What Material Jetting is

Material jetting [1].

Material jetting is a process that combines 2D inkjet printing and stereolithography (SLA). The material, a photoreactive resin, is heated to obtain the needed viscosity for printing. Then, the print head moves horizontally and shoots hundreds of micro-droplets of material onto the build platform [1]. This can be continuous or drop by drop process [1]. These droplets form a layer that is solidified by cooling, UV-light curing, or by evaporating the liquid part of the material via an infrared laser [1]. The build platform lowers as more material is deposited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Process

 

  1. The print head is positioned above the build platform. Material is deposited in droplets from the print head onto the surface.
  2. The droplets of material solidify, and this repeats until the model is complete.
  3. When the model is complete, the layers are cured by UV light.

Curing Process

In the liquid resins, there are UV photo-curable resins. The curing process is completed using UV rays. One of the most common build material for material jetting is polymers in the form of liquid resins [3]. This is due to the advantage of using the UV photo-curable resins that do not need extra post-processing steps [3].


Materials

Materials include polymers in the form of liquid resins, plastics, and metal [1]. Polymers include polypropylene, HDPE, PS, PMMA, PC, ABS, HIPS, EDP [2].


Equipment Used Today


Applications

Material jetting 3D printing technology has applications in making realistic prototypes. The process provides an excellent level of detail, high accuracy, and a smooth surface finish [3]. Material jetting allows a designer to print a design in multiple colors and with a number of materials in a single print.  [3]


Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Each printhead can store a different colored material, allowing multi-material and multi-color parts to be used simultaneously [1]
  • Very high accuracy [1]
  • Smooth finishes [1]
  • Low waste due to the deposition of droplets [2]

Cons:

  • High equipment cost [1]
  • Support material is often required [2]
  • UV activated photopolymers lose mechanical properties over time and can become brittle [3]

Video Demonstration of the Material Jetting Process

GrafEngin. (2016). material jetting. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8n6FBKgY2g. (12/29/20).



References

[1] https://all3dp.com/2/main-types-additive-manufacturing/

[2] https://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/amrg/about/the7categoriesofadditivemanufacturing/materialjetting/

[3] https://make.3dexperience.3ds.com/processes/material-jetting

 

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