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Journal of Sensors and Sensor Systems An open-access peer-reviewed journal

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J. Sens. Sens. Syst., 7, 143-151, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Regular research article
20 Mar 2018
3-D-printed smart screw: functionalization during additive fabrication
Daniel Gräbner1, Simon Dödtmann2, Gerrit Dumstorff2, and Frieder Lucklum2 1Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel-Institut Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (FWBI), 28359 Bremen, Germany
2Institute for Microsensors, -actuators and -systems (IMSAS), Microsystems Center Bremen (MCB), University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Abstract. Integrating sensors into machine parts is a necessary step for the development of smart or intelligent components. Sensors integrated into materials such as concrete, fiber compounds, or metals are already used to measure strain, temperature, or corrosion. The integration is mostly done during fabrication, where the sensor is recast in the material during processing. However, approaches to integrate sensors into parts fabricated by additive manufacturing are still rarely found. Especially in the case of rapid prototyping, additive techniques are already substituting the machining of parts using classical technologies like cutting, drilling and milling. To characterize such 3-D-printed machine parts the direct integration of sensing elements is the next logical step. This can be done in multi-material printing by using insulating, magnetic, and conductive materials. In the case of single material printing, our idea is to integrate a sensing element during the printing process itself. As proof-of-concept, we present the functionalization of 3-D-printed screws. Strain gauges screen-printed on a 6 µm thick foil are interposed into the 3-D part during microstereolithography printing. We measure the torsional strain in the screw head to calculate the prestressing force in screws made from different plastic materials. We also analyze the defect effect by comparing it to screws without integrated elements.
Citation: Gräbner, D., Dödtmann, S., Dumstorff, G., and Lucklum, F.: 3-D-printed smart screw: functionalization during additive fabrication, J. Sens. Sens. Syst., 7, 143-151,, 2018.

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We combine two modern trends in component fabrication, namely, the integration of sensors into machine parts and the 3-D-printing technology, which is rapidly emerging in the fabrication of standardized and customized components and prototypes. We present a 3-D-printed ‘smart’ screw with an integrated strain gauge. The signal of the sensor can be used to monitor the fastening process of the screw as well as the reduction in strength of the screw joint over time.
We combine two modern trends in component fabrication, namely, the integration of sensors into...