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3D printer for technical ceramics

3D ceramic printer based on microextrusion with subsequent sintering. The prototype of a 3D ceramic printer 2.0 was developed at the ZHAW in an interdisciplinary development project.

Today, there is a wide range of 3D printers for additive production of plastic and metal parts. Ceramic components are also in demand on the market, but there are only a few 3D printers that meet the high component requirements. In an interdisciplinary development project at the ZHAW, the IMPE (Institute of Material and Process Engineering) and the ZPP (Centre for Product and Process Development) were involved in the development of a first printer for 3D ceramic printers 2.0.

The printing principle is based on a combination of microextrusion and FDM fused deposition modeling. The process control and precision of the printer 2.0 has been considerably improved compared to the printer 1.0. Printing quality and speed have been significantly improved. This was achieved through the development of a new print head with a new conveying geometry, precisely controlled heat zones and new pressure control. Adjustments in the control system also made it possible to print complex geometries.
The printer is designed for multiple print heads. The conversion is to be implemented in a next printer 2.1. The printing principle also allows for further material developments, e. g. pure plastics, composites, magnetic or ferroelectric materials, etc., to be conceived. The use of commercial CIM or MIM feedstock granulates is another interesting approach.

Constructive works (ZPP)

New design and construction of the printer
Printer control
Implementation of heating, drive and pressure control systems

Material Development (IMPE)

Preparation of Al2O3, ZrO2 and SiC composites
Debinding / sintering procedure for the production of ceramics
Print parameter studies (p, T, v...)

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