Inkjet print head made with a 3D printer

This is an inkjet print head made using a RepRap. The manufacturing process is both simple and ingenious. It uses a vibrating piezo buzzer to pump printing liquid through a tiny nozzle. The red disc seen above is exactly the same diameter as the piezo that resides behind it. There is a hole offset from the center to feed ink in between the two discs. Take a look at the test footage after the break.

To make the nozzle a hole was cut in the plastic disc, then a pin inserted and the whole thing was covered with hot glue. The next step was to remove the pin and shave down the glue until the narrow aperture is open. [Adrian Bowyer] is still in the testing phase for this assembly, but once he gets the bugs worked out he plans to test it with a heating element so that it can print using wax and other materials that are liquid when hot.

[Vik] tipped us off about this one after seeing the printable transistors from the other day.


  1. adamziegler says:

    Wonder if this is controllable enough to be used as a fuel injector.

  2. Zagro says:

    any one think of trying this with a industrial print head …
    err the heated wax idea that is.

    probly wouldnt work to well remelting isues or cooling the modle.

    interesting idea tho.

  3. jtaylor says:

    I’ve had an idea but not the time to try it…could one use an old printer and two part epoxies? fill one color tank(say blue)with part A(thinned down?) and another with part B(say yellow). Then when you print in full green you will get an equal mix of both parts in one pixel….not sure if it would work.

    Maybe someone out there has a spare printer and more knowledge/time than me.

  4. gryphin says:

    @jtaylor the problem is that the resin won’t cure fast enough, so you’ll get a puddle of resin, rather than a nicely-defined piece. The current reprap works because the plastic cools almost immediately, giving it rigidity.

  5. kidcrash says:

    immediately thinks about lost wax and metal casting.
    immersion in temperature controlled liquid as layers are added or an air/liquid nozzle on the workspot.

  6. interesting idea…
    i did have a thought, those disposable lighters use a miniature piezo rod as the hv generator.
    a dozen or so hooked up in parallel driving a common pusher plate and pulse driven with 2KV or so from a cold cathode inverter transformer might be enough to make a souped up version of this.
    (Danger, high voltage!!!!)

  7. matt says:

    printable wax resist for diy pcb fab ftw!

  8. Vik says:

    If you want to do “lost wax” objects on a reprap or makerbot, just print them using clear PLA filament. This evaporates leaving no char when you bake it in a domestic oven.

    The inkjet head should be a lot smaller than existing print heads. I’m looking forward to more compact designs coming out!

  9. zzzomb says:

    Hmmmmm.. someone linking printed transistor post to diy print head. I like it!

    Related pimp:

  10. jtaylor says:

    Why not try using a faster set time resin? 5 minute epoxy might seem like a long time, but it sets to the plastic stage in 2 generally. not saying it would be perfect…but might be worth a shot at least.

  11. kabukicho2001 says:

    For education purpose, this is a “How a ink jet cartridge works” but for piezoelectric ones.Any one can tell how to hack a printer to work with a vacuum black cartridge?

  12. Vik says:

    There was a thread on inkjet cartridge drivers here:,26026,26060

    You can thin down epoxy with acetone. That might make
    it printable. Might experiment one day.

  13. Courtney says:

    Hi Mike. Would you be able to provide specs for this printhead setup? I’m interested in reproducing this.

  14. Mike says:

    Any updates on this? It seems to fall a bit short on performance or perhaps I’m doing something wrong.

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