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Researchers reduce binder jetting manufacturing times using adaptive slicing

As open-source-driven development embraces more complex AM technologies

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Slicing is an essential step for all additive manufacturing methods. In additive manufacturing, 3D solid models are usually sliced uniformly, although there are different slicing methods and adaptive slicing is one of them. Unlike uniform slicing, layer thicknesses are variable in adaptive slicing.

Adaptive slicing has been used for a long time in the FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication or Fused Deposition Modelling) method, however, it has yet to be fully tested in the binder jetting method. The reasons for this are that slicing software used for binder jetting does not allow adaptive slicing, and commercial 3D printers used are unsuitable for applying adaptive slicing.

In order to complete this deficiency, adaptive slicing was used for the first time in binder jetting in the collaborative study by researchers working at Samsun Ondokuz Mayıs University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials Engineering. They implemented adaptive slicing using an open-source 3D printer (Plan B from Ytec3D) and open-source slicing software (Slic3r).

Researchers reduce binder jetting manufacturing times using adaptive slicing as open-source-driven development embraces more complex AM
The pictures show the impeller (below) and 3D Phil (Matterhackers benchmark model) produced using adaptive slicing and VBAA. The graphics in the photographs show the variable layer thicknesses.

However, using adaptive slicing alone is not enough. Therefore, the researchers developed the variable binder amount algorithm (VBAA). VBBA is an algorithm developed for the efficient use of adaptive slicing. This algorithm is included in the software of the open-source printer. If VBAA is not used, there is a problem because the same amount of binder is sent to layers of different thicknesses. If too much binder is sent to the thin layer, the dimension expands, and the surface roughness increases; if too little binder is sent to a thick layer, the parts break. Therefore, the use of the VBAA algorithm is mandatory.

As a result of combining the binder jetting method with VBAA and adaptive slicing,  the researchers managed to reduce the manufacturing times of some parts by around 40%. In addition, with the reduction of manufacturing times, the surface roughness did not increase, and there was no change in the part density.

Researchers reduce binder jetting manufacturing times using adaptive slicing as open-source-driven development embraces more complex AM

The results of the study were published in the Rapid Prototyping Journal, one of the most respected scientific journals in the additive manufacturing field and detail in the relative article. The researchers also applied for a patent for their work, and their patent application won a bronze medal at the ISIF 2023 8th Istanbul International Invention Fair.

The pictures show the impeller and 3D Phil (Matterhackers benchmark model) produced using adaptive slicing and VBAA. The graphics in the photographs show the variable layer thicknesses. The prints in the photos are samples produced in a wide range of layer thicknesses. The layer thickness range of the models is between 0.15-0.4 mm. The VBAA algorithm enables production in such wide layer thickness ranges. In this way, production times can be reduced without deteriorating part quality.

The best part of this job is that the published work is a software study that can be used easily and quickly in all commercial binder jetting machines.

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