Ryan Daugherty was born and raised in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and is a graduate of Konawaena High School. He is currently pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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.