Substances such as plastics, metals, and wax are used in 3D printers to make products and parts for larger items. Products created through the 3D printing of plastics include every-thing from toys to drones. Challenges remain in ensuring the printers create objects that are produced quickly, retain their strength, and accurately reflect the shape desired.

This object was created by the injection printing process. (Photo: UMass Lowell)

A technology called injection printing combines elements of 3D printing and injection molding, a technique through which objects are created by filling mold cavities with molten materials. The combination of the two processes increases the production rate of 3D printing, while enhancing the strength and properties of the resulting products. The innovation typically produces objects about three times faster than conventional 3D printing, which means jobs that once took about nine hours now only take three.

The process greatly improves the quality of the parts produced, making them fully dense with few cracks or voids, so they are much stronger. The new process can be used in existing 3D printers, with only new software needed to program the machine.

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