Binder Jetting Process
The binder jetting process uses two materials; a powder based material and a binder. The binder acts as an adhesive between powder layers. The binder is usually in liquid form and the build material in powder form. A print head moves horizontally along the x and y axes of the machine and deposits alternating layers of the build material and the binding material. After each layer, the object being printed is lowered on its build platform.
Due to the method of binding, the material characteristics are not always suitable for structural parts and despite the relative speed of printing, additional post processing (see below) can add significant time to the overall process.
As with other powder based manufacturing methods, the object being printed is self-supported within the powder bed and is removed from the unbound powder once completed. The technology is often referred to as 3DP technology and is copyrighted under this name.
A hopper is used to deposit the build material and a thin layer of powder is created on the build platform. Subsequently a binder is jetted on the powder surface. The binder is jetted only on the cross section of the model bond the powder particles selectively. The platform is lowered by one layer thickness. The next layer of powder is applied and binder is dispensed. The binder infuses through the top layer and bonds it with the layer underneath. Layer by layer the part grows. At the end of the process excess powder is extracted for recycling and the part can be removed.
Applications for binder jetting can be found mainly in industry but
also in the end-consumer market.
- Bobbleheads for baseball marketing campaigns
- Rapid Prototyping for the industrial industry
- Models for scientific applications
- The automotive industry
Foundries are using binder jetting technologies to create casting patterns. Binder jetting is used when it comes to very complex molds & cores and when low batch numbers are needed.
Parts for mining and heavy industry
Wear resistant and/or high temperature stable parts are often used in mining and heavy industry. Lot sizes are usually low what makes binder jetting the ideal technology for such applications.
Figurines and MINI-MEs
As funny it may sound, 3D printed MINI-MEs and figurines are good business.
Fans of computer games like to have a physical replica of their game character or their virtual crafted city. The company Figurprint offers this service using high resolution Z-Corp (3D Systems) machine to create coloured miniatures.
Some couples like to have a mini replica of themselves as a wedding cake topper. Photogrammetry is used to create a high resolution 3 dimensional colored model. The Z-Corp technology is used to create the replica for the cake.
Advantages of Binder Jetting Process
- Binder jetting is a quick
- Cost effective technology
- Incredible range of material types
- Working with nearly any material that is available in powder form
- Full color parts and can be printed and is one of the strengths of binder jetting