3D Printing Engineering Thermoplastics (3DPET) initiative will engender the next generation of materials, processes, and design tools for production of higher performance engineering thermoplastic composites, a unique set of materials for numerous applications.
3D printing is a class of additive manufacturing processes that builds a product through successive deposition of materials/coatings on a substrate. The distinguishing feature of 3D printing is its ability to create complex products without significant investment in application-specific tooling. Such additive manufacturing is often less expensive, less time consuming, less wasteful, and more environmentally friendly than alternative manufacturing processes such as molding or machining. The current enthusiasm rightly reflects the potential for 3D printing to rapidly empower innovation for clean energy, life sciences, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, medical devices, and others. Yet, many end-users are now realizing limitations in 3D printing that include limited materials availability, relatively low quality associated with surface finish and density, low production rates, and non-existent quality assurance.