4. Material Jetting
The material jetting additive manufacturing technology is very similar to the ones already discussed, the difference is in the material used. Here the material has to be photosensitive (to UV light) whilst in the previous technology the material was either glued by a special chemical or fused/melted by heath.
The process starts by printing on a surface a liquid resin, warmed up to 40 to 60 degrees (Celsius) in form of tiny droplets using ink-jet like nozzles. These are disposed on a line that moves over the surface. Each nozzle prints a specific material, part of that is material that can be dissolved (used to create empty spaces in the object being printed). The droplets are fused with the nearby droplets (both the one on the side that have been printed at the same time and with the one on the layer previously printed) using UV light. This layering is repeated as many times as needed to create the final object. The object is then immersed into a solvent that will get rid of the filling materials deposited to create empty space.
The use of liquid material allows a very high precision with a layer thickness as low as 0.013mm and a resolution better than 0.1mm. More evolution is expected through the use of nanoparticles in the liquid ink. This has already been used to manufacture printed electronics (printed circuits).
Additionally, this technology is being used in healthcare to print … organs.
In this case the “material” is an ink made of living cells, infrastructure material like calcium for printing bones and collagen.
The evolution in Material Jetting will lower the cost and increase speed, watch the clip.