Jun 17, 2022

Why Choose An Admaflex 300 Ceramic and Metal 3D Printer?

Over 12 Million Pixels Per Layer

Admaflex 300 Ceramic and Metal 3D Printer
The Admaflex 300 Ceramic and Metal 3D Printer

The Admaflex 300 offers more than 12 million pixels per single layer, dramatically increasing the throughput and efficiency in high accurate technical ceramic and metal 3D printing.

Since the invention of the Admaflex Lithography based Additive Manufacturing in 2013, many technological improvements have become available, allowing ceramic and metal printing on one machine and higher resolutions. Current state of the art light engines suitable for ceramic and metal printing have projectors using 2560×1600 pixels. When working with a pixel resolution of 40 µm, this results in a build platform size or projection area of 102×64 mm.

The Admaflex 300 is currently available with a pixel resolution of 40 µm and projection size of 202×102 mm, meaning more than 12 million pixels per single layer, dramatically increasing the throughput and efficiency in highly accurate technical ceramic and metal 3D printing.

Why select lithography based 3D printing for technical ceramics and metals?

3D printed calcium phosphate bio ceramic medical implants, printed with pixel resolution of 50 µm, courtesy Sichuan University

Technical ceramics are used when other materials fail, because of limited hardness, corrosion resistance or temperature resistance. To shape technical ceramics, there are several solutions, such as pressing, which has limited design freedom, or injection molding which requires the production of a mold.

Ceramic and metal 3D printing can offer solutions to produce complex shapes directly from a CAD file, without the need of a mold, with comparable material properties as traditionally produced ceramics, when using the appropriate 3D printing technology, materials and furnaces.

Compared with direct laser based printing techniques, lithography-based ceramic and metal printing allows the finest details and highest resolution. After sintering, smooth and stress-free end-use parts are obtained which usually do not require post-processing. The postprocessing equipment is comparable as for CIM and MIM green parts, which makes the technology relatively easy to implement.

Applications for technical metal and ceramic 3d printing

3D printed high performance ceramic and stress-free sintered metal parts are used in many applications, such as (nuclear) energy, aviation, aerospace, defense, medical tools, R&D, catalysis, refractories, chemical industry, electronics, semiconductor, CO2 capture, refractories, aesthetics, jewelry and watches, opto-mechatronics, and many more. Next to the full dense ceramics, also porous ceramics are available, such as bonelike materials for patient specific medical implants and leachable ceramics to produce ceramic cores and shells for investment casting.

Why use slurry-based 3D printing?

3D printed ceramic gearwheel and copper rateau, printed with pixel resolution of 50 µm, courtesy Formatec for molded zirconia watchcase

If the aim is to have full dense technical ceramic products with high strength and smooth surfaces, ceramic particles with very small grain sizes are needed, as these allow full densification during sintering.

Very fine powders cannot be processed safely in a dry powder bed, however a proven solution is to work with pastes or slurries.

By using slurries consisting of highly ceramic filled UV sensitive resins, 3D printing is possible with high resolutions (<50 µm) and after postprocessing in debinding and sintering furnaces, high quality parts can be obtained.

Why select DLP 3D printing?

When printing ceramics and metals, a printing system is needed which can handle high viscosity slurries without risk of sedimentation. In 2013, Admatec developed a innovative new printing technology which combines tape casting (for slurry depositing) with Digital Light Processing (UV curing using stereo lithography) to produce ceramic parts.

Since the introduction of the Admaflex 130 printer in 2016, many machines using this Admaflex technology have been delivered worldwide, at renowned ceramic and metal parts producers, 3D printing contract manufacturers, Universities and governmental labs, who have proven the ability to shape and sinter high quality ceramic and metal parts with excellent material properties and narrow tolerances, typically using high resolutions between 40 and 50 µm.

3D printed zirconia Fluid Break for nuclear applications, printed with pixel resolution of 50 µm, courtesy Hilgenberg Ceramics GmbH

Should you purchase one Admaflex 300 or three Admaflex 130 3D printers?

On average, the investment for an Admaflex 300 is only 50% more than the smaller Admaflex 130. If your aim is R&D and material development with the smallest amount of material, the Admaflex 130 is likely the best solution for you. If you plan to scale up to maximum productivity, the Admaflex 300 will be the most economical solution, with more than 3 times the production output of a smaller machine with 102×64 mm platform.

If you are interested in the Admaflex 300, but you can’t justify the cost at this time, contact our sales team and we will discuss options for a smaller, up-front investment with a future upgrade path for higher volume.

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