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Widely accessible, inexpensive, easy-to-use consumer 3D printers, such as desktop stereolithography (SLA) and fused-deposition modeling (FDM) systems are increasingly employed in prototyping and customizing miniaturized fluidic systems for diagnostics and research. However, these 3D printers are generally limited to printing parts made of only one material type, which limits the functionality of the microfluidic devices without additional assembly and bonding steps. Moreover, mating of different materials requires good sealing in such microfluidic devices. Here, we report methods to print hybrid structures comprising a hard, rigid component (clear polymethacrylate polymer) printed by a low-cost SLA printer, and where the first printed part is accurately mated and adhered to a second, soft, flexible component (thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer) printed by an FDM printer. The prescribed mounting and alignment of the first-printed SLA-printed hard component, and its pre-treatment and heating during the second FDM step, can produce leak-free bonds at material interfaces. To demonstrate the utility of such hybrid 3D-printing, we prototype and test three components: i) finger-actuated pump, ii) quick-connect fluid coupler, and iii) nucleic acid amplification test device with screw-type twist sealing for sample introduction.
3D-Printing; Microfluidics; Prototyping; Point-Of-Care Diagnostics; Nucleic Acid; Amplification Test
Engineering | Mechanical Engineering
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Mauk, M. G.,
Fabrication of Hard–Soft Microfluidic Devices Using Hybrid 3D Printing.