Ceramics 3D printing of ceramics by material jetting
Customized inks for your ceramic components
Our many years of experience in ink development mean that we are hardly restricted in the choice of materials.
We are continuously developing the process of material jetting. In addition, we can develop new materials (including multi-material) and new processes tailored to your applications – we are always looking forward to new challenges.
What is Material Jetting?
3D Printing for Ceramics by Material Jetting is an additive manufacturing process in which a low viscosity mass (in this case an ink filled with ceramic particles) is selectively deposited by a print head. The material is printed onto a building platform and solidified there by drying within a very short time. In contrast to Binder Jetting, the building platform is printed directly instead of a powder bed. Accordingly, the component is constructed solely from the printed material. The template for the parts to be printed is provided as a CAD file, which is digitally broken down into slices with the desired layer thickness. These layer thicknesses depend on the filling level, surface tension and viscosity of the ink used, as well as on the nozzle diameter of the print head used. Typical layer thicknesses are in the range of 5 – 50 µm.
How does the 3D printing process work?
A highly filled ink with ceramic – or even metallic – particles, as well as a binder, is printed with a heatable print head. After hitting the building platform, the solvent of the ink evaporates so that only the actual ceramic with binder remains on the building platform. For drying, a heatable building platform and/or infrared emitters can be used.
The building platform is then lowered according to the layer thickness and the next layer is printed. This process is repeated until the entire component has been built up from bottom to top.
Since each layer is dried individually, the component can be removed directly from the building platform after the last layer has been printed. Debinding is usually done in one step with the sintering of the component.
After the last layer has been printed, the component must dry in powder (2 to 8 hours depending on size). Then the component can be removed from the powder bed. The loose powder can be removed with a brush and/or compressed air. This produces the so-called green body, which is only held together by the printed and cured binder.
Which inks are used in material jetting?
Usually inks filled with ceramic particles with a solids content of about 50 – 60% are used. It is important here to keep the viscosity and particle size low enough to allow the ink to be printed through very fine nozzles (approx. 25 µm). The smaller the drops, the higher the resolution and precision of the component to be printed. Heatable print heads or ink systems are usually used to reduce the viscosity. In addition to inks filled with ceramic particles, inks containing metallic particles can also be printed. Thus, multi-material components can be produced with several print heads in one manufacturing process.
All inks used by us are proprietary developments. The characterization of the inks is also carried out in our laboratory. Among other things, viscosity, surface tension and particle size distribution are examined.
advantages & disadvantages
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Material Jetting:
Advantages Binder Jetting
- High density / high strength
- Highly filled inks provide low porosity after sintering
- No post-processing necessary
- Parts can be sintered immediately after printing
- High precision possible
- Depending on the drop size
- By using different particle-filled inks, different materials can be printed next to and/or on top of each other
Disadvantages Binder Jetting
- Low process speed:
- Due to the low film thickness
- Limitations in the complexity of the geometries:
- e.g. no overhangs possible without support material