Today, manufacturing strong magnets is no problem from a technical perspective. It is, however, difficult to produce a permanent magnet with a magnetic field of a specific pre-determined shape. That is, until now, thanks to the new solution devised at TU Wien: for the first time ever, permanent magnets can be produced using a 3D printer. TU Wien has recently produced a 3D printed magnet with exactly the right filed.
“The strength of a magnetic field is not the only factor,” says Dieter Süss, Head of the Christian-Doppler Advanced Magnetic Sensing and Materials laboratory at TU Wien. “We often require special magnetic fields, with field lines arranged in a very specific way – such as a magnetic field that is relatively constant in one direction, but which varies in strength in another direction.”
The first-ever 3D printer which can be used to produce magnetic materials, created at TU Wien. 3D printers which generate plastic structures have existed for some time, and the magnet printer functions in much the same way. The difference is that the magnet printer uses specially produced filaments of magnetic micro granulate, which is held together by a polymer binding material. The printer heats the material and applies it point by point in the desired locations using a nozzle. The result is a three-dimensional object composed of roughly 90% magnetic material and 10% plastic.