You’re probably already aware of 3D printing and some of the basics, but for most people, the knowledge stops there. If you’re in manufacturing or another industry that utilizes 3D printing, it’s useful to know a little more about some of the features, options, and applications. PolyJet 3D printing from Stratasys offers some of the best.
What PolyJet Is
In PolyJet 3D printing, the equipment jets thousands of photopolymer droplets onto a built platform. As that happens, a UV light solidifies them. It’s fast, and it’s accurate. In fact, it’s one of the fastest and most accurate 3D printing technologies available today.
You might already be familiar with MJ (material jetting) 3D printing and think that PolyJet sounds really similar. They actually are rather similar, but there are material differences. Some are for proprietary and patent purposes, and others involve function. We’ll get to the latter soon.
For now, though, it might be helpful just to clarify that PolyJet is the name Stratasys uses for their MJ printers and that MultiJet is what 3D Systems uses for theirs. The technology is very similar; the names are different.
How PolyJet 3D Printing Works
Following is a simple explanation of how the PolyJet 3D printing process works.
A PolyJet printer has a material container, a build platform that includes an elevator, and a carriage for mounting jetting print heads and UV lights. Before printing, the operator pours photopolymer resin into the material container. The resin is then heated until it attains the desired viscosity level.
Now it’s time to start the printing process. The carriage moves across the X-axis of the build platform. As it does, the print heads jet resin droplets. Immediately after the jetting, UV lights “cure” the droplets into a solid.
Once the layer is complete, the build platform moves to a lower one, and the process resumes. Because of the multiple print heads, different materials can also be printed at the same time.
What Sets PolyJet Apart
After 3D printing, some support material remains on the parts created.
PolyJet uses dissolvable support materials. After printing, the new parts are treated with pressurized water to remove as much of the remaining support materials as possible. Then immersion in a chemical solution removes the rest, and a clean product is left behind.
By contrast, MultiJet printers have paraffin wax as a support material. The remaining support materials have to be melted away in an oven.
Removing remaining support materials is easier and more efficient with PolyJet.
Applications and Benefits of PolyJet 3D Printing
Many companies have discovered that PolyJet technology enhances workflow, saving money while delivering a high-quality, highly detailed product in a relatively short period of time.
Because of their efficiency and precision, Polyjet printers are also great for production of prototypes, where time is of the essence and lost time can easily mean lost money.
Another advantage: being able to print with different materials at the same time. This increases the complexity of geometries possible and, as in the other examples, saves time and money.
Team Up with Sustainment!
When you’re running a business, you already have enough to do. For manufacturing and other applications involving 3D printing when you don’t already have the equipment, it costs time and lost productivity to find a good PolyJet 3D printing company.
At Sustainment, we take that step out for you by connecting you with PolyJet 3D printing companies we already know and have vetted. That gives you more peace of mind and lets you focus on what you do best.