This video examine the additive manufacturing process called binder jetting. Review the process using a video example, examine some binder jetting produced objects, and explore important applications, advantages, and disadvantages of the technology.
- Hi, welcome back. In this process technology segment, we're going to look at something called binder jetting. Now that's a technology that'll look a lot like powder bed fusion and a lot like material jetting but it's different. In powder bed fusion, we're laying down a layer of material and we're actually applying an energy source to fuse it in place and make a solid object. In material jetting, we're laying down a layer of material and we're playing UV light again to create a solid object in place. For binder jetting, yes we're laying down that material plastic or metal in this case but we're essentially gluing it together by adding a binder and that's going to have implications for how we treat that object on the other end.
This is another one of those technologies that we can really think of as 3D printing in the sense that it has that classic printhead that's applying the binding agent. And we're going to take a look at that for plastics at least with a little video that we have. So this is a process called color jet printing. As before we're creating a 3D model using CAD and then our software is going to slice it up in order to feed it to the machine. The machine has important elements including a printhead that's actually spraying the binder down as well as a roller that's laying down layer after layer of the powder that's being fused together.
That printhead moves across the powder bed just like an inkjet printer does laying down that binder and creating the solid object. The unbound powder is what supports the overall object. Now we're going to see that in action. Note here that they're putting in a cartridge that actually contains colored binding agent. So we're going to get a colored product out and in fact as this printhead moves across the powder bed, we see those colors start to form up. Layer after layer as the powder is drawn out of the system and fed into the object until we finally have a solid object that in this case is coated with powder.
So we have to blow it off and what we see come through here is a fully colored plastic object. Now in this example, we're adding an Infiltrant that actually fills in the microscopic pores of the object because there's lots of porosity, there's lots of voids in this object. And we finished with a fully colored in this case prototype. Now we happen to have an example of one of these objects here in plastics and I think it's interesting to note a couple of things about this.
One is its complexity. It's really a beautiful object with lots of contours, lots of detail. The other thing that you can notice is all the color that's involved here and that's a function of the binding agent itself. The powder is the same, is uniform but the binding agent is what adds a color. And you can actually see that because if you look at the edges here, you can see that it's all white in there. That's the material itself. Now the other thing to note is that this is very fragile. I want to be careful not to drop it because if I do, it's going to break. And that's an attribute not just a plastics but of metals where you've done extensive work.
- Right yeah, so when the metals come out of the printer they're really fragile so-- - Why don't you take us through that process. - Sure, absolutely, so we start with the printer. This is a very small one for this technology but it's great for experimental or very small bills. And who deposit the binder, the liquid binder into the powder bed and that's how we glue the part together. We then take that powder bed and cure it in the curing oven then we center an infiltrate. So this is actually kind of where the magic happens. So here is an example of a part that has been cured but not center. So this is just glued together and it's very fragile.
So this is what happens when you actually aren't careful with your part, it will break apart. - So I could literally take that part and snap it-- - You could - in a half if I wanted to in this state. - Absolutely, it's very fragile in this state. But after that, you surround it with this thermal support, you add the infiltrant and you actually fill up those voids that are within the part that make it very weak. And the finished product is almost fully dense part like this. - Okay, so how does this infiltration actually work? We're adding metal to the metal? - Right, so we have our parts and we put some infiltrant below it and then when we heat everything up to center the part the infiltrant just wicks right up into the parts, comic magic.
- Terrific, interesting. - Yeah. - What are the big advantages and disadvantages in this process? - I would say the biggest advantage of this process is that it's pretty simple. There are a lot of steps to take but after you get the hang of it, it's not a very complex process. It's pretty reliable. It's also very inexpensive. This is a very inexpensive way to do metals. It's also very scalable so you can do very large pieces of metals with this technology and it doesn't cost that much more if you were to use SLS or electron beam melting, it would cost a lot more to do large pieces.
We can also do ceramics, we can do sand, we can actually make sand cast molds. So instead of having to make an investment mold and then break it away and put it back together in cast, we can just print the mold directly. So there's a lot of things we can do with this process. - So big applications of tooling, right, big variety of materials whether I want to use polymers, plastics or whether I want to use metals or ceramics, easy to use, relatively inexpensive but fragile parts and if we're doing metal, we've got lots of steps that we have to consider.
- What is additive manufacturing?
- Working with light-activated polymers
- Resin printing
- Modeling and extruding materials
- Fusing, melting, and sintering
- Binder jetting
- Laminating sheets
- Developing a product
- Shaping the direction of tooling
- Evolving a supply chain
- Evolving a product
- Evolving a business model