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Can you 3D print ceramics

Can you 3D print ceramics

Can you 3D print ceramics? Yes of course you can. In fact, it has been possible for the last ten years or so. The process is growing in popularity as more materials and printers become even more accessible.

This market is growing quickly and is expected to grow even more in the future. Materials range from from Porcelain, Hydroxyapatite, Alumina and Zirconia. Ceramic for very specialised applications include Silicon Carbide 3D printing, Silicon Nitride (Si3N4), Aluminum Nitride (AlNi) and Silicore.

3D printing ceramic materials provides some real advantages. Firstly for tool free manufacturing. Secondly, the unique material properties of ceramic material allow for new and exciting developments. 

Can you 3d print ceramics?

In the last decade there have been many developments of manufacturing ceramic materials. 3DCeram is the leading manufacturer of this equipment. They came to the market early with a product they had developed for work they were doing as a service provider.

Material Properties

Our ceramic 3D printers can use the same materials used in conventional process. So you will see it is possible to create fine detail parts in ceramic which have the following properties;

  • Good mechanical strength
  • High hardness
  • Resistance to thermal shock
  • Very resistance to wear and high temperature
  • Good electrical insulation
  • Resistant to corrosion; liquids, gas and abrasion
  • Biocompatible
  • Review the material properties of ceramics used in our printers by visiting our materials guide.

Applications

Firstly, typical applications include, aerospace defense, aviation, investment casting, electronic, optical, medical and luxury markets. Secondly ceramic materials should replace many parts made of metal.

Certainly, we believe it is likely these applications would benefit from the material properties of technical ceramics. If you would like to discuss a project where the material properties of ceramic could help please get in touch.

A real Case Study

A great example of this is a company using a ceramic 3D printer for the development of their Venturi burner products. 3D printing a Venturi burner is the perfect example of a part which requires extreme temperature resistance with a ‘fresh’ design. Indeed, the shape of the venturi burner will determine the performance in the oven. The 3D printing process allows for greater freedom of design and allows for ‘all shapes and sizes’!

The cone design of the venturi burner determines the size of the flame and thus the temperature and the oven atmosphere. A broad cone triggers the perfect flame, whereas a narrow cone reduces it. Indeed, for heating equipment a venturi burner is an important feature. The ability to change the flame with a modern design is a real competitive advantage

Another interesting article on how a customer has used this technology to produce foundry filters.

Ceramic or Metal

In the past ceramic has been more complicated to produce than steel. So ceramic was often not used for many applications even though it is the most suitable material. Indeed, this ceramic can cope with temperatures up to 1500°C. 

Moreover, it’s wear and corrosion resistance is higher than that of metal, prolonging the useful life of the part. Importantly, the internal channels of a venturi burner are quite complex to produce using conventional ceramic manufacturing processes.

Thus, making a custom designed venturi burner in ceramic impossible without 3D printing. Now ceramic parts are no longer more complicated than other materials to produce. 3D printing makes it possible to print internal channels, hollowed out parts as well as overhangs. Moreover, by internalising the process, producing a part requires less than a week offering great flexibility to designers.

3D Matters have searched the market for the best fully functional and proven capable technologies. It is for this reason that we are proud to provide the best 3D printers on the market. So we only work with the leading manufacturers of Additive Manufacturing. We are keen to work with customers to enhance and develop the 3D printing ceramics market.

In conclusion, we specialise in the design, printing and post processing of head wearing materials including ceramic and metals. Could a ceramic 3D printer be something your organisation needs? Could for example 3D printed zirconia and alumina filaments be an advantage to your next project? In the first instance we might be able to help you get your parts using our 3D printing service.

For more information on which is the best process refer to our FDM vs SLA comparison

Have a project similar to this?

We’re always happy to discuss potential new projects and ideas. Get in touch, either via email or phone and we can help make your idea a reality.

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