Abstract: Over the last three decades, a variety of additive manufacturing techniques have gradually gained maturity and will potentially play an important role in future manufacturing industries. Among them, direct ink writing has attracted significant attention from both material and tissue engineering areas, where the colloidal ink is extruded and dispensed according to a pre-designed path, usually in the X-Y plane with suitable increments in the Z direction. Undoubtedly, this way of disassembling geometries, simple or complex, can facilitate most of the printing process. However, for one extreme case, i.e. pillar arrays, the size resolution can deviate from both nozzle and design if the common way of slicing and additive manufacturing is used. Therefore, a different printing path is required – directly depositing pillars in a converse gravitational direction. This paper gives multiple examples of printing viscoelastic colloidal ceramic and metal inks uniaxially and periodically into free-standing and height-adjustable pillar arrays. It is expected to inspire the additive manufacturing community that more versatile degrees of freedom and complex printing paths, not confined within only complex shapes, can be achieved by ink-based 3D printing.

3D printing vertically: Direct ink writing free-standing pillar arrays
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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2020.01.003