Multi Jet Fusion is a 3D printing process that is designed to build functional prototypes and manufacture low-to-mid volume production runs of end-use parts. This technology has become one of the leading additive manufacturing technologies for industrial applications because it can quickly and consistently manufacture parts with high tensile strength, fine detail, and overall excellent material properties. This article explains how Multi Jet Fusion works and it's unique advantages.
How does HP Multi Jet Fusion technology work?
HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) uses a powder-bed fusion 3D printing process, in which small powder particles (with a size of 30 nm) are fused together with heat. To build the parts, a fine layer of powder is deposited in the build chamber. A fusing agent is applied in select areas, creating a 2-dimensional profile of the part. Next, the fusion agent is heated with infrared light, which fuses the particles together and to the layers below. An additional agent is used to define the edges of the part and ensure dimensional accuracy. When a layer is finished, another layer of powder is deposited and the process is repeated. When the part is finished, the excess powder is removed and the parts are cleaned with a bead blaster. At this point the parts are ready for use or may receive further treatment to enhance their looks or material properties. Parts may also be machined for higher precision on features like mating surfaces, holes or internal threads.
Advantages of Multi Jet Fusion
Multi Jet Fusion is ideal for building prototypes that can be used in their end-use application and for small-to-medium volume production of final parts. The materials used in Multi Jet Fusion have characteristics that make them valuable for a wide variety of applications, including biocompatibility, chemical resistance, and resistance to water and UV degradation. They are used in a wide variety of industries including automotive, aerospace, medical devices, education, electrical, and robotics.
How does HP Multi Jet Fusion compare to other 3D printing technologies?
HP MJF is most commonly compared to Select Laser Sintering, also known as SLS. Both 3D printing technologies use heat to fuse layers of fine powder layer-by-layer in a build chamber, but they differ in the way heat is applied. With SLS, a laser heats the shape of the part being manufactured, point-by-point. With MJF, infrared lights heat the whole surface in one pass.
The method of manufacturing directly affects the mechanical properties of the parts being printed and the speed of manufacturing. With SLS, the printing speed depends on how many parts are being built. A laser has to draw the surface of each model separately. This is an advantage when just only one part is printed, but with larger print volumes SLS takes longer than MJF. This also results in a higher cost for larger print volumes. With Multi Jet Fusion, the printing speed is the same no matter how many parts are being printed because the time needed to make each layer is the same. This provides a cost and speed advantage when many parts are printed at once and the whole build volume is filled. Usually, low-volume production is more cost-effective on HP printers.
Multi Jet Fusion Materials
One major advantage of Multi Jet Fusion is the ability to print a variety of materials, each with unique advantages.
Nylon Polyamide 12 (Nylon 12)
Nylon 12 is an excellent all-purpose material with properties that make it useful for a variety of applications. These include chemical resistance, water and UV resistance, and biocompatibility. Nylon 12 is the most commonly used material produced with HP Multi Jet Fusion.
Nylon 12 with glass beads (Nylon GB)
Nylon GB material is filled with 40% glass microspheres. It has all of the great material properties of Nylon 12, but the glass beads increase stiffness adn improve dimensional accuracy and reduce the possibility of warping with flat parts. Nylon GB is commonly used for thin, rigid parts such as casings and housings, fixtures and tools.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)
TPU creates durable, strong,flexible parts. It is commonly used for applications where shock absorption capacity, flexibility or energy return is required.It has many applications including car interior components, industrial tools, pipes, grippers, footwear, orthopedics and sports protection equipment.
Nylon Polyamide 11 (Nylon 11)
Nylon 11 is a strong and flexible, producing high-density parts with fine detail and high accuracy. It is biocompatible and resistant to oils and greases. It is also stable to UV light and weather, and has good elasticity and impact resistance.
Polypropylene is chemical resistant and weldable, with low moisture absorption and great mechanical properties. Polypropylene is an excellent choice for anything that needs to be light, water-tight, and durable. It is one of the most common polymers you find around the house, often used for plastic containers.
What is the Digital Manufacturing Network?
HP has established a digital manufacturing network with service providers certified as HP Multi Jet Fusion Production Professionals. The Digital Manufacturing Network (DMN) is a very select group of production-capable suppliers of Multi Jet Fusion parts, as certified by HP. HP set a standard of very high quality in printed parts that DMN members must meet for solutions engineering, production capacity, consistency, quality and repeatability of prints.
Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing with Tempus 3D
If you are looking for a local manufacturer, Tempus is one of a select few based in Canada that has been evaluated and qualified based on our end-to-end 3D printing capabilities for production at scale, as well as our manufacturing and quality processes. At Tempus 3D, our production team is fully certified in part quality optimization, and ready to support you through the prototype-through-production process quickly and cost-effectively.