A laboratory-scale binder jet additive manufacturing testbed for process exploration and material development

June 01, 2021

Daniel Oropeza (1), A. John Hart (1)
The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 114, June 2021: 3459–3473. DOI: 10.1007/s00170-021-07123-1


Additive manufacturing; Binder jetting; Inkjet printing; Precision machine design


Binder jet additive manufacturing (BJAM) is capable of fabricating complex three-dimensional components from a variety of material classes. Understanding the fundamentals of BJAM, including spreading of thin layers of powder, powder-binder interactions, and post-processing is critical to develop robust process parameters for BJAM. Toward meeting these needs, this work presents the design, fabrication, and qualification of a testbed for modular, mechanized, BJAM. The testbed seeks to replicate the operating conditions of commercial AM equipment and features fully programmable motion control including powder spreading using a precision roller mechanism, powder supply via a vibrating hopper, and gantry positioning of an inkjet printhead. The inkjet deposition system allows for the use of variable nozzle diameters, the exploration of novel binder compositions, and full control of jetting parameters. Validation of the accuracy and repeatability of the machine and its subsystems, as well as the fabrication of exemplary stainless steel components, are described. The precision engineered testbed can therefore enable the study of the BJAM process, exploration of novel binder compositions, and processing of custom powders to further scientific research and industrial applicability of BJAM.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to estimate the density of the central region of a CT scan.

Author Affiliation

(1) Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA