Towards digital metal additive manufacturing via high-temperature drop-on-demand jetting

Marco Simonelli, Nesma Aboulkhair, Mircea Rasa, Mark East, Chris Tuck, Ricky Wildman, Otto Salomons, Richard Hague - Centre for Additive Manufacturing, The University of Nottingham, UK / Océ – A Canon Company, the Netherlands

Drop-on-demand jetting of metals offers a fully digital manufacturing approach to surpass the limitations of the current generation powder-based additive manufacturing technologies. However, research on this topic has been restricted mainly to near-net shaping of relatively low melting temperature metals. Here it is proposed a novel approach to jet molten metals at high-temperatures (>1000 °C) to enable the direct digital additive fabrication of micro- to macro-scale objects. […] The research shows that by a careful choice of the jetting strategy and sintering treatments 3D structures of various complexity can be formed. This research paves the way towards the next generation metal additive manufacturing where various printing resolutions and multi-material capabilities could be used to obtain functional components for applications in printed electronics, medicine and the automotive sectors.

How Amira-Avizo Software is used

The 3D structures where examined using a FEI Quanta 200 3D Dual Beam FIB-SEM. The microstructure of such interfaces was studied using a FEI Tecnai F20 TEM operated at 200 kV. Porosity was characterized by X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) carried out on a Zeiss Xradia Versa XRM-500 system (voxel size 1 μm). The rendering of the porosity was performed using the software Avizo Fire 9.0.1. The comparison of the physical dimensions of example printed specimens with those of the corresponding digital models was used to assess the printing accuracy that can be achieved by this AM approach.