Binder Jetting 3d printer: the best guide

December 2, 2023

What is Binder Jetting?

Binder jetting is an additive manufacturing (AM) process that involves the deposition of a liquid binding agent onto a powdered material layer by layer to create a three-dimensional object. It is a powder bed-based AM technique where a print head deposits the binder selectively onto the powder bed according to the desired shape of the object.

The process begins with a thin layer of powder spread uniformly on the build platform. The print head then moves over the powder bed, selectively depositing the binder onto specific areas corresponding to the cross-section of the object being printed. The binder acts as an adhesive, binding the powder particles together to form solid layers.

Once a layer is completed, the build platform lowers, and a new layer of powder is spread over the previous layer. The process is repeated, layer by layer, until the entire object is built. After the printing is complete, the object is typically subjected to post-processing steps, such as curing or sintering, to achieve the desired material properties and strength.

metal binder jetting 3d printing 2024
metal binder jetting 3d printing
Binder jet moulded parts

Binder jetting 3D printer composition

The components of a Binder Jetting 3D printer include:

  1. Build Chamber: The build chamber is the area where the printing material is placed during the printing process. It is typically made of metal or plastic and has the appropriate size and capacity to accommodate the printed object. The build chamber often features a movable build platform that allows for precise positioning and movement during printing.
  2. Print Head: The print head is a crucial component that applies the binder onto the printing material. It is typically comprised of an inkjet nozzle or a similar device that controls the spraying and distribution of the binder. The design and performance of the print head are critical for print quality and accuracy.
  3. Powder Delivery System: Binder Jetting utilizes powder materials as the printing material. The powder delivery system is responsible for transporting the powder material into the build chamber and ensuring proper powder distribution and layer thickness. This may involve powder feeders, conveying systems, and powder distribution mechanisms.
  4. Control System: The control system is the core of the entire Binder Jetting 3D printer. It typically consists of a computer and related software used to control the printing process parameters and operations. The control system guides the movement of the print head, the spraying of the binder, the movement of the build platform, and other related operations.
  5. Binder Jetting Equipment: The binder jetting equipment is the key component that applies the binder onto the powder material. It usually includes a nozzle, binder supply system, and relevant control mechanisms. The design and performance of the binder jetting equipment affect the accuracy and uniformity of binder deposition.
  6. Post-processing Equipment: After the Binder Jetting printing is completed, post-processing steps are often required to enhance the density and strength of the printed parts. Post-processing equipment may include baking ovens, sintering furnaces, surface treatment devices, etc., to complete the final part preparation process.

These components work together to achieve the printing process of a Binder Jetting 3D printer. Their design and performance determine the print quality, accuracy, and efficiency, directly impacting the final quality of the printed objects.

Why binder jetting?

Binder jetting offers several advantages that make it an attractive choice for additive manufacturing applications. Here are some key reasons why binder jetting is preferred:

  1. Speed: Binder jetting is known for its fast production speed compared to other additive manufacturing techniques. It can build parts significantly faster, allowing for efficient and cost-effective production, especially for large-scale manufacturing.
  2. Design Flexibility: Binder jetting enables the creation of complex geometries and intricate internal features that may be challenging or impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods. This design freedom opens up new possibilities for innovation and product optimization.
  3. Cost Efficiency: Binder jetting can offer cost advantages in multiple ways. The technology allows for the use of low-cost raw materials, such as metal or ceramic powders, which can be more affordable than materials used in other additive manufacturing processes. Additionally, binder jetting eliminates the need for expensive tooling, reducing upfront costs and making it economically viable for both prototyping and mass production.
  4. Scalability: Binder jetting is highly scalable, making it suitable for both small-scale production and large-volume manufacturing. The ability to print multiple parts in a single build and the fast production speeds contribute to its scalability, enabling efficient production even for high quantities.
  5. Material Versatility: Binder jetting is compatible with a wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics, and polymers. This versatility allows for the production of parts with diverse material properties, opening up applications in various industries, from aerospace and automotive to healthcare and consumer goods.
  6. Post-Processing Efficiency: Binder jetting minimizes the need for extensive post-processing steps. Since parts are supported by loose powder during printing, there is no need for complex support structures that would require additional time and effort to remove. This reduces post-processing time and labor costs associated with finishing the printed parts.
  7. Sustainability: Binder jetting can be a more sustainable manufacturing option compared to traditional methods. The technology enables the recovery and reuse of excess powder, reducing material waste. Additionally, the lack of support structures and the ability to nest parts closely during printing optimize material usage and minimize overall waste generation.

These advantages make binder jetting a compelling choice for industries seeking efficient, cost-effective, and flexible manufacturing solutions. It offers the potential to transform production processes and unlock new opportunities for design and customization.

Apple Watch case made by metal binder jet 3D printing
Drill bits made by metal binder jetting

How is binder jetting different from other additive manufacturing technologies?

Binder jetting distinguishes itself from other additive manufacturing technologies in several key ways:

  • Printing Method: In binder jetting, a liquid binding agent is selectively deposited onto a powdered material layer by layer to create the object. This is in contrast to other methods like fused deposition modeling (FDM) or stereolithography (SLA), which involve the direct melting or curing of a material to build the object.
  • Material Usage: Binder jetting can work with a wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics, and polymers. This versatility sets it apart from methods like selective laser melting (SLM) or selective laser sintering (SLS), which primarily focus on metal or plastic powders respectively.
  • Speed: Binder jetting is known for its speed compared to some other additive manufacturing techniques. It can build parts significantly faster, making it suitable for high-volume production. For example, binder jetting can be up to 100 times faster than laser powder bed fusion systems.
  • Design Freedom: Binder jetting offers high design freedom, allowing for the creation of complex geometries, intricate internal features, and channels. This sets it apart from methods like fused filament fabrication (FFF) or digital light processing (DLP), which may have limitations in achieving intricate designs or internal structures.
  • Cost Efficiency: Binder jetting can be cost-effective due to several factors. It eliminates the need for expensive tooling, reducing upfront costs. The use of low-cost raw materials, such as metal or ceramic powders, can further contribute to cost savings. Additionally, the ability to batch produce multiple parts in a single build reduces per-part costs.
  • Post-Processing Requirements: Binder jetted parts generally require less post-processing compared to other methods. Since parts are supported by loose powder during printing, there is no need for complex support structures that would require time-consuming removal. This simplifies the post-processing stage and can lead to faster turnaround times.
  • Scalability: Binder jetting is highly scalable, allowing for efficient production of both small and large quantities of parts. The ability to print multiple parts in a single build and the fast production speeds contribute to its scalability.

While each additive manufacturing technology has its own strengths and applications, binder jetting stands out for its speed, material versatility, design freedom, and cost efficiency. These unique attributes make it a valuable option for various industries seeking efficient and flexible manufacturing solutions.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Binder jetting?

Benefits of Binder jetting:

Speed: Binder jetting is known for its fast production speed compared to other additive manufacturing techniques. It can build parts significantly faster, making it suitable for high-volume production.

Design Flexibility: Binder jetting enables the creation of complex geometries and intricate internal features that may be challenging or impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods. This design freedom opens up new possibilities for innovation and product optimization.

Cost Efficiency: Binder jetting can offer cost advantages in multiple ways. It allows for the use of low-cost raw materials, such as metal or ceramic powders, which can be more affordable than materials used in other additive manufacturing processes. Additionally, binder jetting eliminates the need for expensive tooling, reducing upfront costs and making it economically viable for both prototyping and mass production.

Scalability: Binder jetting is highly scalable, making it suitable for both small-scale production and large-volume manufacturing. The ability to print multiple parts in a single build and the fast production speeds contribute to its scalability, enabling efficient production even for high quantities.

Material Versatility: Binder jetting is compatible with a wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics, and polymers. This versatility allows for the production of parts with diverse material properties, opening up applications in various industries, from aerospace and automotive to healthcare and consumer goods.

Cons of Binder jetting:

Material Limitations: While binder jetting supports a wide range of materials, certain high-performance or specialized materials may not be suitable for the process. The material options for binder jetting are continually expanding, but it may not cover the entire spectrum of materials available for other additive manufacturing technologies.

Post-Processing Requirements: Binder jetted parts typically require post-processing steps to achieve the desired material properties and strength. These post-processing steps, such as curing or sintering, may add time and cost to the manufacturing process.

Surface Finish and Resolution: The surface finish of binder jetted parts may not be as smooth as parts produced with other additive manufacturing methods, such as SLA or SLS. Additionally, the resolution or level of detail may be limited compared to technologies with higher resolution capabilities.

Mechanical Strength: While binder jetted parts can exhibit good mechanical strength, they may not always match the strength properties of parts produced with methods like selective laser melting (SLM) or direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The isotropic strength of binder jetted parts can be advantageous in some applications but may be a limitation in others where directional strength is crucial.

Material Properties: The material properties of binder jetted parts can vary depending on factors such as the type of material and post-processing methods used. It is important to carefully consider the specific material requirements for the intended application.

Binder Jetting materials

The most commonly used materials in Binder Jetting are metal powders. Here are several common types of metal powders:

Stainless steel powder: Stainless steel powder is one of the most commonly used metal powders, known for its excellent corrosion resistance and mechanical strength. Different types of stainless steel powders can be used for various applications, including automotive components, aerospace parts, and medical devices.

Titanium alloy powder: Titanium alloy powder exhibits excellent strength-to-weight ratio and high-temperature resistance. It finds widespread use in aerospace, aviation engines, and medical implants.

Aluminum alloy powder: Aluminum alloy powder is lightweight and possesses good thermal conductivity and mechanical properties, making it suitable for applications in automotive manufacturing, aerospace, and consumer goods.

Copper alloy powder: Copper alloy powder offers excellent electrical and thermal conductivity. It is commonly used in electronic devices, electrical engineering, and manufacturing.

These metal powders are mixed with a binder and selectively deposited layer by layer to form solid parts. Binder Jetting technology can accommodate a wide range of metal powders, making it an ideal choice for manufacturing complex geometric shapes and internal structures of components.

In addition to metal powders, sand powders are also commonly used in Binder Jetting for creating sand cores and molds, which are widely applied in the casting industry.

Metal Binder Jetting

Metal Binder Jetting is an additive manufacturing process that uses metal powder and a binder to create metal parts layer by layer. It is a powder bed fusion technique specifically designed for metals.

Metal Binder Jetting process

The Metal Binder Jetting process, also known as Metal 3D Printing or Metal Powder Bed Fusion, is an additive manufacturing technique used to produce metal parts with complex geometries. Here is a step-by-step overview of the Metal Binder Jetting process:

  1. Design Preparation: The first step involves preparing a digital 3D model of the desired part using computer-aided design (CAD) software. The design may include supports or other structures necessary for successful printing.
  2. Powder Bed Preparation: A thin layer of metal powder is spread uniformly across the build platform. The build platform is typically lowered by a fraction of the layer thickness to accommodate the powder layer.
  3. Binder Application: An inkjet printhead selectively deposits a liquid binder onto the powder layer, following the pattern defined by the CAD model. The binder acts as an adhesive, binding the metal powder particles together to form a green part.
  4. Layer-by-Layer Building: The build platform is lowered by the thickness of one layer, and the process is repeated. Each subsequent layer of powder is spread, and the binder is selectively applied until the entire part is built up, layer by layer.
  5. Post-Printing Treatment: Once the part is fully printed, it is typically allowed to dry and cure. The green part is fragile at this stage and requires careful handling to avoid damage.
  6. Debinding: In the debinding step, the green part is subjected to a debinding process to remove the majority of the binder material. Debinding can be achieved through various methods, such as thermal debinding or solvent debinding, depending on the specific binder used.
  7. Sintering: The debound part is then subjected to a high-temperature sintering process. Sintering involves heating the part to a temperature below its melting point, causing the metal powder particles to bond together. This results in densification, increased mechanical strength, and the elimination of remaining binder residues.
  8. Post-Processing: After sintering, the part may undergo additional post-processing steps such as heat treatment, surface finishing, or machining to achieve the desired final properties, dimensional accuracy, and surface quality.

It’s worth noting that the specific details of the Metal Binder Jetting process, including machine parameters, powder selection, binder formulation, and post-processing steps, can vary depending on the specific system and materials used.

AFS J400P Metal binder jetting 3D printer
AFS J400P Metal binder jetting 3D printer
metal binder jetting part
Metal binder jetting part

Sand Binder Jetting

Sand Binder Jetting, also known as Sand 3D Printing or Sand Powder Bed Fusion, is an additive manufacturing process that utilizes a combination of sand powder and a binder to create sand molds and cores for casting applications.

Sand Binder Jetting process

To learn more about sand 3d printers click here.

Here is a step-by-step overview of the Sand Binder Jetting process:

  1. Digital Model Preparation: The process begins with the preparation of a digital 3D model of the desired sand mold or core using computer-aided design (CAD) software. The model defines the geometry and dimensions of the final casting component.
  2. Powder Bed Preparation: A layer of sand powder is spread uniformly across the build platform. The thickness of the layer is typically determined by the specific machine and process parameters.
  3. Binder Application: An inkjet printhead selectively deposits a liquid binder onto the sand powder layer based on the pattern defined by the CAD model. The binder acts as an adhesive, binding the sand particles together to form a solid layer that corresponds to the cross-section of the mold or core.
  4. Layer-by-Layer Building: The build platform is lowered by the thickness of one layer, and the process is repeated. Each subsequent layer of sand powder is spread, and the binder is selectively applied until the entire mold or core is built up, layer by layer, following the CAD model.
  5. Post-Printing Treatment: Once the sand mold or core is fully printed, it may undergo post-printing treatments such as drying or curing to enhance its strength and stability.
Sand binder jetting part
Sand binder jetting part

Why choose AFS binder jetting 3D printer manufacturers?

Choosing AFS (Longyuan Automatic Fabrication Systems) binder jetting 3D printer manufacturers can offer several advantages. Here are some reasons why you might consider selecting AFS as your binder jetting technology provider:

  1. Famous brand:Nearly 30 years of technology accumulation in the 3D printing industry, belonging to the industry’s well-known brands, continuous and stable service to the world’s major partners.
  2. Expertise in Foundry Industry: AFS specializes in providing solutions for the foundry industry, specifically for sand casting applications. They have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the unique requirements and challenges faced by foundries. This expertise allows them to tailor their binder jetting printers specifically for foundry applications, ensuring optimized performance and results.
  3. Customization and Adaptability: AFS binder jetting 3D printers are designed with flexibility and customization in mind. They can be adapted to meet specific foundry needs, allowing for the production of complex sand molds and cores with intricate geometries. AFS printers can handle a wide range of materials, binder formulations, and build volumes, providing versatility in production capabilities.
  4. Advanced Technology and Innovation: AFS is committed to advancing binder jetting technology and staying at the forefront of innovation. They continuously invest in research and development to improve their printer systems, enhance print quality, optimize process parameters, and expand material options. Choosing AFS ensures access to cutting-edge technology and ongoing advancements in binder jetting.
  5. Integrated Workflow Solutions: AFS offers more than just 3D printers. They provide integrated workflow solutions that encompass the entire process of sand mold and core production. This includes software for CAD model preparation, material handling systems, post-processing equipment, and expertise in optimizing the entire production workflow. AFS aims to provide a comprehensive solution that streamlines and improves the efficiency of the entire foundry process.
  6. Customer Support and Service: AFS is known for its strong customer support and service. They provide assistance in setting up and calibrating the 3D printers, offer training and guidance to operators, and provide ongoing technical support. AFS values long-term partnerships with their customers and strives to ensure their success with the technology.
  7. Industry Reputation and Trust: AFS has established a solid reputation and gained the trust of the foundry industry. They have a track record of successful implementations and satisfied customers. Choosing a reputable and trusted manufacturer like AFS provides confidence in the quality and reliability of their binder jetting 3D printers.

AFS has pushed out a couple of Binder jetting 3D printers as follows:

If you want to know more about it, you can click on the link above.

What is binder jetting used for?

Binder jetting is a 3D printing technology commonly used for various applications, including:

Prototyping: Binder jetting enables the rapid creation of prototypes with complex geometries. It allows designers and engineers to quickly test and validate their designs before moving to full-scale production.

Manufacturing Tooling: Binder jetting can be used to produce molds, patterns, and tooling for various manufacturing processes, such as injection molding and metal casting. It offers a cost-effective and time-efficient method for producing custom tooling.

Small Batch Production: Binder jetting is suitable for small batch production of parts. It eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming tooling setup, making it ideal for low-volume manufacturing or customized production runs.

Architecture and Construction: Binder jetting can be employed in the construction industry to create architectural models, scaled prototypes, and intricate structural components. It allows for the efficient production of complex shapes and designs.

Art and Design: Binder jetting is utilized in the creation of artistic and decorative objects. It enables artists and designers to materialize their intricate and unique creations with ease.

Medical and Dental Applications: Binder jetting finds applications in the medical and dental fields. It can be used to produce customized medical implants, dental models, and prosthetics, providing personalized solutions for patients.

Aerospace and Automotive Industries: Binder jetting is employed in the aerospace and automotive sectors for the production of lightweight components, complex geometries, and prototypes. It offers the ability to create intricate parts with high accuracy and reduced material waste.

Education and Research: Binder jetting technology is widely used in educational institutions and research facilities to explore new possibilities in materials, design, and manufacturing processes. It allows students and researchers to experiment, innovate, and learn about additive manufacturing.

These are just a few examples of the diverse applications of binder jetting technology. Its versatility, speed, and ability to handle a wide range of materials make it a valuable tool in various industries and sectors.

Binder jetting technology outlook

Binder Jetting technology has shown significant potential and continues to evolve, with a promising outlook for the future. Here are some key aspects shaping the future of Binder Jetting:

  • Material Variety: The range of materials compatible with Binder Jetting is expanding. While metal powders have been extensively used, advancements are being made to include new materials such as ceramics, composites, and even biomaterials. This expansion in material options opens up opportunities for diverse applications across industries.
  • Improved Resolution and Accuracy: Ongoing research and development efforts are focused on improving the resolution and accuracy of Binder Jetting systems. Higher resolution and finer feature details will enable the production of more intricate and complex parts, expanding the capabilities of the technology.
  • Enhanced Mechanical Properties: Efforts are being made to enhance the mechanical properties of Binder Jetting-produced parts. This includes optimizing the sintering process, exploring new binder formulations, and improving post-processing techniques. As a result, the mechanical strength, durability, and functional properties of Binder Jetting parts are expected to continue improving.
  • Scalability and Production Volume: Binder Jetting offers the potential for high-speed and high-volume production. Manufacturers are working on optimizing the process parameters, increasing build chamber sizes, and developing multi-unit production systems to enable large-scale manufacturing of parts. This scalability will make Binder Jetting more attractive for industrial production applications.
  • Integration with Other Technologies: Binder Jetting can be integrated with other manufacturing processes to create hybrid manufacturing solutions. For example, combining Binder Jetting with CNC machining or post-process heat treatments can enhance the properties and precision of the final parts. These hybrid approaches offer increased flexibility and efficiency in production workflows.
  • Cost Reduction: As the technology matures and adoption increases, there is a drive to reduce costs associated with Binder Jetting. This includes optimizing material usage, streamlining post-processing steps, and developing more cost-effective machines and consumables. These cost reductions will make Binder Jetting more accessible to a wider range of industries and applications.
  • Industry Adoption: Binder Jetting has gained traction in various industries such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and tooling. As the technology continues to advance and demonstrate its capabilities, it is expected to see increased adoption across sectors, leading to greater acceptance and integration into traditional manufacturing processes.

Overall, Binder Jetting technology is poised for significant growth and innovation. Continued research and development efforts, coupled with advancements in material science, machine design, and process optimization, will further unlock the potential of Binder Jetting and expand its applications in the coming years.

Ready for Action?

Contact us anytime for a quick quote.
LET'S GO!
Longyuan AFS Co., Ltd. is a leading provider of 3D printing equipment and manufacturing services in China, providing high-quality R&D pilot production and rapid manufacturing services for small-lot, multi-species and complex structure metal products based on the integrated technology of "3D printing, casting, machining and inspection".

  • Email: sales@lyafs.com
  • Phone:+86 13299265105
  • Add: No 7 Yudong Road, B Area, Tianzhu Konggang Industrial Park, Shunyi District, Beijing, China.
Index