Three-dimensional (3D) printing of microscale structures with high-resolution (submicron) and low-cost is still a challenging work for the existing 3D printing techniques. Here, we report a direct writing process via near-field melt electrospinning (NFME) to achieve microscale printing of single filament wall structures. The process allows continuous direct writing due to the linear and stable jet trajectory in the electric near field. The layer-by-layer stacking of fibers, or self-assembly effect, is attributed to the attraction force from the molten deposited fibers and accumulated negative charges. We demonstrated successful printing of various 3D thin-wall structures with a minimal wall thickness less than 5 μm. By optimizing the process parameters of NFME, ultrafine poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fibers have been stably generated and precisely stacked and fused into 3D thin-wall structures with an aspect ratio of more than 60. It is envisioned that the NFME can be transformed into a viable high-resolution and low-cost microscale 3D printing technology.
- 3D printing
- Melt electrospinning
- Near-field electrospinning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Mechanics of Materials
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering