Binder Jetting is a powder bed based Additive Manufacturing aka 3D Printing technology.
A binder is used to bond powder particles in the shape of the cross-sections of the model to be built. Due to a broad range of different materials possible
to be processed there is a wide range of applications. For years and years, plaster was most the common build material. Colored resin is jetted through regular inkjet printer heads to create full-color models for prototyping applications. In recent years, more and more companies developed processes to produce metal parts in a two to a three-step process using metal injection (MIM) materials.
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 the 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, the excess powder is extracted for recycling
and the part can be removed. See a video of the process here
“Sands” summarizes materials used for casting patterns and cores.
Zircon and Chromite are natural occurring sands which are being used.
But also synthetic materials such as Tungsten Carbide, Silica-Sand and
Iron-Chrome-Aluminium are commonly used.
A wide variety of metals, which are usually challenging to process with subtractive technologies, are commercially available. Nickel base alloys (Inconels), Tungsten, Cobalt-chrome, Stainless steels, Titanium…
Ceramic beads can be processed to create high-temperature stable parts.
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.
Applications for binder jetting can be found mainly in industry but
also in the end-consumer market.
Foundries are using binder jetting technologies to create casting patterns.
Binder jetting is used when it comes to very complex moulds & 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.
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