3D SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis of Additive Manufacturing of Direct and Indirect 3D printing processes: The 3D challenge: high quality at competitive production costs
3D printing is a fast evolving technology. As you know every day new technologies and production processes are developed with the goal of improving manufacturing processes, materials performance properties and reducing overall production costs.
In this fast evolving World, technologies offering added value and cost effective solutions will succeed. Some technologies have specific advantages and benefits over others, which gradually become obsolete because of their intrinsic technical or productive disadvantages.
The objective of 3Dresyns is to offer sensible and cost effective solutions to unmet market needs and develop 3D materials and functional processes for the development of safer and more ecological productive processes for achieving better overall quality and performance of functional 3D printed materials at the lowest possible costs and human impact on the environment.
“3Dresyns offers a full range of safe & functional materials with multiple properties and colors: from tough and durable to super elastic grades to non durable biodegradable materials to ensure total fulfilment of your design specifications and quality”
Printing 3D plastic materials
Direct and Indirect manufacturing of functional plastic materials can be undertaken by Stereolithography SLA and Inkjet printing, which both exhibit high resolution printing with an accuracy 5-10 times higher than Fused Deposition Modeling FDM printing.
Most of our photopolymer 3D resins are "bioplastics", which allow the direct printing of safe functional materials by Stereolithography and Inkjet printing.
Our Functional 3Dresyns are similar to the best conventional engineering plastics.They are safe for printers and final users and have high mechanical properties, which are taylored to each specific application requirements, allowing direct manufacturing of technical and functional plastic materials.
On the other hand, our 3D resins can be used in Indirect manufacturing for:
- printing durable molds for the production of simple shaped parts, as alternative to expensive metal steel or Aluminum molds manufactured by Computer Numerical Control CNC
- printing sacrificial molds for printing the production of complex shaped parts intertwined with the mold
- Resin Injection and Casting RIC, where our safest 3Dresyns RIC* are injected hot with pressure or casted by gravity in 3D printed sacrificial or durable molds.
Benefits of Resin Injection and Casting:
- unique biocompatibility, since do not contain inherently irritant low viscosity monomers which are prone to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions
- superior mechanical properties, which are extremely difficult to achieve with lower viscosity resins based on monomers, which are overall weaker in mechanical properties
- any conventional or traditional thermoplastic or thermoset "injection molding and casting resins" can be injected or casted by gravity in 3D printed sacrificial or durable molds
Our biocompatible resins have non toxic pictograms and are ultra safe for handling and final users. Our wide range of monomer free safe materials ensure the safety of the end user since the potential risk of monomer migration and absorption by the body is completely eliminated.
Printing of 3D ceramic and metal materials
3D printing of durable molds, with our Injection Molding 3Dresyns, for the manufacture of ceramics and metals of simple shapes by ceramic and metal injection molding (CIM and MIM) has the advantage of being more cost competitive than metal molds manufactured by CNC.
On the other hand, direct 3D printing of ceramics and metals with stereolithography SLA and jetting printers has presented great technological challenges and limitations in recent years. Adjusting the printing parameters for each ceramic and metal resin slurry is a slow and complex process. Opaque materials limit printing to thin layers of a few microns, such as 10-20 microns in direct 3D SLA printing of stainless steel.
Additionally, the necessary use of a relatively higher percentage of 3D resin binder c.15% by weight required to provide flow and printability at room temperature printing vs the c.5% used in high injection temperature CIM and MIM processes, slows the debinding and sintering process, making the production process too slow (7 days) vs the faster debinding of traditional CIM and MIM.
Another limitation of directly 3D printed ceramic and metal pieces is that its maximum printed thickness is c.1-2 mm. The limitation is due to microcracking caused by the high % 3D resin used in the ceramic and metal 3D resin slurries printed with stereolithography SLA and jetting printers vs traditional CIM and MIM.
The 3Dresyns team has developed sacrificial 3D resins with the aim of providing solutions to the limitations of direct printing of ceramics and metals by 3D stereolithography and jetting. Our sacrificial 3D resins allow their use as:
- water soluble binders to reduce debinding and sintering time in direct 3D printing of ceramics and metals with SLA and Jetting
- durable molds and sacrificial molds for the subsequent injection of ceramic and metal feedstocks. This indirect process has several technical and productive advantages since the use of traditional ceramic and metal feedstocks show process improvements such as:
- less risk of microcracking
- no thickness limitation
- higher debinding and sintering speed
- 100% isotropy
- improved final properties: higher density, lower microporosity of sintered materials
- durable molds are recommended for simple not intertwined shapes between the mold and the produced parts
- non durable molds are recommended for intertwined shapes between the mold and the produced parts
Example of 3D Printed water soluble coin with a low cost LCD 3D printer
Coin in water before its dissolution
Coin dissolved in water after several hours
Benefits of Indirect Manufacturing and sacrificial 3Dresyns technologies
Our water and solvent soluble 3D resins allow printing of high resolution injection molds on affordable 3D SLA, DLP, LCD and Inkjet printers. This, combined with the use of traditional ceramic and metal feedstocks, by casting (gravity) or with injection molding machines, using water or solvent sacrificial molds printed with our resins, allows the production of complex shape ceramic and metal parts with the following technical and cost benefits, compared to existing more expensive and less productive methods:
- full range of technical ceramics and metals can be cast using traditional CIM and MIM feedstocks
- higher sintering density and isotropy, as well as lower microporosity vs metal Selective Laser Sintering SLS and direct printing of ceramics and metals by SLA and jetting printing
- less productive limitations, much faster debinding and sintering times without the limitation of thickness occurring with direct ceramic and metal SLA and jetting printing
- lower costs since our soluble resins allow the printing of sacrificial or durable molds even with affordable SLA LCD printers with prices ranging from 200 to 2,000 Euros with traditional injection molding machines or by casting (using gravity for filling molds) and with traditional ceramic and metal feedstocks
"Our goal in 3D printing: any color, any material, any finish, any end use application and any SLA, DLP, LCD and Inkjet 3D printer"
"3Dresyns offers the widest range of safe functional Stereolithography SLA, DLP, LCD and Inkjet 3D resins for safe printing of functional and biocompatible materials"
“The aim of 3Dresyns is to provide the best Stereolithography and Inkjet resins and find solutions to unmet 3D printing market needs for any material, process and application”
"3Dresyns is committed to innovation and development of safe and biocompatible 3Dresyns with safe synthetic and bio based raw materials from renewable sources"