Binder Jetting is a powder bed based technology.
A binder is used to bond powder particles in the
shape of the cross-sections of the model to be build.
Due to a broad range of different materials possible
to be processed  there is a wide range of applications.

How does the process work?

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. See a video of the process here

Materials

Sands
“Sands” summarises materials used for casting patterns.
Zircon and Chromite are natural occurring sands being used.
But also synthetic materials such as Tungsten Carbide, Silica-Sand and
Iron-Chrome-Aluminiumare are materials commonly processed.

Metals
All kind of metals which are usually challenging to machine with subtractive
technologies are commercial available. Nickel base alloys (Inconels), Tungsten,
Cobalt-chrome, Stainless steels ,…

Ceramics
Ceramic beads can be processed to create high temperature stable parts.

Others

Plaster is used for high resolution coloured prints.
Glas can be processed mainly for sculptures and art.
Even sugar can be processed for sweet applications.

 

Metal parts can be created in a two step process.
The binder is used just to glue the metal powder
particles together, forming a green part.
In a second step this fragile green part is placed in a furnace where
the particles are fused by sintering or infused with lower melting metal.

 

Applications

Applications for binder jetting can be found mainly in industry but
also in the end-consumer market.

Casting patterns
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.

IMG_5394cast partCasing for AERO industry cast  Aluminium cast in an mold produced via binder jetting

IMG_5393printed moldAdditively manufactured mold

 

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. [video]

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. Check it out  [link]

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