Case Studies

3D print ceramic and metals; Complex ceramic geometries without tooling

3D print ceramic and metals; Complex ceramic geometries without tooling

3D print ceramic and metals allows for small volume parts and those with complex geometries to be produced more easily. Companies are constantly looking for ways to manufacture in a quicker and more efficient way which then enable them to work with their customers on more complex, low volume projects. By utilising new technology and techniques of 3D printing in ceramic and metals, combined with traditional processes companies are able to be more flexible in the service they can offer their customers.

One such company, Almath Crucibles Limited; a global producer and distributor of ceramic Crucible and Refractory products utilise a range of traditional processes as well as CNC machining and laser cutting, have added the Zetamix 3D printing technology which is able to build  parts, which were technically impossible to produce using traditional methods.

Almath also recognised that customers increasingly require low volume, bespoke products which would have been too costly in the past. We can now provide more customers with a suitable solution which enables the business to grow its client base.

Venturi Burner

A great example of a project that used ceramic 3D printing to produce complex ceramic geometries with out tooling is that of a company producing Venturi burners. Ceramic 3D printing a Venturi burner is the perfect example of a part which requires extreme temperature resistance and customisation. Indeed, the shape of the venturi burner will determine the performance in the oven.

Therefore, the cone angle of the venturi burner determines the size of the flame and thus the temperature and the oven atmosphere. A broad cone triggers an oxidizing flame, whereas a narrow cone produces a reducing flame. Indeed, for portable heating equipment a venturi burner is an intrinsic component. The ability to change the flames characteristic by customising the design with ceramic 3D printing is a real competitive advantage.

A fine example of a Venturi burner

Ceramic or Metal

Being more complicated to produce by regular processes than steel, alumina is not often used for this application even though it is the most suitable material. Indeed, this ceramic can withstand 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 ceramic 3D printing. Alumina made parts are not 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 work with the leading manufacturers of Additive Manufacturing equipment and as a result partner with 3D Ceram and Nanoe.

Materials

Ceramic 3D printing can use the same materials used in conventional process. So you will see it is possible to create parts in alumina, zirconia, silicon nitride which have the following properties;

  • Good mechanical strength
  • High hardness
  • Resistance to thermal shock
  • Very resistance to wear
  • Good electrical insulation
  • Resistant to corrosion; liquids, gas and abrasion
  • Biocompatible
  • Get the material properties of ceramic here.

Applications

Venturi burners are just one example of how ceramic 3d printing can be a fabulously helpful technology. Additionally, typical applications include, aerospace, aviation, investment casting, electronic, optical, medical and luxury markets. Secondly and most controversially, ceramic materials should replace many parts made of metal. Certainly, we believe is is likely these applications would benefit from the material properties of technical ceramics.

In conclusion, we specialise in the design, printing and post processing of head wearing materials including ceramic and metals. Could the materials properties of ceramic be an advantage to your next project?

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