Large-format 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet, which recently introduced its production-level high-speed sintering process, has announced the release of another new 3D printing process, a modified version of its existing PolyPor processes used for making investment casting patterns: PolyPor C2 (PPC²), an advanced PMMA material process for plastic 3D printing. The new, higher resolution process will help users get better investment casting outcomes.
“Our new PPC2 process will be initially offered on our VX200 system. It is an affordable entry into 3D printing for investment casting foundries with an efficient part production for commercial castings such as turbine impellers and turbine blades,” said voxeljet CEO Dr. Ingo Ederer. “Thanks to our binder jetting technology, no additional support structures are needed. By means of this, precious build space can be used most efficiently by building parts stacked on top of each other.”
Impeller 3Dprinted using PPC²
PMMA is a highly dense plastic material based on acrylics. Last year, Additive Elements developed the PMMA material system for use with voxeljet’s 3D printers – the system is made up of a binder, mixed together with additives, that will polymerize together once the building process is complete, resulting in the creation of extremely dense parts.
Models that are 3D printed using the company’s new PPC2 process will have an increased resolution overall, when compared to models made with current processes for PMMA material. In addition, 3D printed models made with PPC2 will be able to be printed at a lower layer thickness of 100 μm, giving them clearer edges and a higher surface quality; this is due to a finer PMMA particulate material (37 μm).
Nested turbine impellers, ready for printing
We often see investment casting and 3D printing processes combined with each other. Investment casting patterns need to be very detailed, which means that the 3D printed models for these patterns need to be detailed. Luckily, the productive and economical PPC2 process from voxeljet delivers this high level of detail, through a combination of reduced layer thickness and grain size and a high definition print head. Even better, there is hardly any residual ash caused by the material set.
“By using our new and improved binder, we expect our industrial print heads to have an increased lifetime at a high and consistent printing quality level,” explained Tobias Gruen, Project Manager for voxeljet. “Moreover, the unbound PMMA powder can be reused and recycled for forthcoming printing jobs, which ensures efficient material usage.”
Casted impeller comparison of PolyPor B (PPB) and PolyPor C² (PPC²)
The company’s new PPC² process will be officially released and demonstrated later this month at the 64th Technical Conference and Equipment Expo, also called ICI 2017. The investment casting conference will be held in Covington, Kentucky from October 15th to the 18th. If you just can’t wait that long to see it, you can now also order benchmark parts of the new PPC² process from voxeljet America in Michigan, as well as from voxeljet’s German headquarters.