Binder Jetting 3D Printing Technology

What is binder jetting 3D printing technology? How does it work and what can it be used for? Read our guide to find out.

In this article, we’ll talk about binder jetting 3D printing technology and process, i.e., binder injection. We’ll provide a description of the technology, how it works, possibilities, applications. examples of printed parts, and some of the top binder jetting 3D printers.

Let’s get started.

What is Binder Jetting Technology?

binder jet printing process

Binder Jetting (BJ) is a 3D printing technology and process that works with various types of materials. Examples of such materials are ceramics, metals and polymers.

BJ technology was developed at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1993 and then acquired by the American company Z Corporation, and later by 3D Systems. The technology is widely used in manufacturing industry in development and production.

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Photo: exone.com

As the name suggests, Binder Jetting (binder – a binder, jetting – injection, inkjet printing) involves the application of a liquid binder, just the way that ink is applied to paper in an inkjet printer.

A portion of special powder enters the 3D printer print chamber and is leveled with a roller to form a thin layer. The print head then passes over the layer, applying the binder. Finally, the next portion of the powder is applied and the process is repeated.

Using binder jetting technology, you can print with different materials, including plaster, metals, ceramics, sand, polymers, among others.

Unlike most 3D printing technologies, binder jetting allows you to create full-color models by adding dye to the binder. You can apply the dye not only to the outer layer, but also to any depth. As a result, you can make patterns that are extremely resistant to any influences.

After printing using BJ technology, the resulting products have to be post-processed. This process varies depending on the printing materials used.

Metal 3D Printing Using Binder Jetting Technology

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Metal 3D printing using binder jetting technology involves using metal powders of different compositions and a polymer binder. Through the technology, you can print parts with metal that cannot be created using traditional production methods. For instance, you can create the internal structures of a part. The structure can be of any shape or complexity.

Metal binder jetting technology makes it possible to print with a variety of metals and non-metallic materials. For instance, you can print with stainless steel, copper, Inconel, tungsten carbide, titanium, ceramics and various composites.

After printing, the parts must be treated to get the strength characteristics of an all-metal product. The common treatment process used is known as binder burning and/or sintering. In this process, the printed parts are placed in an oven and kept at specified temperature conditions.

Sintering is carried out at a temperature of 97% of the melting point of the print material. During sintering, the parts are subject to shrinkage. This issue is usually taken into account when modeling the part.

In some cases, sintering is not performed. Instead, the binder is burned out. In such a case, the model retains its dimensions and loses up to 60% of its density. The resulting voids have to be filled with bronze.

Sand 3D Printing Using Binder Jetting Technology

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Photo: sculpteo.com

Binder jetting allows you to print injection molds with sand for casting of metals, ceramics and mixed composite materials. The technology can be used to print injection molds for all kinds of products, including decorative ones. As a result, you can get full-color 3D printed models from the injection molds.

For color printing, a binder jetting 3D printer uses two printheads. One of the heads applies the binder while the other applies the ink. To increase mechanical strength, the model is sintered.

Binder jetting technology can be used to 3D print various materials, including natural sand and artificial silica. The production of sand injection molds using BJ technology allows you to obtain highly accurate models fast and at a low cost.

Binder Jetting 3D Printing Materials

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The number of materials that can be used for Binder Jetting 3D printing has increased over time. New types of raw materials are being developed. However, there are several basic powders that are most often used. These are:

Silica Sand

This material is good for 3D printing models that need to be highly resistant to high temperatures. Silica sand can achieve amazing results when casting metals into printed sand molds.

Sandstone or Plaster

3D models made of sandstone or plaster are fragile. Therefore, the materials should not be used f0r parts that have to undergo mechanical stress. Rather, they are best for printing decorative or demonstration models that will allow you to see the possibilities of full-color printing.

Other items that you can print with sandstone or plaster include visual aids for teaching, interior decor items, duplicates of works of art, and exhibits for museums.

Stainless Steel

Metal parts usually shrink during baking. As a result, their dimensions significantly change. However, if shrinkage is taken into account when designing a model, printed stainless steel parts can be applied in any area. The parts can replacing cast parts or those made with other traditional technologies.

3D printed and post-processed stainless steel models have high strength and excellent mechanical properties. Moreover, they are resistant to corrosion.

Steel products that are 3D printed without subsequent sintering or infused with bronze after the binder has burned out also have high strength. However, the strength is somewhat lower than that of all-steel metals. Moreover, the 3D printed stainless steel parts retain up to 10% porosity.

3D printed stainless steel can be used in a wide range of industries. These units stand out for their highly accurate and predictable sizes.

Wolfram Carbide

You can use Binder Jetting technology to 3D print with tungsten carbide. After post-processing the 3D printed items, they become hard.

Inconel

Inconel Binder Jetting 3D printing followed by baking results in parts with excellent mechanical strength, chemical resistance and high temperature resistance.

Pros and Cons of Binder Jetting

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Let’s summarize the pros and cons of 3D printing using Binder Jetting technology.

Pros of Binder Jetting

  • Low cost compared to other metal 3D printing processes such as DMLS, SLM or Material Jetting.
  • The ability to print full-color prototypes
  • Rich printing possibilities for internal structures
  • No deformation when printing
  • High productivity for small to medium batch production

Cons of Binder Jetting

  • High porosity compared to DMLS or SLM models. This results in models with lower mechanical strength.
  • Before heat treatment, the 3D printed part is fragile
  • The need to factor in the difference in size when printed models will shrink when baked.
  • A limited number of materials for use. There is a limited number of materials that can be used for binder jetting 3D printing compared to other 3D printing processes.

Best Binder Jetting 3D Printers

Below are some of the best binder jetting 3D printers:

1. FHZL PCM1800 3D Printer

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The FHZL PCM1800 3D Binder Jetting sand printer allows you to produce injection molds up to 1800x1000x700mm fast. This eliminates the need for a physical template. The printer can use various raw materials for casting, including steel, non-ferrous metals, aluminum and alloys.

Learn more about the FHZL PCM1800 .

2. ExOne X1 160Pro 3D Printer

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The ExOne X1 160Pro is the largest Binder Jetting metal 3D printer. The printer features the patented ExOne Triple ACT system, which provides industry-leading density and repeatability of parts. This machine can prints parts measuring up to 800 x 500 x 400 mm, i.e. 160 liters. This is more than 2.5 times the chamber volume of competing brands.

Learn more about the ExOne X1 160Pro 3D Printer .

Prints Samples Made Using Binder Jetting Technology

Below are some sample prints made using Binder Jetting technology process:

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

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Photo: ExOne

Conclusion

Binder Jetting is one of the most accurate 3D printing technologies currently available on the market. This is the preferred technology for metal printing or printing large sand molds for casting. Using the technology provides a significant competitive advantage for organization in mechanical engineering and other industries. areas.

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