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Jetting: a class of its own

Jetting Technologies – mainly Binder and Material Jetting, although some new variations are emerging – aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been around since the 90’s – and for 2D-printing even since the 80’s.

From a technical perspective, it may seem questionable to put Binder and Material Jetting in one category: jetting binders on a layer of powder material is quite a different challenge than jetting layers of dissolved materials on top of one another. However, from a software-point of view, both technologies are quite similar. To start with: they both need instructions to fire pico-litre droplets on the right spot, at impressive speeds. That’s done through – basically – 2D-print technology, as each layer in the 3D-print is considered an individual 2D-file. Also: the file formats and even the printheads used, are usually those from 2D-printing. This expertise has been developed in-house at HYBRID Software for decades.

Parts printed with Binder Jetting Technology
Parts printed with Binder Jetting Technology prior to postprocessing

Firing a specific drop at a precise location in an xyz-volume isn’t an easy feat. Well, it could be relatively simple, if there were no other parameters involved. In the case of binder jetting, you’re confronted with an unequal substrate (powder) surface – that may be more or less absorptive and consists of smaller and larger particles mixed unpredictably uneven. As for Material Jetting, one of the challenges comes down to controlling the volume of dissolved material inside each droplet. Theoretically, at least, because it’s as yet unfeasible to control each individual droplet. So, in both cases, part of the solution is to cope with inaccuracies during the process – and counter them during the printing process (QI systems).

Of course, some of the (software) steps are equal or similar to other Additive Manufacturing process – parts need to be prepared, positioned, nested and sliced, for example. Without these basics, no part is ready for you to hit the “print” button.

Care to know more? Feel free to contact us!


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