“Multiprocess 3D printing for increasing component functionality”
Published in Science Vol. 353, Issue 6307.
Layer-by-layer deposition of materials to manufacture parts—better known as three-dimensional (3D) printing or additive manufacturing—has been flourishing as a fabrication process in the past several years and now can create complex geometries for use as models, assembly fixtures, and production molds. Increasing interest has focused on the use of this technology for direct manufacturing of production parts; however, it remains generally limited to single-material fabrication, which can limit the end-use functionality of the fabricated structures. The next generation of 3D printing will entail not only the integration of dissimilar materials but the embedding of active components in order to deliver functionality that was not possible previously. Examples could include arbitrarily shaped electronics with integrated microfluidic thermal management and intelligent prostheses custom-fit to the anatomy of a specific patient. We review the state of the art in multiprocess (or hybrid) 3D printing, in which complementary processes, both novel and traditional, are combined to advance the future of manufacturing.