Finishing Equipment

Tuesday, 07 September 2021 23:47

3D Printing Ceramics

Glass and ceramic 3D printers have always been complex machines, recently AIM3D has launched its newest generation of multimaterial printheads for its composite extrusion modeling (CEM), capable of printing Plastic, metal and ceramics. CEM combines the metal injection molding process (MIM), a well-known method, with the process technologies from additive manufacturing.

The result is a very simple process that is based on cost-effective and easily available injection molding pellets and offers the freedom of 3D printing. The CEM process not only reduces material costs significantly, but also machine costs. Already known problems in production, such as residual stresses, are significantly reduced in the CEM process.


The ExAM 255 can print prototypes made of metals, such as steel, ceramics and also plastics – and all this without the need of expensive retrofitting. (

CEM-E2 extruder. Capable of printing metal, plastic, and ceramics, the extruder’s print heads are optimized for different materials and are designed to achieve improved accuracy, higher surface quality, and better mechanical properties of parts. AIM3D has also developed its own ceramic Pellets, in combination with the CEM extruder this makes possible for the making of 3D printed ceramic parts.


Ceramic pellets contain small particles of ceramic bounded by plastic, such plastic is later dissolved or removed. (

The process of how this pellets become a final 3D printed part are described bellow:


In the CEM process, only the plastic component of the Ceramic pellets is melted. The ceramic powder bound by the plastic is layed out to form the desired 3D print, which is still quite fragile. (


In the next stage of the process, the plastic is first debinded, that means the binder is chemically or thermally dissolved. Finally, the temperature is raised in a sintering furnace to just below the melting point of the ceramic. The particles bond on a molecular level and form a stable ceramic part. (


Due to the process, the sintered part shrinks. This shrinkage is mostly homogeneous in all three-dimensions and depends on the printing material. The sintering shrinkage can be taken into account by a simple scaling of the printing geometry depending on the material. (

3D printing Ceramic is not an easy task. Most of the existing methods rely on high temperature to help reach the ceramics melting point to later mold it into the desired form, but laying particles of it in the desired form to later fuse them together is a much more efficient and controlled method.

Published in Glass & Ceramics
Thursday, 02 September 2021 23:21

A promising future for glass lifecycle

The truth about glass recycling is that it really depends on where you live and how the glass recycling policies are, therefore how the processes to recycle work from start to finish determine the glass life-cycle. In some states or countries, sadly millions of glass bottles end up dumped in a landfill, and this can even happen if the glass has been collected through a recycling bin.

Glass is 100% recyclable many times and it is capable of being reused without losing its quality and purity. That is why it is a very popular material for consumers and to be used for different purposes. Yet it is a material which we could get much more benefits from as it is not being recycled nearly as much as it could be.



Courtesy of GPI; BCG.

Nowadays in the US, glass-recycling rate is around 33% and it has been like that for many years now. In Europe and some US states with the bottle deposit law, glass-recycling average rates are closer to 70% proof that this is possible worldwide and the impact would have enormous environmental benefits. If the glass-recycling rate be to 50%, it would redirect millions of glass from landfills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1.4 million metric tons. This could be as good as taking 300,000 cars off the streets.


Courtesy of GPI; BCG.

By the end of the decade there has been a goal set by the Glass Packaging Institute to achieve the 50% recycling rate that is intended to be domestic efficient as well as for companies. However it cannot be achieve without an structured plan. The public and private sectors must cooperate making specific investments in infrastructure to improve collection and recycling processes.


Courtesy of United States Environmental Protection Agency; Glass Packaging Industry (GPI); BCG.

For this plan to be executed the Glass Packaging Institute has partnered with Boston Consulting Group to develop a structured plan with three main pillars:

Leave no bottle behind

Creating bottle-bill laws, clean collection options and commercial recycling programs.

Transform the recycling system

Creating a much more efficient process that goes from collection to separating to processing.

Collective actions

Having the private sector to create user-friendly deposit-return programs.


Courtesy of United States Environmental Protection Agency; Glass Packaging Industry (GPI); BCG.

These three pillars are crucial for the program to work and they are self-reinforcing so none could be successful without the others, so every of these approaches are necessary.

So, by the 2030 the goal is set and this could benefit not only the US but encourage many other countries to implement it and reduce the glass-pollution impact in the world.

Published in Glass & Ceramics

Made in the USA the MultiCam 3000/5000 Series Waterjet CNC it’s an easy-to-use, production cutting solution with optional 5-axis designed for cutting glass range of substrates.

The 3000/5000-Series CNC Waterjet options include pneumatic drill, chiller for intensifier, air ballast water-leveling system, closed loop filtration system, and abrasive removal system. Every MultiCam 3000/5000 Series Waterjets comes with the full support of the MultiCam Technology Center network.

Powered by KMT Waterjet SL-VI pump at 60,000psi/4,137bar, its high-pressure waterjet machining offers advantages when working with a wide range of substrates; allowing cutting highly accurate parts with excellent finish and no heat-affected edge.


Waterjet Options

Stone and tile machining

Full range of table sizes (4’ X 4’ to 20’ X 60’+)

Job shop (general parts fabrication)

Full range of intensifiers (30 HP to 200 HP)

Metal cutting (all metals)

60K and 90K PSI options

Aerospace machining (non heat-affected edge)

Abrasive and pure water heads

Automotive parts manufacturing

Multiple heads for simultaneous machining of parts

Gasket manufacturing (rubber products)

Closed water filtration systems

Foam cutting

Abrasive removal systems

Glass/ceramics machining


Carpet cutting (pure water)



Waterjet Options

Waterjet Options

Z-Axis Clearance



Z-Axis Travel






Cut Speed

2100 IPM

53.34 MPM

Rapid Traverse

1500 IPM

38.1 MPM

Drive System (X,Y)

Rack & Pinion

Rack & Pinion

Drive System (Z)

Ball Screw

Ball Screw

Photo courtesy

Published in Finishing Equipment
Friday, 04 September 2020 23:18

3D Printing Glass

Additive manufacturing is the base of 3D printing, it has several methods but the most used and common are SLA (Stereolithography) or SLS (selective laser sintering) and FDM (fused deposition modeling). Both generally use polymers as the main material to produce prints and here is where things can get complicated, in this article we will cover the use of glass and its raw materials used to produce 3D prints.octype html>

Back in 2015, MIT researchers developed a 3D printer that melts glass to later extrude it to a desired form (

3D printing glass is not an easy task, there have been a few organizations and scientists that were able to produce a 3D printed glass piece. Most of these methods rely on high temperature to help reach the glass melting point to later mold it into the desired form, glass will require temperatures around a 1000 ºC to reach its fusion point.

MIT 3D printed glass pieces are beautiful and of complex shapes. (

A team of engineers from the University of Washington succeeded by using glass powder and a binder solution to make particles react and thus being able to lay them and form a desired glass object. The technique allows a new type of material (glass) to be used in a typical powder based 3D printing system.

This 3D printing method was named Vitraglyphic process and was created in 2009 (

In 2017, a German group of researchers from KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) used an SLA process to create intricate glass objects. In SLA printing, light is used to selectively harden liquid materials into solid parts, layer by layer. The team applied the SLA process to a special ink containing glass nanopowder suspended in a photocurable polymer, and then they fired the piece at 1,300 ºC to burn off the polymer and densify the glass.

Complicated high-precision structures made of glass can be manufactured with this method (

Most recently (November 2019), ETH Zürich have used a similar method as the KIT researchers, they have developed a special resin that contains a plastic and organic molecules to which glass precursors are bonded, the resin can be cured by UV Light using commercially available DLP 3D printers.

Complex objects can be made from different types of glass, or even combined in the same object using the technique (

After the resin is cured into the desired form, the piece is subjected to two different temperatures: at 600˚C to burn off the polymer framework and then at around 1000˚C to densify the ceramic structure into glass. During the firing process, the objects shrink significantly, but become transparent and hard like window glass.

Published in 3D Printing

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