. The system is being developed in collaboration with scientists from Japanese Meiji University, Osaka University and Texas A.