Additive manufacturing using the fused deposition modeling (FDM) allows to easily and inexpensively manufacture complex geometries using 3D printers. Typical base materials are thermoplastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Recently, the availability of 3D printers has increased significantly, enabling the widespread use of additive manufacturing by private users. In science, 3D printing allows to rapidly manufacture prototypes.
An important technical aspect of neutron science is shielding of samples, instrument components and sample environment. Shielding with neutron absorbing material greatly reduces the risk of radiation induced electronic failures during measurements or activation of components. The geometry of the required shielding often pushes the limits of traditional manufacturing techniques.
Therefore, we recently developed a 3D printable shielding material based on PLA in corporation with ColorFabb, allowing to easily manufacture complex shielding geometries. For the shielding material PLA was mixed with boron nitride in hexagonal form, creating an easy to 3D print shielding material, which can be manufactured with most commercial FDM 3D printers.
In this talk we will present the shielding qualities as well as share our experience in working with the shielding material.