Material Jetting (MJ) is a relatively new additive manufacturing technique and is one of the most similar to 2D printing. This process allows for several materials and colours to be combined. It is also sometimes known as Drop On Demand (DOD).
How Does Material Jetting Work?
It uses an Inkjet print head, that moves on the X and Y-axis. The inkjet will jet/deposit hundreds of tiny droplets of photopolymer at the desired locations. After which a UV light source that is attached to the printhead cures the polymer simultaneously. This solidifies it and creates the first layer. After the layer is completed, the build plate moves down and the process is repeated until the part is completed.
Multiple inkjet print heads that can be used, which can deposit different materials and colours on the whole print surface. This allows for areas for dissolvable support structures to be used as well.
What Material Does Material Jetting Use?
The material used has to be a photopolymer, also known as resins. However, there are many different types, with more being developed.
- Simulated plastics
- Medical grade
For a more in-depth look at the different types of resin materials, click here.
High Dimensional Accuracy
The inkjet printer head allows for very precise jetting/depositing of material and each layer can be printed to be as thin as 0.013mm. This allows for accurate features to be produced.
Good Surface Finishing
With good dimensional accuracy and high precision, this allows for the surface finishing to have a smooth surface finishing.
Fast Build Speed
As the inkjet deposits on the whole span of the X-axis. Multiple parts do not affect the build speed.
Full Colour and Multi Material
One of the most desirable features of this additive manufacturing technology is its capability to print parts with a much more desirable aesthetic.
One of the largest downsides to this technology is the machine’s high price tag. In addition to the cost of the machine, the material can easily cost from SG$400 – SG$1350 for a kg of material.
Weaker Mechanical Strength
Compared to other 3D printing technologies, the material used for Material Jetting is generally weaker. However, new resins are being developed to have improved mechanical properties.
Degradation Over Time
As this 3D printing technology uses photosensitive resin, parts that have constant exposure to heat and UV light, such as sunlight, are easily affected.
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