Jetted Photopolymer

Jetted photopolymer is an additive process that combines the techniques used in Inkjet Printing and Stereolithography. The method of building each layer is similar to Inkjet Printing, in that it uses an array of inkjet print heads to deposit tiny drops of build material and support material to form each layer of a part. However, as in Stereolithography, the build material is a liquid acrylate-based photopolymer that is cured by a UV lamp after each layer is deposited. For this reason, Jetted Photopolymer is sometimes referred to as Photopolymer Inkjet Printing. The advantages of this process are very good accuracy and surface finishes. However, the feature detail and material properties are not quite as good as Stereolithography. As with Inkjet Printing, the most common application of this technology is prototypes used for form and fit testing. Other applications include rapid tooling patterns, jewelry, and medical devices.

Two companies that have developed jetted photopolymer devices include Objet Geometries Ltd. and 3D Systems. The equipment designed by both companies deposits the photopolymer build material as described above, but differs in the application of support material. Objet, an Israeli company, commercialized their PolyJet technology in 2000. In the PolyJet system, the support material is also a photopolymer that is deposited from a second print head and cured by the UV lamp. This support material does not cure the same as the build material and can later be washed away with pressurized water. 3D systems commercialized their InVision systems in 2003. These jetted photopolymer devices use a separate print head to deposit a wax support material. After the part is completed, the wax is melted away.

Jetted Photopolymer
Jetted Photopolymer


Abbreviation: JP
Material type: Liquid (Photopolymer)
Materials: Thermoplastics such as Acrylic (Elastomers)
Max part size: 19.30 x 15.40 x 7.90 in.
Min feature size: 0.006 in.
Min layer thickness: 0.0006 in.
Tolerance: 0.0010 in.
Surface finish: Smooth
Build speed: Fast
Applications: Form/fit testing, Very detailed parts, Rapid tooling patterns, Presentation models, Jewelry and fine items

Disclaimer: All process specifications reflect the approximate range of a process's capabilities and should be viewed only as a guide. Actual capabilities are dependent upon the manufacturer, equipment, material, and part requirements.

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