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Ultimaker applicable for small waterproof structures?

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I am a research fellow at a university clinic and want to print parts of the vascular system to analyze the flow patterns within the system.

Therefore I need to generate quite small structures (tubes down to a diameter of 0.5 mm), which need to be waterproof, because the structures should be used in a flow phantom.

I haven't decided yet which 3D-Printer I should get... - is this a task that the ultimaker can undertake? The structures (simple tube, helix, artery tree) need to be printed quite precise and absolutely need to be waterproof!

I hope you can give me some insight!


Edited by Guest

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The default nozzle diameter is 0.4mm, the smallest commonly available nozzle has a diameter of 0.25mm. So no, I don't think an FDM printer is what you need. You should probably have a look at SLA printers instead. If you're looking for something in the same price range as the Ultimakers, have a look at the Form2 from Formlabs.

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Although the UM2 could just about make these holes, the big problem would be the surfaces. A FDM printer, ( like UM ) has Z axis layers, ( ridges ) and these would affect the flow, creating very severe turbulence, especially at this scale.

As |Robert| points out, an SLA printer should give much smoother surfaces and hence reduce any turbulence to more realistic levels.

Even so, it's not going to be an easy project, you may have to consider upscaling the model.


I am sorry - I think I was a bit unclear.

The inner diameter of the tube needs to be about 0.5 / 1 mm big. The outer diameter can be as big as 5 mm.

Do you still think that such a structure is too fine for the ultimaker?


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actually with all the difficulties in printing I would recommend farming out the printing part - there are some amazing printers that tend to be owned by bureaus - not sure even the desktop resin printers would work as you would need to evacuate and cure the resin from the small tubes.

FDM and UM's are amazing, but I don't think this is the job for them - small structures tend to 'melt' and waterproof is not guaranteed - sometimes I achieve it, sometimes I don't and that is with large, sow moving 0.65mm nozzle printing where I am aiming for waterproofing above all other things.

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