We are still at the very beginning of discovering what could be achieved with 3D printing; at a point where the introduction pf phenolic resins in a 3D printing process such as voxeljet’s can really bring along a slurry of improvements, both for sand printed objects and for the production of ceramic based molds.
Phenolic formaldahyde resins (PF) are a type of artificial, rather common polymers used in a wide variety of products (such as pool balls or circuit boards). In the new Phenolic-Direct-Binding method, introduced by large size industrial 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet at Euromold, phenolic resin binders are used to achieve a much higher level of resolution and precision in the additive manufacturing process, while also providing significant improvements in terms of stability and sand recycling.
The non toxic phenolic resin used in the process does not require the silica sand to be pre-treated, which means it can be easily returned to the sand cycle after use. It also allows for the unlimited use of untreated silica sands with different pH values and ceramic materials.
“3D printed, complicated PDB sand molds surpass even the highest expectations.”, said process engineer Dr. Florian Mögele. “The Phenolic-Direct Binding method, with its impressive accuracy and increased strength, is setting new trends, especially for complex molds with undercuts, elaborate details and very small radii.”
As Daniel Günther, Head of Research and Development, explained, temperature management plays a fundamental role in the quality of the 3D prints. ”We will now be empirically calculating the optimum parameters,” he said, “for all the large size systems to ensure the best possible quality can be achieved.” Judging by the images the company has released thus far, it looks like it will be worth the effort.