What is Binder Jetting Additive Manufacturing?
Binder jetting 3D printing is a common additive manufacturing technology used to create parts. To build a part, a binder jetting 3D printer typically uses a print head to distribute liquid binder over layers of powdered binder jetting materials, like plastic or metal. After the binder is applied to the initial layer of powder, the process is repeated until the part is complete.
Metal binder jetting parts require a secondary process to achieve good mechanical properties since the as-printed parts basically consist of metal particles bound together with an adhesive. This sintering process is necessary but comes with its own set of unique challenges. Part dimensions can shrink up to 20% during sintering which leads to deformation and warping. This must be accounted for during the design process and it can be challenging to predict outcomes.
How is Liquid Metal Printing Different?
The Xerox® ElemX™ 3D printer melts aluminum wire to produce the liquid metal material, depositing tiny droplets on a build plate to form the required part drop-by-drop, layer-by-layer, as the build plate quickly maneuvers underneath the drop stream to create the shape. Once the part is finished, the build plate is removed from the printer and quickly quenched in a water tank. The thermal expansion mechanics of the different metals allows the aluminum parts to immediately release from the build plate, with no sintering, debinding, or additional steps necessary.
Advantages of Liquid Metal 3D Printing
Liquid metal 3D printing is fast, producing standard production quality parts in hours, not days or weeks. Additionally, because the Xerox® ElemX™ liquid metal 3D printer uses readily available aluminum wire instead of potentially hazardous metal powders, it helps reduce production costs and safety risks associated with powder-based 3D printing. It also allows manufacturers to produce high-quality metal parts in-house, adding to manufacturing flexibility and building business resiliency.
Contact a Xerox® representative for more information on how the Xerox® ElemX™ printer can help you meet your business goals.
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