This video examines the additive manufacturing process called material jetting, using the example of multijet modeling (MJ). Review the MJ process using a video example, examine some MJ produced objects, and explore important applications, advantages, and disadvantages of the technology.
- Hi, welcome back. In this segment, we're going to look at a process called material jetting, and in particular, a technology called multi-jet modeling. We're lucky to have Amy with us, to help us understand the advantages and disadvantages, as well as the key applications of this technology. Now this is an interesting technology to me, at least, because it's one that actually looks like 3D printing. In this process, we've got an inkjet looking head that passes across a build platform laying down layer after layer of material, up to two materials, one of which is typically a photo polymer, so it's cured in place, the other of which is a support material.
Lays it down over and over again until we get the finished object. We've got a video that illustrates that process, beginning with the creation of a 3D model that we then slice up layer-by-layer and pass to the machine. Now here there's a variety of important elements to the system itself. We've got the build platform, on which the object rests. We've got a printhead, which looks like an inkjet printer. We've got a UV lamp that is flash-curing the photo polymer, and creating a solid object out of a liquid, and then we've got a planerizer that actually levels the material to create a nice, flat surface for the next layer.
As with other processes, then, the printhead moves back and forth, creating layer-by-layer, injecting both the actual part material and support material, often wax, where needed. The wax is used as part of the process because it makes it very easy to remove, you can just melt it away. So as I say, often it's wax that's used. Sometimes we're using other materials, it all depends on the application. If we look at this in actual production, moving away from an animation, we see multiple canisters containing both our support, and our build material.
The printhead moves back and forth, laying down layers of both support and build material. In some cases, we can use just one material, for example, wax if we're making molds for a casting process, say in jewelry, and then the part is completed. Now Amy, help us understand what the big applications for this technology are. - Right, so the most important applications for this technology are any situation where you need a high-fidelity mockup.
So we can make some really complex objects with moving parts, with really good surface finish, really good resolution and accuracy. So this is the number one technology, really, for creating mockups. - [Mark] So is the idea that when this builds, I've got wax, or some other material, that's built up in here, and then I just melt that away? - Right, so when we're printing overhanging structures, we do have to support it, and wax is one way to support it, 'cause then we can just melt it away later. - Okay, now the jewelry industry is a big user of this technology? - Absolutely, this is a great technology for creating jewelry mockups.
You can actually print wax jewelry, so that you can use that for lost-wax. Can actually print your tooling for your jewelry, and then make it from that. - Perfect. We've got some samples of materials here, how do I understand what's going on in this case? - Right, so just like your inkjet printer at home has different colors, multi-jet technology can print different material. So you can see we have a hard plastic material here on this end, and we have a squishy material here on the other end. And just like your inkjet printer at home can combine colors to make different colors, we can combine materials to make different durometers.
So we can actually tailor the stiffness of the material. So you can see here, we have a stiff material, less stiff, less stiff, and even all the way down to a very flexible material. - Okay, and then, to be clear, the color comes from the material, not injecting some other pigment into the process? - Right, so in this instance, the squishy material is the black material, and the hard material is the white material, and we just combine them to get the shades of gray in-between. - Okay, are there any big disadvantages for this technology? What are the limitations we have to think about? - Well, the number one limitation of this technology is we are using photopolymers, we are using waxes, so these aren't very good material properties.
So if you're wanting to use these parts that you've made for the long-term, this is not the process you really want to go with. - Okay, so we've got a great technology for high precision, multiple material applications. Big uses in the jewelry industry, or anywhere where I want that kind of detail, but maybe not so good for applications where I need high durability over the long haul. - Exactly.
- 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