It has been billed as a disruptive 3D printing technology for a new era of manufacturing and HP’s patented Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology is already delivering on its promise for faster, more material-efficient and more detailed parts without compromise, compared to traditional component manufacturing techniques.
But how does it work? And what are the true benefits? Here is a quick dive into MJF and the possibilities it opens up.
How is Multi Jet Fusion different from other 3D printing techniques?
In practice, MJF produces parts in a similar way to the long-established Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology, adding sequential layers of polymer powder into a build chamber.
Like SLS technologies, the feedstock comes in the form of powder which is spread in a thin layer (of 80 microns) across the build platform before being melted in predetermined areas. Another layer of powder is added and selectively fused to the layer below, building up the part layer by layer.
The big difference is that MJF is a more advanced technique, allowing greater speed and precision in the printing process. Instead of using a laser to fuse parts, HP’s patented process jets a fusing agent onto the powder surface and uses a high-powered heat lamp to selectively fuse areas of each layer together.
What are the benefits?
The main advantage over SLS technology is speed. HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology enables production of high-quality parts up to ten times faster than other 3D printing solutions in the marketplace today, without the expected increase in cost.
Like SLS, it can produce parts in quantity within a three-dimensional build space, without needing to incorporate support structures, but parts produced with MJF have more uniform mechanical properties and greater part detail thanks to the application of a detailing agent around the edge of parts.
In addition, because it is built on decades of experience and continued investment from HP in inkjet printing, material science and imaging, MJF benefits from continued technological advancement and an ever-broadening material portfolio.
What are the possibilities?
Bowman 3D uses MFJ technology to print in mostly PA11, although PA12, PA12 GB (glass filled) and TPU are also supplied. Standard finishes include natural, dyed, vibro polished, or a combination of both, while bespoke painted finishes and coatings are also available.
The general tolerance for parts in PA11 is +/- 0.3mm or 0.3% (whichever is greater), but the reality is that for most smaller parts, significantly better tolerances can be achieved.
Part sizes are limited by the dimensions of the build volume: 380mm x 284mm x 380mm. However, it is possible to exceed one of these dimensions by orientating the part appropriately in the build. We can also help to split large parts into smaller assemblies.
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