Take some of the best features of polyjet 3D printing (precision, multi-material control, scalability) and combine them with the advanced versatility and quality of metal materials: what you get is XJet‘s new Nano Metal (Particle) Jetting (Nano Metal 3D Printing) technology.
I had anticipated some of the information on this incredible new approach at metal 3D printing when I had visited the company, in Rehovot, Israel (yes, not far from the Stratasys HQ) last December. Dror Danai and Hanan Gothait had welcomed me and allowed me to witness some of the very first prints built with the machine’s first commercially available models. However everything was still shrouded in secrecy. Now the veil is off: what you see in these images is the new XJet Nano Metal (Particle) Jetting – NMJ is you like acronyms – 3D printer.
How Nano Metal 3D Printing Works
At the time Dror has also showed me a video that made the concept of NMJ clearer to me. Since XJet is also made up of some of the people that founded and led Objet I figured it had something to do with polyjet and inkejet printing. It does but of course it is also a lot more. XJet has developed a way to produce the nano particles of metal materials that is affordable. These particles are then mixed in water and continuously stirred to create a fluid mixture.
The mixture is deposited through an inkjet head on a platform at 150°. This makes the water evaporate and the nano particles stick to each other. In the case of metals such as silver, no further postprocessing is required. The parts are fully dense and the surfaces are incredibly smooth. For other tougher materials, firing up in a kiln is necessary to create the final part but this process can be automated. As is often the case, a video will explain it better than many words, so here it goes.
XJet, (find out more about the company in the Directory), has just launched a brand new website to best explain its groundbreaking technology and will be exhibiting the new machine at the upcoming Rapid show set to take place in Orlando, Florida, next May. The company has also secured new rounds of investments that we will report on in upcoming posts.
The size of the particles and the ultra-thin layers used by the NMJ 3D printer enables a new level of small details and thin walls. The XJet system’s print heads deposit an ultra-fine layer of liquid droplets which contain stochastic metal-nanoparticles. The “ink” is delivered in sealed cartridges, achieving a new level in safety and simplicity. The support material, different from the final model materials, is effortlessly removed and enables virtually any geometry to be designed.
Delivered as sealed cartridges, these materials, as well as the support materials, are loaded easily by hand into the XJet system, eliminating the need to handle metal powders. These are some of the products this technology can produce. Considering it has not even hit the market yet, it seems safe to say that a new era in metal 3D printing (and in all 3D printing) is upon us.