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What can ultrasonic cleaning offer the 3D printing industry?

18 January 2016

Ultrasonic cleaning is frequently used across the print business. Its gentle, quick and effective cleaning power is suitable for the delicate parts of industrial printers of every kind. However, with the advent of the far more complex 3D printer, is there a role for ultrasonic cleaning in the future of printing?

3D printing – the basics

3D printed objects are made from a digital file, created in a modelling programme on computer. The design will then be broken down into thousands of thin, 2D layers. The printer will then print each, very fine layer, which are blended together to form a solid object.

The sophistication of this technology means that potentially very delicate and complex objects can be created by simply using a 3D printer. This spans everything from practical household objects such as door hinges to driving medical engineering advances. It has even been speculated that bones, joints, cartilage and medical tools could all be created using 3D printers.

Where does ultrasonic cleaning fit in?

While 3D printing is still developing, we can still imagine how ultrasonic cleaning can play a role in supporting this burgeoning technology. The gentle power of ultrasonics could actually play a pivotal role in how 3D printed objects are cleaned. 

3D printing uses a device known as a support mould. This keeps an object stable while it is being printed and keeps all of its composite layers in place. Seems fairly simple, right? However, this support material needs to be removed once the newly printed object is dry. This is currently done by hand and takes lots of time and careful handling.

This is where ultrasonic cleaning comes in. Immersing a newly printed object in the gentle cleaning action of a bespoke ultrasonic cleaner can effectively clean the object while still protecting its integrity. This can lead to greater efficiency for the 3D printing industry as well as the ability to create increasingly complex and delicate objects without the concern that they can’t be cleaned properly.

There’s no doubt that 3D printing is set to revolutionise the printing industry and the possibilities for manufacturing worldwide. It seems that ultrasonic cleaning systems could provide the solution for the gentle but highly effective cleaning for even the most delicate 3D printed objects. 

Written by Alphasonics