Did you know that 3D printing is becoming more accessible and affordable?
While printing in various plastics or resin is relatively easy and inexpensive, printing in other materials can be more complex.
There are printers available for metals and even concrete, but they tend to be much more expensive compared to their plastic counterparts. However, ceramic, as a material for 3D printing, has remained a challenge. But fear not, because exciting advancements are being made in this field!
A ceramic slurry is typically used as the print media for printing on ceramic,
and then the slurry is cemented using ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
a major drawback of UV radiation is that it doesn’t permeate the slurry thoroughly,
leading to inadequate curing, particularly around support structures. This may cause issues and degrade the prints’ quality. Fortunately, a group of Jiangnan University researchers has achieved important strides by using near-infrared (NIR) light to cure ceramic patterns.
By using NIR light, the team was able to achieve better curing by allowing the energy to penetrate further into the ceramic material. This breakthrough greatly reduces or even eliminates the need for support structures during printing. The full details of this innovative method can be found in the paper published in Nature.
Although this new technology is a promising development,
it may take some time before it becomes widely available to the public.
So, if you’re eager to try your hand at 3D printing with a less exotic material, you can consider exploring metal 3D printers. These printers are attainable, provided you have some familiarity with electrochemistry.
In conclusion, while 3D printing in plastics and resin remains the most accessible and affordable option, advancements are being made to expand the possibilities. The use of NIR light for curing ceramic prints represents a significant leap forward in the field. With further research and development, we can hope to see more efficient and cost-effective methods for 3D printing with ceramics. Metal 3D printers can be a good alternative in the interim if you’re interested in investigating various materials and are willing to go into the world of electrochemistry.