New 3D Printing Method Can Produce Magnetic Parts - Including Heart Pumps

Not only are artificial heart pumps geometrically complex products to 3D print, they also contain magnets. Research on 3D printing with magnets is still in its very early stages. Doctoral student Kai von Petersdorff-Campen from ETH Zurich has successfully printed one of the first heart pump prototypes with magnetic components manufactured using 3D printing. He calls the new method "embedded magnet printing." The key is to ensure that the magnets are printed directly in the plastic. Magnetic powder and plastic are mixed before printing and processed into strands. These go through the 3D printer, which processes them in a similar way to conventional 3D printing. The printed piece is magnetized in an external field. The potential for 3D printing magnetic components is huge: they are a key component in electric motors, from a computer’s hard drive to loudspeakers and microwaves.