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Im workign on the concept of the 3D printer.

Everywhere i see, there is a powder (vinyl compund), and in the inkcartriges there is a binder.

Then the 2 combine it solidifys.

There will be a thin layer of powder to start with, then the printer would printer the 1st layer, the powder and binder will mix, hardening that layer, and then another thin layer would roll on ect ect....

I was wondering, what can be the powder? How would i go abotu making it, or where could i buy it?
same with the binder....
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No idea, in the exhibition section there are some 3D printers demo-ed and you could contact the makers ...
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According to wikipedia's 3d printing page, Z-corporation (acquired by 3d systems) use the method you describe. The domestic systems (reprap, makerbot) just melt plastic filament to make their objects. What are you trying to do?
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According to wikipedia's 3d printing page, Z-corporation (acquired by 3d systems) use the method you describe. The domestic systems (reprap, makerbot) just melt plastic filament to make their objects. What are you trying to do?
use zcorps method seeing how it produces cleaner models and easier to produce.

Im curious about a strong plastic powder and binder
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According to wikipedia's 3d printing page, Z-corporation (acquired by 3d systems) use the method you describe. The domestic systems (reprap, makerbot) just melt plastic filament to make their objects. What are you trying to do?
use zcorps method seeing how it produces cleaner models and easier to produce.

Im curious about a strong plastic powder and binder

The powder is likely fairly easy - probably just white (ie - uncolored) toner, or some other kind of fine plastic powder (I've also read about people using cake flour and wood flour).

The liquid binder, though, isn't as easy to find information on. I first thought it might be superglue of some sort, but that turned out not to be true (although I did read that some systems use cyanacrylate glues, like superglue, as an "after-printing" infusion to strengthen the models printed). The information on the liquid binder seems to be lacking; I would think it would be some kind of either air-drying solvent, or something like cyanacrylate.

Now here's an interesting thought: What if you built this kind of system, but used standard black toner (nasty stuff, to be certain!), and for the "print head", you used a focused, somewhat high-wattage red or IR laser? There's an instructable (or Make?) article out there of a guy who used CD drive parts to make an el-cheapo laser cutter (I think he used a DVD writer laser), so the amount of heat to melt the toner should be achievable...

This isn't the project I was thinking about (one among many, though) - but it gives an idea:

http://hackteria.org/wiki/index.php/DIY_Micro_Laser_Cutter

So - sweep a thin layer of toner, scan the laser "fuser" head for the layer, drop down layer, sweep another layer of toner, fuse, etc...
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If you wanted to do heat fusing you could use powder coating powder instead of toner. This can be purchased around $15/lb. and even less in bulk. Any color you want smiley
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If you wanted to do heat fusing you could use powder coating powder instead of toner. This can be purchased around $15/lb. and even less in bulk. Any color you want smiley


Never looked at powder coat - is it a plastic (in particular - a thermoset plastic)? For some reason I had it in my mind that it was metal of some sort...

If so - that would pretty nice, especially if it is a fine powder (toner is a very fine powder - and not something you want to inhale); the powder would have to be of a particular granularity to avoid scattering the light too much.

...and color is important here; I specifically mentioned black as it would absorb infra-red/red laser frequencies (as used in DVD burners) best. Other colors could be tried, but white (or other light colors) probably wouldn't work as well (if at all) due to reflection.

Still - this seems like a particularly interesting method/idea that I hope will be followed up on by the DIY 3D printing community (if they aren't already experimenting in this direction). I wish I had the time to try it myself (I'm a one-project-at-a-time guy - no time for this one).

Beyond this - so far the most interesting method of homebrew 3D printing I have seen has been a homemade photopolymerization printer:

http://3dhomemade.blogspot.com/

Check out the detail that guy is getting! The setup is really simple, too - using only a fine-pitch Z-axis actuator, some kind of "rocker" actuator to "break" the last layer away from the "stage", and a glass "stage" in which a pool of the photopolymer sits, with a high-resolution projector mounted and focused below (his rig could probably go to even higher resolutions if he could procure a black-and-white only projector - that or mod a DLP projector to get rid of the color wheel, and use custom software to split the R/G/B channels properly for the layer).

His main issue from a cost standpoint, though, has been that the cost of the photopolymer is anything but inexpensive...
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Never looked at powder coat - is it a plastic (in particular - a thermoset plastic)? For some reason I had it in my mind that it was metal of some sort...

If so - that would pretty nice, especially if it is a fine powder (toner is a very fine powder - and not something you want to inhale); the powder would have to be of a particular granularity to avoid scattering the light too much.

Yeah it's a plastic, and extremely fine -- normally you'd use an electrostatic charge on the object you're coating if that gives you any indication. In a DIY fashion you can bake it on in an oven or even use halogen lamps. www.caswellplating.com is a good place to check out if you want to see what's available.
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thanks, although i dont know which will provide better qulaity, a laser or inkjet?
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thanks, although i dont know which will provide better qulaity, a laser or inkjet?

Laser or inkjet "what"?
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different types of powderbed 3d printing
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different types of powderbed 3d printing

I really don't know - I would think that laser would have better quality, because I have read comments about "spread" of the liquid binder in the powderbed for "inkjet" method. Then again, using a laser to melt/fuse the powder in the powderbed might have its own issues.

If I were building a homebrew system, though, I would personally go for the laser (or focused LED) system - why?

Because first there are already homebrew small laser (and LED) cutters (as I have referenced) that have shown it is possible to melt/cut thin plastics with minimal (and basic, off the shelf) parts. Secondly, the powder is likely easy and cheap to get (powdercoat powder, or possibly bulk toner powder - it would all depend on whether powdercoat powder is a thermopolymer and will melt using heat; toner definitely will) - both powdercoat powder and bulk toner is readily available from a variety of sources. Thirdly, you don't have to worry about finding a source (or even figuring out what it is) for the "liquid binder" - not too mention the need for post-processing infusion of other binders/glues to strengthen the model. Finally, building a focused optical head might be a simpler proposition than some kind of binder squirter (as well as trying to keep such a print head clear and free of obstruction, such as the binder itself).

The only downside of a laser system is that you couldn't easily use it to make edibles (although - I wonder - what if you could carmelize powdered sugar or something similar - probably would require a higher power laser/LED, though).

Hmm - also note that you could use a focused halogen light - if you really wanted/needed higher output for an optical system...

smiley-grin
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Take a look at the very excellent work done by the Open3DP group at the Univ. of Washington.  They've done a lot of research into both FDM type systems (Makerbot, Prusa Mendel) as well as powder based systems (ZCorp).

The ZCorp formulas have been pretty exhaustively reverse engineered.  The necessary components to build an open sourced ZCorp-like printer already exists - the ink shield, motor drivers, etc.  All you need is the guts to do it without getting sued by ZCorp's army of lawyers.  I've heard in the UK you are allowed to build something for personal use without worrying about violating patents.  Here in the US that is illegal, even if it's for personal use.

http://open3dp.me.washington.edu/
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Here in the US that is illegal, even if it's for personal use.

First off - if that were true, how would anyone know?

Secondly, that would be against the whole purpose of patents: The purpose of a patent is to give a description to someone else, to give them the ability to build the device with the purpose of improving upon it (and hopefully getting another patent in the process); what you can't do is copy such a product and give it away or sell it for profit - that's illegal. But anyone in the US can make their own version of an existing product.
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