Ryan Daugherty was born and raised in Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i and is a graduate of Konawaena High School. He is currently pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where he is a Regents Scholar and a member of Pi Tau Sigma, a national honorary society for mechanical engineers. After he graduates in the spring of 2012, he hopes to work in the fields of materials science or renewable energy.

Home Island: Kona
High School:  Konawaena High School
Institute when accepted: University of Hawai’i at Manoa

System Optimization of a Self-Replicating 3D Printer for Creating Visual Model Designs
Project Site: HNu Photonics LLC
Mentor: Michael Owens, Mary Liang & Richard Puga

Project Abstract:

Communication difficulties can arise when companies attempt to explain project plans to clients who lack background knowledge. Companies often enhance their explanations with 2D graphical representations in proposals and presentations, but these methods frequently do not convey all the information that the client wants. To address this problem at HNu Photonics, we have assembled a rapid three-dimensional plastic prototyper (“3D printer”) in order to create visual models to better convey 3D products and concepts. The 3D printer is considered self-replicating because it can generate over 50% of the parts needed to build a copy of itself. This is an important quality because it significantly lowers the cost of subsequent printers if one chooses to expand printing production capacity. We have optimized the system by generating and printing calibration models that test the accuracy and the limits of the printer. We will also optimize production time and materials usage in printing residential and commercial solar installation models for company proposals. Two plastics, ABS and PLA, will be tested, and we will determine which material is best suited for generating different types of prototype models or for use in particular applications. Certain plastics are faster to produce and/or have better accuracy at certain temperatures and feed rates. Further testing and improvements could include the use of different colored plastics for better visual representation, and minimizing system vibrations in order to decrease production time.