Sep 10, 2018

Tethon 3D to Develop Ceramic and Metal DLP Desktop 3D Printer for End-Use Parts

Using a grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Tethon 3D aims to launch its first 3D printer. Developed specifically for specialty ceramic and metal resins the DLP machine is the first step in the establishing of a whole new hardware division from the company.

Tethon 3D is well known for its resin-based materials. The range includes metals and ceramics which are compatible with many desktop DLP printers. However, the company is now working on bringing a 3D printer of its own to the masses.

This printer will be the first commercially available desktop DLP printer designed for ceramic and metal 3D printing.

The firm has received a grant from Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development to develop this printer. Interestingly, it has actually been eyeing just such a printer for some years, holding a patent for ceramic binder jetting since before commencing operations in 2014.

CEO, Karen Linder explains: “Continued momentum and progress in ceramic and metal additive manufacturing is currently limited by hardware performance. We have material customers in over 40 countries, so we know users recognize the value of the physical properties of ceramics and metals, but there isn’t a desktop DLP printer available that is designed specifically for use with these materials… By launching a printer with improved features to accommodate ceramics and metals, we can perform end part manufacturing at a reasonable cost. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, we choose to launch a ceramic and metal desktop DLP printer not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”

3D Printing Functional End Use Metal or Ceramic Parts

In order to complete this hard task, Tethon 3D is working with Bai Cui Ph.D. and Prahalada Rao Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. Their expertise lies in ceramic materials for additive manufacturing and 3D printing hardware.

As Tethon 3D’s materials have always been compatible with various desktop 3D printers, the company explains that this won’t change. Greg Pugh, Director of Technical Operations, said:

“We will continue to offer Tethon 3D materials that are compatible with a variety of hardware platforms. But by designing a printer optimized for ceramics and metals, it will allow Tethon to formulate its materials to be completely aligned with the printer settings of our own printer.”

However, its new 3D printer will be useful for creating functional end-use ceramic and metal parts. The company chose to develop a desktop 3D printer first for the cost, timeframe for production and market feedback benefits.

If this product launch is successful, the company will explore whether other system sizes are worth manufacturing.

“The ultimate outcome is the opportunity for users to print objects that are currently impossible to fabricate. So, this is not simply a Tethon strategy. We consider this to be a strategy we share with the entire ceramics additive manufacturing industry,” said Trent Allen, Director of Business Development.

Source: tct Magazine

License: The text of "Tethon 3D to Develop Ceramic and Metal DLP Desktop 3D Printer for End-Use Parts" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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