3D Printing in the IEL
Integration Engineering Laboratory
University of California, Davis

The Integration Engineering Laboratory recently purchased a uPring SE Plus 3D Printer from Stratasys The SE Plus has a larger build envelope compared to other available 3D printers and has a two layer thickness option for faster printing. Additionally, The SE Plus uses fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology to build more accurate, durable, and stable models. The dual material bay at the bottom allows for more interrupted print time so that those of us working in the lab can multitask with other projects.

We use the printer to build our robots and robot attachments. The process begins by designing a CAD model of the part using Autodesk Inventor. When the part is fully designed, the file is exported to the printer software. Once the part is opened in the printer software and place on virtual tray, printing begins. It takes approximately one work-day to completely print a part. As the model is being printed, a support structure is printed as well to help maintain the integrity of the part as the plastic cools.

Each part is created in the lab from its virtual model to the tangible object itself. This would not be possible without the 3D printer. Having the ability to fully model and create robot elements through our production cycle allows for the highest levels of creativity and innovation.