3D printing onto unknown uneven surfaces

Nils Bausch, David P. Dawkins, Regina Frei, Susanne Klein

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Since its inception, 3D printing has seen a wide area of applications, but a general approach to printing onto unknown objects has not been tackled yet. Nowadays 3D scanning technology can be used for reverse engineering. Multiple axis machines enable the creation of object layers at diferent deposition angles, and printing on uneven surfaces is achieved by conformal printing. In this paper, a new methodology is presented, which combines 3D scanning, multiple axis 3D printing, and conformal printing to create an afordable 3D printing system, which can deposit material onto a priori unknown uneven objects. A prototype system was developed, which can print a frst layer on top of a previously unknown object. The creation of further layers is work in progress. The application areas for such a method could include repairing structures, product customization, printing security features on existing objects, adding functionality by, for example, printing antennas on items, and modifying prosthetics to fit individual patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-590
Number of pages8
Issue number21
Early online date10 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Event7th IFAC Symposium on Mechatronic Systems : Mechatronics 2016 - Loughborough, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sept 20168 Sept 2016


  • 3D printing
  • 3D scanning
  • conformal printing
  • sensors
  • robotics
  • control
  • mechatronic system


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