Tethon 3D awarded means to develop ceramic/metal DLP 3D printer

Tethon 3D, a ceramic 3D printing material specialist headquartered in Nebraska, has received a grant to develop a multi-material DLP 3D printer.

The grant was awarded by the University of Nebraska, that will also provide the company with technical support. For now, the amount of the awarded grant remains undisclosed.  

Dave Rippe, director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development praised and supported the project, “The Academic Research and Development Program supports partnerships between Nebraska entrepreneurs and academic institutions, and continues to produce incredible results in terms of putting our companies on the leading-edge of innovation and enhancing their industry competitiveness,” said Rippe.

The new project will lead to the establishment of Tethon 3D’s first hardware division.

Logo of Tethon 3D, 3D printed with their proprietary raisin. Photo via Fabbaloo
Logo of Tethon 3D, 3D printed with their proprietary resin. Photo via Fabbaloo

Ceramic and metal DLP desktop 3D printer

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is a 3D printing technology which commonly uses a digital light projector to cure polymers. It’s potential however to work with cheaper metal feedstock, and produce higher resolution parts has seen increasing interest from other material categories.

Tethon 3D aims to advance the DLP technology to make it fully compatible with its proprietary ceramics and metals for 3D printing. Keran Linder, the CEO of Tethon 3D, explains: “By optimizing a DLP printer for ceramics and metals and formulating our materials specifically for this enhanced printer, the industry can produce stronger and higher resolution ceramic and metal 3D printed parts”.

The company hopes that the development of their desktop DLP 3D printer will give designers and manufacturers options to 3D print complex ceramic and metal objects in high volumes.

Technical help from the University of Nebraska’s Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering will include, engineer Bai Cui, Prahalada Rao, Ph.D.,  a 3D printer hardware expert, and Dr. Cui, an additive manufacturing ceramic expert.

A complex ceramic 3D printed object made with Tethon 3D's raisin. Photo via Fabbaloo
A complex ceramic 3D printed object made with Tethon 3D’s resin. Photo via Fabbaloo

Ceramic and metal 3D printing

Currently, metal and ceramic 3D printing is heavily employed in the aerospace industry. In June, Chinese scientists tested DLP 3D printed ceramics for off-world construction. This month, Air New Zealand partnered with Zenith Tecnica, a specialist in titanium 3D printing,  to 3D print metal parts for aircrafts.

But metal 3D printing is slowly coming to the desktop. Recently, The Virtual Foundry, a producer of metal filaments, released Filamet™, a metal filament that enables FFF/FDM printer to 3D print metal objects. In April, Markforged, a 3D printer manufacturer, shipped the first batch of their desktop 3D metal printer, Metal X.  

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Featured image shows a ceramic material 3D print. Photo via Tethon 3D