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Chapter 6.

Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics

T. Chartier and A. Badev
SPCTS UMR 7315 e CNRS European Ceramic Center (CEC), 12, Rue Atlantis, Limoges, France

Chapter Outline
1. Introduction 489 4. Data File Formats 516
2. Process Chain in Ceramic Solid Freeform Fabrication 494 5. Applications of RP Techniques 519
3. 3D Additive Manufacturing Techniques 498 References 522

1. INTRODUCTION semiconductor device operation [1]. The modeling of the

fabrication is termed Process TCAD, while the modeling of
Rapid prototyping (RP) is a revolutionary and powerful the device operation is termed Device TCAD. CAM is the
technology with wide range of applications. The process of use of computer software to control machine tools and
prototyping involves quick building up of a prototype or related machinery in the manufacturing of work pieces [2].
working model for the purpose of testing the various design The CAM technology involves planning, managing, and
features, ideas, concepts, functionality, output and perfor- control manufacturing operations. CAM systems have
mance. The user is able to give immediate feedback of the become possible through the development of computers,
prototype and its performance. RP is an essential part of the electronically operational, accurate, versatile, and produc-
process of system designing and it is quite benecial as far tive machine tools, and through the development of
as reduction of project cost and risk are concerned. sophisticated software technologies. Through the use of
Depending on the technologies involved, it is referred as CAM systems it is possible to generate numerical control
Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) or freeform fabrication, (NC) instructions to control a machine based on geometric
digital fabrication, automated freeform fabrication, 3D information from a CAD database.
printing, solid imaging, layer-based manufacturing, laser Computer-aided engineering (CAE) is the broad usage
prototyping and additive manufacturing. of computer software to aid in engineering tasks [3]. CAE
technology is related to the use of computer systems in
1.1. History in RP Techniques order to establish CAD geometry, and simulating the
behavior of the product. Through a CAE system, the CAD
The development of RP involves the development of
geometry can be redened and optimized if necessary. CAE
computer applications in the industry. The increase in the
tools are available for a wide range of analyses, such as:
use of computers has engaged the advancement in many
stress and strain evaluation, heat transfer analyses,
computer-related areas including Computer-Aided Design
magnetic eld distribution, uid dynamics, vibration and
(CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and
kinematics analyses, etc.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools. In
Finite element analysis tools usually solve each of these
particular, the apparition of RP systems is directly related to
types of problems, by transforming a physical le into
the CAD technology. However, many other technologies
a simplied model made up of interconnected elements.
and advancements in other elds such as manufacturing
The historical development [4] of the technologies
systems and materials have played an important part in the
related to RP is as follows:
development of RP systems.
CAD technology (Computer-Aided Design Tech- l Sixties: The rst RP techniques became accessible in
nologydTCAD) is a branch of electronic design auto- the later eighties and they were used for production of
mation that mostly models semiconductor fabrication and prototype and model parts. The history emerged in the

Handbook of Advanced Ceramics.

Copyright  2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 489
490 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

late sixties, when Professor Herbert Voelcker ques-

tioned himself about the possibilities of doing inter- TABLE 1 Historical Development of RP and Related
esting things with the computer controlled and Technologies [7]
automatic machine tools. These machine tools had just Year Event
started to appear on the factory oors then. Voelcker
1770 Mechanization
was trying to nd a way in which the automated
machine tools could be programmed by using the output 1946 First Computer
of a design program of a computer. 1952 First NC Machine Tool
l Seventies: Voelcker developed mathematical algorithms
1960 First commercial Laser
that clearly describe the three-dimensional aspects and
resulted in the earliest theories of mathematical theories 1961 First commercial Robot
for solid modeling. These theories range form the basis of 1963 First Interactive Graphics System
modern computer programs used to design almost all
1988 First commercial RP System
mechanical objects [5]. They changed the designing
methods in the seventies, but, the old methods for
designing were still very much in use. The old method
revolves on a computer-controlled machine. Engineers use their experience to tailor the prototype
l Eighties: In 1987, Carl Deckard, a researcher form the according to the specic unknowns still present in the
University of Texas, came up with a good revolutionary intended design. Some prototypes are used to conrm and
idea. He pioneered the layer-based manufacturing, verify consumer interest in a proposed design; other
wherein he thought of building up the model layer by prototypes will attempt to verify the performance or suit-
layer [6]. He printed 3D models by utilizing laser light ability of a specic design approach [8]. The fabrication of
for fusing metal powder in solid prototypes, single layer prototypes involves several stepsdmaterial removal, cast-
at a time. Deckard developed this idea into a technique ings, molds, joining with adhesives etc. and with many
called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The results of material typesdaluminum, zinc, urethanes, wood, etc. [9].
this technique were extremely promising. The history of Prototyping processes have gone through three phases
RP is quite new and recent. As this technology of RP has of development, the last two of which have emerged only in
such wide ranging scope and applications with amazing the last 20 years. Like the modeling process in computer
results, it has been tremendously developing over the graphics, the prototyping of physical models is growing
years. through its third phase.
l Present-day RP: Today, the computer engineer has to In general, an iterative series of prototypes are designed,
simply sketch the ideas on the computer screen with the constructed and tested as the nal design is prepared for
help of a design program that is computer aided. production. Multiple iterations of prototypes are used to
Computer-aided designing allows to make modication progressively rene the design. A common strategy is to
as required and it is therefore possible to create a physical design, test, evaluate and then modify the design based on
prototype that is a precise, as well as proper a 3D object. analysis of the prototype. In many products it is common to
Voelcker and Deckard researches and innovations have assign the prototype iterations Greek letters. For example,
given extreme development to this signicant new industry a rst iteration prototype is called an Alpha prototype.
known as RP or freeform fabrication. It has revolutionized Often this iteration is not expected to perform as intended
the designing and manufacturing processes. There are and some amount of failures or issues are anticipated.
many references of people contributing to the development Subsequent prototyping iterations (Beta, Gamma, etc.) will
of the RP technology such as Charles Hulls patent of be expected to resolve issues and perform closer to the nal
Apparatus for Production of 3D Objects by Stereo- production intent. In many product development organi-
lithography (SL) (Table 1). zations, prototyping specialists are employeddindividuals
with specialized skills and training in general fabrication
techniques that can help bridge between theoretical designs
1.2. Main Notions on Prototype and the fabrication of prototypes. An example of a reso-
1.2.1. Denition of a Prototype nator prototype destined for high frequency applications is
shown on the Fig. 1 below:
Prototypes are created in order to realize the conceptuali-
zation of a design. It is often used as part of the product
1.2.2. Types of Prototypes
design process to allow engineers and designers the ability
to explore alternatives, test theories and conrm perfor- The implementation of a prototype covers the range of
mance prior to starting production of a new product. prototyping the complete product (or system) to
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 491

interacts with various elements, motions, and actions of

a concept which dene the initial use scenario and
overall user experience. As these models are fully
intended to be used and handled, more robust
construction is necessary. Materials typically include
plywood, REN shape, RP processes and CNC machined
components. Construction of user experience models is
typically driven by preliminary CAID/CAD which may
be constructed from scratch or with methods such as
industrial CT scanning.
l Visual Prototype (Model) will capture the intended
design esthetic and simulate the appearance, color and
surface textures of the intended product but will not
FIGURE 1 Ceramic resonator prototype made by stereolithography [10].
For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version actually embody the function of the nal product [13].
of this book. These models will be suitable for use in market
research, executive reviews and approval, packaging
mock-ups, and photo shoots for sales literature.
prototyping part of, or a sub-assembly or a component of
l Functional Prototype (Model) (also called a working
the product. The complete prototype, as its name suggests,
prototype) will, to the greatest extent practical, attempt
models most, if not all, the characteristics of the product. It
to simulate the nal design, esthetics, materials and
is usually implemented full-scale as well as being fully
functionality of the intended design. The functional
functional. The main prototype categories are:
prototype may be reduced in size (scaled down) in order
l Proof-of-Principle Prototype (Model) (in electronics to reduce costs [14]. The construction of a fully working
sometimes built on a breadboard). A Proof of concept full-scale prototype and the ultimate test of concept is
prototype is used to test some aspects of the intended the engineers nal check for design aws and allow
design without attempting to exactly simulate the visual last-minute improvements to be made before larger
appearance, choice of materials or intended production runs are ordered.
manufacturing process [11]. Such prototypes can be
used to prove out a potential design approach such as
range of motion, mechanics, sensors, architecture, etc. 1.3. Classication of RP Techniques
These types of models are often used to identify which RP systems are mainly classied on the nature of the
design options will not work, or where further devel- material that the prototype or part is built with. In this
opment and testing is necessary. manner, all RP systems are categorized into liquid-based,
l Form Study Prototype (Model). This type of prototype solid-based and powder-based. We will present in detail the
will allow designers to explore the basic size and the most common 3D RP techniques used in the manufacturing
look of a product without simulating the actual function of ceramic materials.
or exact visual appearance of the product. They can help
assess ergonomic factors and provide insight into visual
1.3.1. Liquid-based
aspects of the products nal form. Form Study Proto-
types are often hand-carved or machined models from In liquid-based RP systems, the initial form of its material
easily sculpted, inexpensive materials (e.g. urethane is in liquid state [15]. Through a process of photo-
foam), without representing the intended color, nish, polymerization or curing, the liquid is converted into the
or texture. Due to the materials used, these models are solid state. The following RP systems fall into this category:
intended for internal decision making and are generally
l 3D Systems Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA)
not durable enough or suitable for use by representative
l Solid Ground Curing (SGC)
users or consumers.
l 3D Systems Microstereolithography Apparatus (mSLA)
l User Experience Prototype (Model). A User Experi-
l Fused Deposition Modeling
ence Model invites active human interaction and is
l Solid Object Ultraviolet-Laser Printer (SOUP)
primarily used to support user focused research. While
l Soliform System
intentionally not addressing possible esthetic treat-
l Two Laser Beams
ments, this type of model does more accurately repre-
sent the overall size, proportions, interfaces, and As is illustrated in Fig. 2, two methods are possible under
articulation of a promising concept [12]. This type of the liquid polymerization processes: the SGC and the
model allows early assessment of how a potential user microfabrication (SLA/mSLA processes) which are most
492 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

FIGURE 2 Classication of rapid manufacturing processes.

commonly used due to a better spatial resolution of the l Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS)
processes. SL/mSL processes will be presented in Chapter 3. l Direct Shell Production Casting (DSPC)
l Multiphase Jet Solidication (MJS)
1.3.2. Solid-based l Electron Beam Melting (EBM)
l Direct Metal Deposition
Solid-based RP systems enclose all materials in the solid l 3D Printing Process
state and the shapes could be in the form of a wire, a roll,
laminates and pellets [17]. All the above RP systems employ the Joining/Binding
The following RP techniques fall into this denition: method. The method of joining/binding differs for the
above systems in that some employ a laser while others use
l Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) a binder/glue to achieve the joining effect [18].
l Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
l Paper Lamination Technology (PLT)
l 3D Systems MultiJet Modeling System (MJM) 1.4. Advantages and Problems Encountered
l ModelMaker and PatternMaster in RP Processes
l Slicing Solid Manufacturing (SSM)
l Extrusion Modeling and Multifunctional RPM Systems RP has various advantages relative to regular, traditional
prototyping and also to the technologies which have taken
its concept further. The revolutionary capability which it
1.3.3. Powder-based introduced is the automatic creation of physical 3D forms
from computer images [19]. Moreover, the additive fabri-
This category of technologies uses powder in a solid state.
cation technique which it uses has the ability to produce
The following RP systems fall into this denition:
almost any geometric shape or feature with absolute delity
l SLS to the original design. With suitable material, shapes can be
l Three-Dimensional Printing (3DP) highly convoluted and even include parts nested within
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 493

parts. The technique has had a signicant impact on certain concept of RP a step further like rapid tooling and rapid
elds of production engineering (Fig. 3). The ability to injection molding, both of which have advantages and
produce an accurate model of a product or component disadvantages compared with RP itself. RP is faster than
direct from the design greatly facilitates communication the other two procedures mentioned and can produce
between designer, manufacturer, marketer, purchaser and complex shapes. If only a few parts are needed it is rela-
user, all of whom can visualize the nal product and, where tively inexpensive (in a production engineering context),
relevant, make sure they are entirely satised before but for a quantity of parts there is no saving because each
manufacturing commences. This in turn decreases devel- one takes as long and costs as much as the rst. The nish
opment time because changes can be made, and errors on the product tends to be rough, and there are only a few
detected and rectied, before production, thus eliminating materials which can be used. If strength or heat-resistance
or decreasing costly mistakes. Projects are less risky, take need to be tested, for example, this can make the process
less time, and their overall cost is less so output can be a poor choice for assessing a parts function. For rapid
higher. Once the product has been manufactured and gone tooling there is still a limited choice of materials, and the
into use, the same time and cost savings apply when it need to make molds restricts the complexity of the designs
becomes desirable to make adjustments to improve its which can be produced. Also the time taken is a little
effectiveness. Thus necessary features can be added and longer. However the quality of the parts is signicantly
redundant features eliminated comparatively early in the superior to that produced by RP. Rapid injection molding
life of the design. Additional advantages of RP include the also provides good quality components, and additionally,
nonindustry-specic nature of the technique and the facility because of the wider variety of materials which can be used
for creating a large number of variants on a single model. in the metal molds, the functionality of the parts can be
Certain other processes have been developed taking the more readily tested. The time it takes is comparable with

100% full production

Production Part Tool Tool Assembly/ Function

design drawing design manufacturing test testing



Small sized full

production production
RP Model

Time and costsaving
RP patterns

10 to 50%

FIGURE 3 RP versus full production model [7]. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.
494 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

that of rapid tooling, and can be contrasted very favorably could not be obtained by traditional manufacturing methods.
with that of traditional injection molding which, while Through the years, the use of SFF techniques has increased in
providing the ultimate in quality, takes weeks or months as the elds of biomedical engineering, electronics, aerospace,
opposed to days. architecture, and archeology.
This technique requires a specialist input at every stage, In the last decades the development of RP techniques
starting with the engineer who creates the CAD design. The has led to the production of a diversity of mechanical,
costs are high. Then, the conversion of the CAD design into optical and uidic components and systems. As almost all
the STL format, and the creation of the physical prototype of the patterning techniques are appropriate only for
itself, which is likely made of resin, is of limited use for selected materials, as a consequence, material available for
anything other than design and t. The relative economies microsystems technology is inevitably limited. Examples
of these different styles of additive manufacturing are are the LIGA technique (German acronym for X-ray deep
related. In one case the machine may cost more, while lithography, electro deposition, and polymer molding) for
each prototype costs less; in another the material used to the production of parts of polymers and selected metals,
make the prototype may be more expensive, but the lead silicon technologies, micromachining of metals or
time required to nish the article is reduced thus saving patterning of UV-sensitive glasses. For some applications,
worker time. however, the specic properties of ceramics, such as high
Despite all of the benets derived from this tech- hardness, high thermal and chemical resistance or dielectric
nology, RP has several disadvantages: it sometimes fails properties are very important and selective to the used
in replication of the real product or system. It could SFF technique.
happen that some important developmental steps could Unfortunately, the required properties of the materials
be omitted to get a quick and cheap working model. This used make the use of the established patterning techniques
can be one of the greatest disadvantages of RP. Another impossible for most ceramic materials. Therefore the
disadvantage of RP is one in which many problems are development and application of ceramic microcomponents
overlooked resulting in endless rectications and revi- have been retarded.
sions. One more disadvantage of RP is that it may not be
suitable for large sized applications [20]. The user may
2.1. Main Processes
have very high expectations about the prototypes
performance and the designer is unable to deliver these. Ceramic components are mostly formed in the green state
The system could be left unnished due to various by consolidating a ceramic powder with the help of more or
reasons or the system may be implemented before it is less organic additives into the desired shape. A variety of
completely ready. The producer may produce an inade- processes were developed or known techniques adapted to
quate system that is unable to meet the overall demands the special requirements of the shaping of ceramic
of the organization. Too much involvement of the user components with patterning details in the sub millimeter
might hamper the optimization of the program. The range. These techniques differ in design, and costs, but
producer may be too attached to the program of RP, thus have in common that a patterned mold is needed [22]. As
it may lead to legal involvement. most of these techniques require metallic molds at least in
one-step of the replication process due to the applied
2. PROCESS CHAIN IN CERAMIC SOLID pressure and/or temperature, these metal molds are mainly
produced by more or less expensive and time-consuming
FREEFORM FABRICATION techniques like erosion methods, mechanical micro-
SFF is an important developing technology that enables the machining, or even the LIGA technique.
fabrication of functional objects with complex properties For faster supply of models and prototypes, a large
directly from computer data. The basic operation of any SFF number of RP methods have been developed in the last 15
system consists of slicing a 3D computer model into thin cross years. In 1986 the stereolithography technique of poly-
sections, translating the result into 2D position information, mers (Hull 1986) has improved the resolution and preci-
and using this information ow to control the placement of sion of these manufacturing technologies, as reported by
solid material [21]. This process is repeated for each cross Halloran et al. [23].
section and the object is built up one layer at a time. SFF has However, SFF techniques like MJS, SLS, LOM or
historically been associated with manufacturing technolo- fused deposition of ceramics are not well suited for the
gies, and used for the rapid production of visual models, low- production of high resolution ceramic components, as they
run tooling, and functional objects. The impact of SFF goes still do not possess sufcient accuracy or do not provide
far beyond these applications, however; the additive nature of prototypes with the properties of conventionally shaped
SFF techniques offers great promise for producing objects ceramics. In order to obtain a better resolution of the nal
with unique material combinations and geometries which product, stereolithography technique is mostly used
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 495

[24,25]. Fabrications of patterned ceramics or ceramic 2.2. Process Chain

parts make high demands on the precision and resolution
of the molding process. As the nishing process of mini- There are three fundamental fabrication processes:
aturized ceramic components is nearly impossible, shaping subtractive, additive and formative processes [26]. In the
has to be done by a replication step in the unred state. To subtractive process the material is removed from the nal
avoid high tooling costs in product development, a RPPC product until the desired shape is reached. The additive
has been established that enables rapid manufacturing of process is used to create a product larger than the starting
ceramic microcomponents from functional models to material. A material is manipulated so that its successive
small lot series within a short time. This process chain portions combine to form the desired object. The formative
combines the fast and inexpensive supply of master process is a building sequence where mechanical forces are
models by RP with accurate and exible ceramic applied on a material to form it into the desired shape.
manufacturing by low-pressure injection molding (LPIM). The main parts of the process chain are 3D
Besides proper feedstock preparation and sufcient modeling, data conversion and transmission, checking
small grain size, the quality of the nal components is and preparing, building and postprocessing (Fig. 4) [27].
mainly inuenced by the quality of the master model. Depending on the quality of the model, the process may
Hence, the RP method must be carefully selected be iterated until a satisfactory model or part is achieved.
to meet the requirements of the component to be However, like other fabrication processes, process
fabricated. planning is important before the RP commences. In
The manufacturing of ceramic parts involves the process planning, the steps of the RP process chain are
building of 3DeCAD model of the desired part. The data listed. The rst step is 3D geometric modeling. In this
are transferred to the RP equipment, where a model is instance, the requirement would be a workstation and a
fabricated out of polymers. The polymer master model is CAD modeling system. The various factors and param-
then molded with liquid silicon rubber, which is subse- eters which inuence the performance of each operation
quently used as a tool in the LPIM. The nal ceramic part is are examined and decided upon. For example, if a SLA
obtained after dewaxing and sintering. is used to build the part, the orientation of the part is an

Slice n36 Slice n130

CAD File Slicing (160 layers)

STL File

Directly from CAD file.

No break of the digital

Debinding - Sintering Cleaning

FIGURE 4 Process chain in ceramic freeform fabrication. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.
496 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

important factor which would, amongst other things, may be compensated by an anisotropic scaling. For the
inuence the quality of the part and the speed of the preparation of models with a lower resolution a commercial
process. An operation sheet used in this manner requires stereolithography machine could be used. Due to the large
proper documentation and guidelines. Good documen- spot size, parts with a relatively large volume can be
tation, such as a process logbook, allows future exami- fabricated within short times.
nation and evaluation, and subsequent improvements can For the production of small-sized holes by stereo-
be implemented to process planning. lithography, problems arise from the epoxides or acrylates,
which are used as precursor resins. After removing the part
from the resin bath these details cannot be cleaned suf-
2.3. Master Model Fabrication ciently from the adherent resin residues, therefore the parts
The advantage of a RPPC consists in the exibility of the are replicated with poor accuracy. For the fabrication of
model preparation (Fig. 5). In principle the full-range of RP such items an extrusion based RP method like FDM [31] or
methods could be used if it leads to accurate models. a ballistic method like MJM [32] is used. Although these
However, due to high processing time or costs, a careful methods are less suited for microfabrication because of the
choice of the RP method is strongly recommended to obtain inherent limited accuracy, it has been demonstrated that
the desired model properties. For most ceramic components they meet the requirements for applications where the high
a standard stereolithography, MJM and the RMPD tech- surface roughness can be tolerated.
nique (Rapid Micro Product Development) were used. With For parts with ne details or high resolution the models
these three methods all applications could be realized with could be made of acrylates using microstereolithography
sufcient accuracy [29]. Each route starts with the gener- technique, which is suited for micro dimensioning, and
ation of a three-dimensional CAD model of the ceramic allows reaching a precision of about 5 mm.
component to be produced. The 3D model is subjected to
triangulation, i.e. it is approximated by a structure con-
sisting of triangles (Fig. 6). By varying the number of these 2.4. File Format
triangles, the amount of data and the resolution of the
The information chain used in all additive processes
component are inuenced.
encloses the following steps [33]:
If the sintering shrinkage of the ceramic is uniform in all
dimensions it can be compensated by a simple rescaling of l Creation of a CAD model of the design
the model size. However even an inhomogeneous shrinkage l Conversion of the CAD model to STL format

manufacturing Mold
by Rapid in Silicone
Prototyping LP-Injection
(STL, MJM, ...) Molding



FIGURE 5 Process steps in RP process chain [28]. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 497

FIGURE 6 Chordal error and denition of a layer through the intersection between the 3D STL Model and a slicing plane [30].

l Slicing the STL le into thin cross-sectional layers the object. The orientation of the facets is specied
l Construction of the model by stacked layers redundantly in two ways which must be consistent. First,
l Cleaning and nishing the model the direction of the normal is outward. Second, the vertices
are listed in counterclockwise order when looking at the
CAD Model Creation: First, the object to be built is
object from the outside (right-hand rule). Each triangle
modeled using a CAD software package. Solid modelers,
must share two vertices with each of its adjacent triangles.
such as Pro/ENGINEER, tend to represent 3D objects more
This is known as vertex-to-vertex rule. The object repre-
accurately than wire-frame modelers such as AutoCAD,
sented must be located in the all-positive octant (all vertex
and will therefore yield better results. The designer can use
coordinates must be positive). However, for nonnative STL
a preexisting CAD le or may wish to create one expressly
applications, the STL format can be generalized. The
for prototyping purposes. This process is identical for all of
normal, if not specied (three zeros might be used instead),
the RP build techniques.
can be easily computed from the coordinates of the vertices
Conversion to STL Format: The various CAD pack-
using the right-hand rule. Moreover, the vertices can be
ages use a number of different algorithms to represent solid
located in any octant. And nally, the facet can even be on
objects. To establish consistency, the STL (stereo-
the interface between two objects (or two parts of the same
lithography, the rst RP technique) format has been adop-
object). This makes the generalized STL format suitable for
ted as the standard of the RP industry. The second step,
modeling of 3D nonmanifold objects. The STL standard
therefore, is to convert the CAD le into STL format. An
includes two data formatsdASCII and binary. While the
STL le is a triangular representation of a 3D surface
ASCII form is more descriptive, the binary form is far more
geometry [34]. The surface is tessellated logically into a set
common due to the very large resulting size of the CAD
of oriented triangles (facets). Each facet is described by the
data when saved in the ASCII format. The rst line in the
unit outward normal and three points listed in counter-
ASCII format is a description line that must start with the
clockwise order representing the vertices of the triangle.
word solid in lower case, followed eventually by addi-
While the aspect ratio and orientation of individual facets is
tional information as the le name, author, date etc. The last
governed by the surface curvature, the size of the facets is
line should be the keyword endsolid. The lines in
driven by the tolerance controlling the quality of the surface
between contain descriptions of individual facets as
representation in terms of the distance of the facets from the
surface. The choice of the tolerance is strongly dependent
on the target application of the produced STL le. In facet normal 0:0 0:0 1:0
industrial processing, where stereolithography machines outerloop
perform a computer controlled layer by layer laser curing of vertex 1:0 1:0 0:0
a photosensitive resin, the tolerance may be in order of vertex 1:0 1:0 0:0
0.1 mm to make the produced 3D part precise with highly vertex 0:0 1:0 0:0
worked out details. The native STL format needs to fulll endloop
the following specications: the normal and each vertex of endfacet
every facet are specied by three coordinates each, so there
is a total of 12 numbers stored for each facet. Each facet is Slice the STL File: Once the STL les are veried to be
part of the boundary between the interior and the exterior of error-free, the RP systems computer analyzes the STL les
498 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

that dene the model to be fabricated and slices the model removal of supports. Similarly, for SLS parts, the excess
into cross sections. The cross-sections are systematically powder has to be removed. Likewise for LOM, pieces of
recreated through the solidication of liquids or binding of excess wood-like blocks of paper which acted as supports
powders, or fusing of solids, to form a 3D model. In a SLA, have to be removed [36].
for example, each output le is sliced into cross sections, As shown in Table 2, the SLA procedures require the
between 0.12 mm (minimum) and 0.50 mm (maximum) in highest number of post-processing tasks. More impor-
thickness. Generally, the model is sliced into the thinnest tantly, for safety reason, specic recommendations for
layer (approx. 0.12 mm) as they have to be very accurate. post-processing tasks have to be prepared, especially for
The supports can be created using coarser settings. An cleaning of SLA parts. It was reported that accuracy is
internal cross hatch structure is generated between the inner related to the posttreatment process. Most defects in SLA-
and the outer surface boundaries of the part. This serves to built parts occur with the use of inadequate cleaning
hold up the walls and entrap liquid that is later solidied with solvents. Parts are typically cleaned with low viscosity
the presence of UV light. Preparing building parameters for solvent to remove unreacted photosensitive resin.
positioning and stepwise manufacturing in the light of many Depending upon the build style and the extent of cross-
available possibilities can be difcult if not accompanied by linking in the resin, the part can be distorted during the
proper documentation. These possibilities include determi- cleaning process. This effect was particularly pronounced
nation of the geometrical objects, the building orientation, with the more open build styles and aggressive solvents.
spatial assortments, arrangement with other parts, necessary With the build styles approaching a solid ll and more
support structures and slice parameters. They also include solvent-resistant materials, damage with the cleaning
the determination of technological parameters such as cure solvent can be minimized. With newer cleaning solvents,
depth, laser power and other physical parameters as in the like TDA (tridecyl acrylate monomer) introduced by 3D
case of SLA. It means that user-friendly software for ease of Systems, part damage due to the cleaning solvent can be
use and handling, user support in terms of user manuals, reduced or even eliminated.
dialog mode and online graphical aids will be very helpful to
users of the RP system.
2.5. Object Setup TECHNIQUES
Using one of several techniques, RP machines build one Very sophisticated techniques have been developed in the
layer at a time from polymers, paper, or powdered metal. past 10 years in order to create 3D objects. These tech-
Most machines are fairly autonomous, needing little human niques have been integrated into a new technology known
intervention. The building time can take from minutes up to as Additive manufacturing techniques that use different
several hours depending on the size of the object, the materials as listed in the Table 3 below:
precision and number of layers for 3D processes [35]. All these techniques use a common principle, the
transformation of a CAD model into a physical one
produced layer by layer. They build complex 3D parts in
2.6. Finishing Processes one sequence without human intervention. This chapter
The cleaning task involves the removal of excess parts will present these techniques in general and most attention
which may have remained. Thus, for SLA parts, this refers will be focused on one of the most sophisticated ones, the
to excess resin located in entrapped portion, as well as the stereolithography and mSLA.

TABLE 2 Finishing Processes for Different RP Systems [7]

RP Technologies

Finishing Selective Fused deposition Laminated object

processes laser sintering Stereolithography modeling manufacturing
Cleaning Yes Yes No Yes
Posttreatment No Yes No No
Setting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 499

Since being patented in 1989, the SLS technology has

TABLE 3 3D Additive Manufacturing Techniques become one of the most used processes for prototyping
3D prototyping techniques Base materials and product development in all industries. SLS equipment
and machinery have also developed and expanded to meet
SLS Thermoplastics, metals,
the criteria of users. Currently, there are ve different
types of machines including high-speed systems. Some of
InkJet printing Almost any alloy, metal them have round platforms while others have square
FDM Thermoplastics, and rectangular build areas. The build platforms range
eutectic metals in size from small (12" in diameter), to medium
Stereo/microstereolithography Photopolymer (12  14 rectangle), all the way up to the largest platform
(SLA/mSLA) (20  20 square). The different size build areas allow
users to choose how parts are built and oriented depending
LOM Paper
on how large or small the parts are designed. If parts
3D printing (3DP) Various materials exceed the parameters of the build area it is not difcult to
build parts in the SLS process in multiple sections and then
bond them in postproduction. The variety of properties
that the nal materials offer makes it quite easy to bond
3.1. Selective Laser Sintering sectioned parts together with an adhesive that is strong and
3.1.1. History
SLS was created in the University of Texas, and is a popular
process used in RP and product development. The SLS
3.1.2. Principle
technology was brought commercialized by DTM Corpo- The technique, shown in Fig. 8 below, uses a laser beam to
ration which is now called 3D Systems. It is a layer additive selectively fuse powdered materials, such as nylon, elas-
production process that creates three-dimensional objects tomer, and metal, into a solid object [37]. Parts are built
using a CO2 laser to melt, or sinter, and fuse selective upon a platform which sits just below the surface in a bin of
powder molecules based on information supplied by a CAD the heat-fusible powder. A laser traces the pattern of the
le (Fig. 7). rst layer, sintering it together. The platform is lowered by

FIGURE 7 CAD le of a craniofacial implant (3D Ceram, Limoges, France).

500 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

FIGURE 8 (a) Laser wise building method. (b) Fabrication sequence in SLS technique. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online
version of this book.

the height of the next layer and powder is reapplied. This materials that make metal prototypes. Additionally, there
process continues until the part is complete. Excess powder is continual research and development going on to bring
in each layer helps to support the part during the build. The new materials to market. Each of these materials require
powder material that is fused during the process is little to no post build processing to be ready to use, which
commonly called thermoplastic material or, in some cases, cuts out several steps in post-processing of parts as
thermoplastic binders for use in metals [38]. This tech- compared to stereolithography. However, all of the selec-
nology allows for these materials to be fused together in tive laser sintering materials can be nished in multiple
thin layers ranging between 0.003 and 0.006. This allows ways to meet the desire or needs of users [38]. Among
SLS to create parts with accurate details and tolerances other types of post-processing, parts can be sanded,
comparable to stereolithography. However, it has an added painted, plated, tapped, or even machined. This allows for
benet in that the strength and durability of the parts it a higher grade of smoothness and appearance to parts and
creates is much better. Additionally, the SLS process makes assemblies and also gives users an unlimited number of
parts that have longer stability than stereolithography. ways to use these parts. Depending on the material, up to
100% density can be achieved with material properties
3.1.3. Materials comparable to those found with traditional manufacturing
There are a variety of different types of materials available
for use in the SLS process [39]. The most benecial
3.1.4. Applications
characteristic is how durable and functional the materials
are. They are made of nylon-based materials and create The SLS process is able to produce parts and/or prototypes
plastic prototypes. Other types of materials are used that t a wide range of different applications. The most
for investment casting patterns, rubber-like parts, and widely used application of the process is functional
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 501

prototypes [40]. Some thermoplastics provide a choice of 3.2. Fused Deposition Modeling
a durable and exible plastic or a stiff and rigid plastic that
have properties very close to an injection molded part. Parts 3.2.1. History
created with these materials are ideal for end users to test FDM is an additive manufacturing technology commonly
for form, t, and/or function. Other than functional used for modeling, prototyping, and production applica-
prototypes, parts can be used as models, whether it is tions [43]. The technology was developed by S. Scott
a presentation model for marketing purposes, or a show- Crump in the late 1980s and was commercialized in
piece for display. Yet another regular application that uses 1990. FDM uses the extrusion process to build 3D
this technology is casting patterns i.e. investment casting models. Stratasys introduced its rst RP machine, the 3D
because it is capable of making patterns with high accuracy modeler in early 1992 and started shipping the units later
and intricate detail. The SLS material could be a poly- that year. Over the past decade, Stratasys has grown
styrene that is coated with wax to solidify the pattern after progressively, seeing her RP machine sales increase from
being built in the machine. Once at the foundry, the pattern six units in the beginning to a total of 1582 units in the
is melted away prior to pouring the molten metal. The parts year 2000.
made usually require a highly esthetic nish which is often
called a master nish. Master nishing is a postproduction
3.2.2. Principle
process that calls for the parts to be sanded extra smoothly
and can even be primed, plated or painted to the end The principle of FDM revolves in surface chemistry, heat
users desire. energy and layer deposition. The process constructs three-
dimensional objects directly from 3D CAD data. A
temperature-controlled head extrudes thermoplastic mate-
3.1.5. Advantages
rial layer by layer [44]. The FDM process starts with
The advantages of SLS parts are [41]: importing an STL le of a model into preprocessing soft-
ware. This model is oriented and mathematically sliced into
l Fast efcient technique to build complex geometries
horizontal layers varying from 0.127 to 0.254 mm thick-
due to the layer wise building method;
ness. A support structure is created where needed, based on
l SLS is produced faster than conventional tooling,
the parts position and geometry. After reviewing the path
taking off as much as 80e90% of the time it takes to
data and generating the tool paths, the data is downloaded to
create rst parts; parts can be created in days as opposed
the FDM machine. This machine operates in X, Y and Z
to weeks;
axes, drawing the model one layer at a time. In this process,
l It is typically delivered at a lower cost compared to
a plastic or wax material is extruded through a nozzle that
conventional toolingdas much as 90e95% less;
traces the parts cross-sectional geometry layer by layer. The
l Parts and/or assemblies that move and work that have
build material is usually supplied in lament form, but some
a good surface nish and feature detail;
setups utilize plastic pellets fed from a hopper instead. The
l This technique gives the capability of exible snaps
nozzle contains resistive heaters that keep the plastic at
and living hinges as well as high stress and heat
a temperature just above its melting point so that it ows
easily through the nozzle and forms the layer. The plastic
l Wide variety of materials such as exible and rigid
hardens immediately after owing from the nozzle and
plastics, elastomeric materials, fully dense metals and
bonds to the layer below. Once a layer is built, the platform
casting patterns;
lowers, and the extrusion nozzle deposits another layer.
l Tight dimensional tolerances all the way down to
The layer thickness and vertical dimensional accuracy is
thousandths of an inch;
determined by the extruder die diameter, which ranges
l Finishing capabilities that include painting for presen-
from 0.013 to 0.005 inches. In the XeY plane, 0.00100
tations, tapping or threading for use and inserts for
resolution is achievable. Once the part is completed the
support columns are removed and the surface is nished [45]
(Fig. 9).
3.1.6. Limitations The build material is usually supplied in lament form,
but some setups use plastic pellets fed from a hopper
The limitations are [42]:
instead. Several materials are available with different
l Surface roughness caused by the grain like structure; compromise between strength and temperature properties.
l Lower dimensional accuracy than (SLA/mSLA), two One of the main materials used are acrylonitrile butadiene
sided tolerance >0.1 mm; styrene (ABS) polymer, polycarbonates, polycaprolactone,
l Low surface hardness of sintered materials polyphenylsulfones and waxes. A water-soluble material
(HV z 170). can be used for making temporary supports while
502 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

FIGURE 9 (a) Movable table with nozzle ejecting molten material; (b) FDM process materials [46]. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred
to the online version of this book.

manufacturing is in progress, this soluble support material l The creation of functional prototypes for testing
is quickly dissolved with specialized mechanical agitation purposes. These prototypes allow to test in real world
equipment using a precisely heated sodium hydroxide environments and make decisions that have a dramatic
solution. As thermoplastic materials, PC/ABS (Poly- effect on the cost to manufacture to the product;
carbonate-ABS) is one of the most widely used industrial l Fabrication of end-use parts. Without the expense and
thermoplastics. It offers the most desirable properties of lead time of traditional tooling or machining, FDM
both materialsdthe superior mechanical properties and produces end-use parts tough enough for integration
heat-resistance of PC and the excellent property of ABS. into the nal product. Ideal for building small quantities
PC/ABS blends are commonly used in automotive, elec- of parts while waiting for tooling, FDM Technology
tronics and telecommunications applications. It provides makes it possible to get the products to market faster;
a good strength and rigidity in conjunction with toughness l Fabrication of manufacturing tools. FDM reduces the
and temperature tolerance. The produced parts present time it takes to create manufacturing tools by up to 85%.
a good surface appeal. It produces manufacturing tools such as jigs and
xtures, tooling masters and production tooling in
3.2.3. Applications hoursdwithout expensive machining or tooling.
FDM technique is used for the following application
areas [47]: 3.2.4. Advantages
l The creation of concept models used in early stages of l Minimal wastage. The FDM process build parts directly
product development. FDM models reduce costs and by extruding semiliquid melt onto the model. Only
shorten development timelines; those material needed to build the part and its support
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 503

are needed, and material wastages are kept to Example:

a minimum. There is also little need for cleaning up the Elaboration of composites of piezoelectric ceramics and
model after it has been built [48]; polymers with specic spatial arrangement of phases
l Ease of support removal. With the use of Break Away (connectivity) for the desired electromechanical perfor-
Support System and Water Works Soluble Support mances (Fig. 10):
System, support structures generated during the FDM
building process can be easily broken off or simply
3.3. 3D Printing
washed away. This makes it very convenient for users to
get to their prototypes very quickly and there is very 3.3.1. History
little or no post processing necessary;
3D printing is the process of creating three-dimensional
l Ease of material change. Build materials, supplied in
objects from digital le using a materials printer, in
spool form (or cartridge form in the case of the
a manner similar to printing images on paper. The term is
Dimension or Prodigy Plus), are easy to handle and can
most closely associated with additive manufacturing tech-
be changed readily when the materials in the system are
nology, where an object is created layer by layer. Since
running low.
2003, there has been large growth in the sale of 3D printers.
Additionally, the cost of 3D printers has decreased. The
3.2.5. Limitations technology is mainly used in the elds of jewelry, footwear,
industrial design, architecture, engineering and construc-
l Limited accuracy. Parts built with the FDM process tion (AEC), automotive, aerospace, dental and medical
have limited accuracy due to the shape of the material industries, education, geographic information systems,
used, i.e. the lament form. The lament usually used civil engineering, and many others.
has a diameter of 1.27 mm and limits the accuracy of the
built part;
3.3.2. Principle
l Slow building process. The building process is slow, as
the whole cross-sectional area needs to be lled with Three-dimensional printing operates by building parts in
building materials. Building speed is restricted by the layers. From a computer (CAD) model of the desired part,
extrusion rate or the ow rate of the build material from a slicing algorithm draws detailed information for every
the extrusion head. As the build material used are layer [51]. Each layer begins with a thin distribution of
plastics and their viscosities are relatively high, the powder spread over the surface of a powder bed. Using
build process could not be sped up [49]; a technology similar to inkjet printing, a binder material
l Unknown shrinkage. As the FDM process extrudes the selectively joins particles where the object formed. A
build material from its extrusion head and cools them piston that supports the powder bed and the part-in-
rapidly on deposition, stresses induced by such rapid progress lowers so that the next powder layer can be spread
cooling invariably are introduced into the model. As and selectively joined. This layer by layer process repeats
such, shrinkages and distortions caused to the model until the part is completed [52]. Following a heat treatment,
built are a common occurrence and are usually difcult unbound powder is removed, leaving the fabricated part.
to predict. Resolution is given in layer thickness and XeY resolution

FIGURE 10 Electronic devices made by FDM technique [50]. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this
504 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

FIGURE 11 Three-dimensional printingdprinciple [53].

in dpi. Typical layer thickness is around 100 mm (0.1 mm), 3.3.5. Advantages
although some machines such as the Object Connex can
print layers as thin as 16 mm. XeY resolution is compa- Compared to other 3D techniques, 3D printing is optimized
rable to that of laser printers. The particles (3D dots) are for speed, low cost, and ease of use, making it suitable for
around 50e100 mm (0.05e0.1 mm) in diameter (Fig. 11). visualizing during the conceptual stages of engineering
The building sequence is shown below: design through to early-stage functional testing [56]. No
toxic chemicals like those used in stereolithography are
required, and minimal postprinting nish work is needed;
3.3.3. Materials one need only to use the printer itself to blow off
The 3DP process combines powders and binders with high surrounding powder after the printing process. Bonded
geometric exibility. The support gained from the powder powder prints can be further strengthened by wax or ther-
bed means that overhangs, undercuts and internal volumes moset polymer impregnation. The main advantages of the
can be created (as long as there is a hole for the loose powder technology are stated below:
to escape). Material options, which include metal or ceramic l Increases Innovation. Print prototypes in hours, obtain
powders, are somewhat limited but are inexpensive related feedback, rene designs and repeat the cycle until
to other additive processes [54]. Further, because different
designs are perfect;
materials can be dispensed by different print heads, 3D
l Improves Communication. Creates a full color, realistic
Printing can exercise control over local material composi-
3D model to impart innitely more information than
tion. Material can be in a liquid carrier, or it can be applied as
a computer image; create physical 3D models quickly,
molten matter. The proper placement of droplets can be used easily and affordably for a wide variety of applications
to create surfaces of controlled texture and to control the l Speeds Time to Market. Compress design cycles by 3D
internal microstructure of the printed part. printing multiple prototypes on demand, right in your
3.3.4. Applications l Reduces Development Costs. Cuts traditional proto-
Standard applications include design visualization, proto- typing and tooling costs. Identies design errors earlier.
typing/CAD, metal casting, architecture, education, geo- Reduces travel to production facilities
spatial, healthcare and entertainment/retail [55]. Other l Wins Business. Brings realistic 3D models to prospec-
applications would include reconstructing fossils in pale- tive accounts, sponsors and focus groups
ontology, replicating ancient and priceless artifacts in
3.3.6. Limitations
archeology, reconstructing bones and body parts in forensic
pathology and reconstructing heavily damaged evidence l Lack of material strength for large sized objects [57];
acquired from crime scene investigations. More recently, l Generated objects possess rough and ribbed surface
the use of 3D printing technology for artistic expression has nish due to plastic beads or large size powder particles;
been suggested. l 3D printers are expensive.
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 505

3.4. Inkjet Printing Function

3.4.1. History
The additive fabrication technique of inkjet printing is Assembly
based on the 2D printer technique of using a jet to deposit
tiny drops of ink onto paper. In the additive process, the
ink is replaced with thermoplastic and wax materials,
which are held in a melted state. When printed, liquid
drops of these materials instantly cool and solidify to
form a layer of the part. For this reason, the process if
often referred to as thermal phase change inkjet printing.
Several manufacturers have developed different inkjet
printing devices that use the basic technique described
above. Inkjet printers from Solidscape Inc., such as
the ModelMaker (MM), use a single jet for the build FIGURE 12 Inkjet printing process (Ceradrop). For color version of this
gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.
material and another jet for support material. 3D Systems
has implemented their MJM technology into their Ther-
moJet Modeler machines that utilize several hundred thermally insulated tubing to individual jetting heads.
nozzles to enable faster build times. Inkjet printing The jetting heads then disperses the material in the form
offers the advantages of excellent accuracy and surface of tiny droplets to create part geometry. As the jetting
nishes. However, the limitations include slow build heads continue to lay the material droplets, layers are
speeds, few material options, and fragile parts. As formed. The droplets begin to cool and harden immedi-
a result, the most common application of inkjet printing ately after leaving the jetting head. When one layer is
is prototypes used for form and t testing. Other appli- complete, a milling head passes over the previously
cations include jewelry, medical devices, and high- created layer to produce a uniform thickness. The mate-
precision products. rial particles created from this step are removed by
a vacuum as the milling process is taking place. Before
the next layer is created, the nozzles are checked to
3.4.2. Principle
assure that the ow path is clear. If the nozzles do not
The inkjet printing process, as implemented by Solidscape need to be cleaned, the table will move down a set
Inc., begins with the build material (thermoplastic) and distance for the next layer to begin. Once the part is
support material (wax) being held in a melted state inside complete, the support structures are melted away. This
two heated reservoirs. These materials are each fed to an type of machines is capable of a fast production of ne
inkjet print head which moves in the XeY plane and parts when using multiple jet heads. However, the accu-
shoots tiny droplets to the required locations to form one racy is lower when using multiple jet heads, and usually
layer of the part. Both the build material and support additional operations are required in order to obtain
material instantly cool and solidify. After a layer has been a uniform layer thickness.
completed, a milling head moves across the layer to
l Suspension inkjet [59]:
smooth the surface. The particles resulting from this
cutting operation are vacuumed away by the particle The main components of these inks are volatile organic
collector. The elevator then lowers the build platform and compounds (VOCs), organic chemical compounds that
part so that the next layer can be built. After this process is have high vapor pressures. Inkjet printing is performed by
repeated for each layer and the part is complete, the part the deposition of ceramic suspensions which dry by evap-
can be removed and the wax support material can be oration of the solvent that uses systems initially devoted to
melted away [58]. The technology is schematized below ink-jet printing on paper. The high print speed of many
(Fig. 12): solvent printers demands special drying equipment, usually
There are three types of Inkjet methods: thermal phase a combination of heaters and blowers. The substrate is
change inkjet, suspension inkjet and UV-curable inkjet. usually heated immediately before and after the print heads
apply ink.
l Thermal Phase Change Inkjet
l UV-curable inkjet:
During this process, the inkjet machines hold the build
and support materials at elevated temperatures in These inks consist mainly of acrylic monomers with an
a reservoir until the fabrication of the part beings. Once initiator package. After printing, the ink is cured by expo-
the process has begun, the liquid material moves through sure to strong UV-light. The advantage of UV-curable inks
506 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

is that they dry as soon as they are cured, they can be and reduction along with dispersion technique are
applied to a wide range of uncoated substrates, and they major components of ink formulation.
produce a very robust image. Disadvantages are that they
are expensive, require expensive curing modules in the 3.4.3. Applications
printer, and the cured ink has a signicant volume and so
l Three-dimensional printing constructs a prototype by
gives a slight relief on the surface. Though improvements
printing appreciably thick cross-sections of material
are being made in the technology, UV-curable inks, because
on top of one another [60];
of their volume, are somewhat susceptible to cracking if
l They are used in the production of Micro-
applied to a exible substrate. As such, they are often used
electromechanical systems (MEMS)
in large atbed printers, which print directly to rigid
l Inkjet printers are used to form conductive traces
substrates such as plastic, wood or aluminum where exi-
for circuits, and color lters in LCD and plasma displays;
bility is not a concern.
l This technique is in fairly common use in many labs
UV Curable Ink Properties and Functions:
around the world for developing alternative deposition
l Photoinitiators: Absorb the UV energy from the methods that reduce consumption of expensive, rare, or
light source on the print head. Chemical reaction problematic materials. These printers have been used in
occurs that converts the liquid ink into a solid lm. the printing of polymer, macromolecular, quantum dot,
l Monomers: Used as solvents because of their metallic nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes etc. The
ability to reduce viscosity (thickness) and combine applications of such printing methods include organic
with other ink components. Hundred percent solids thin-lm transistors, organic light emitting diodes,
and do not release VOCs (volatile organic organic solar cells, sensors, etc;
compounds). Monomers also add improved lm l Inkjet technology is used in the emerging eld of bio-
hardness and resistance properties. printing (Fig. 13).
l Oligomers: Determine the nal properties of the Examples:
cured ink lm, including its elasticity, outdoor
performance characteristics and chemical resistance. 3.4.4. Advantages
l Colorants: Can be dye-based or pigment-based. l Multimaterial process;
Usually, pigment-based because of the greater light l Deposition of different materials on successive layers
fastness and durability of pigments compared with via a multinozzle system;
dyes. Pigments used in outdoor advertising and l No limitation relative to the material;
display applications have similar requirements to l High exibility as the 3D part is dened by CAD les
those used in automotive paints. Consequently, there [61];
is some crossover of use. While a pigment is selected l High denition (z50 mm) controlled by the aperture of
on the basis of the required application, size control the printing head.

FIGURE 13 Microelectronic devices using inkjet technology (Ceradrop, Limoges, France). For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the
online version of this book.
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 507

3.4.5. Limitations CAD le to the automated equipment which physically

builds the green part. The interest in this fabrication
l The ink is very expensive; technique appeared in different domains of applications:
l The lifetime of inkjet prints produced by inkjets using microelectronics, with the elaboration of devices (lters,
aqueous inks is limited; they will eventually fade and resonators) with high dimensional resolution and density,
the color balance may change. On the other hand, biomedical implants of hydroxyapatite with controlled
prints produced from solvent-based inkjets may last porosities, structural complex alumina 3D parts. The
several years before fading, even in direct sunlight, process begins with the vat lled with the photocurable
and so-called archival inks have been produced liquid resin and the elevator table set just below the surface
for use in aqueous-based machines which offer of the liquid resin. The operator loads a three-dimensional
extended life; CAD solid model le into the system. Supports are
designed to stabilize the part during building. The trans-
3.5. Stereolithography lator converts the CAD data into a STL (* bmp) le. The
control unit slices the model and support into a series of
3.5.1. History cross sections from 0.025 to 0.5 mm (0.001e0.02000 ) thick.
The term stereolithography was introduced in 1986 by The computer-controlled optical scanning system then
Charles W. Hull. It was dened as a method for making directs and focuses the laser beam so that it solidies
solid objects by successively printing thin layers of the a two-dimensional cross-section corresponding to the slice
ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other [62]. on the surface of the photocurable liquid resin to a depth
Hull described a concentrated beam of ultraviolet light greater than one layer thickness. The elevator table then
focused onto the surface of a vat lled with liquid photo- drops enough to cover the solid polymer with another layer
polymer. The light beam draws the object onto the surface of the liquid curable suspension. A leveling wiper (or
of the liquid layer by layer, causing polymerization or cross vacuum blade recoating system) moves across the surfaces
linking to give a solid. Because of the complexity of the to recoat the next layer of resin on the surface. The laser
process, it must be computer-controlled. In 1986 Chuck then draws the next layer. This process continues building
Hull founded the rst company to generalize and the part from bottom up, until the system completes the
commercialize this procedure, which is currently based in part [65]. The part is then raised out of the vat and cleaned
Rock Hill, SC. More recently, attempts have been made at of excess polymer. The main components of the SLA
constructing mathematical models of the stereolithography system are a control computer, a control panel, a laser, an
process, and designing algorithms that will automatically optical system and a process chamber as shown in the
determine whether or not a proposed object may be con- gure below (Fig. 14):
structed by this process. Parts are built from a photocurable liquid resin that
cures when exposed to a laser beam (basically, undergoing
the photopolymerization process) which scans across the
3.5.2. Principle
surface of the resin [66]. The building is done layer by
SL is a RP technique that allows the fabrication of three- layer, each layer being scanned by the optical scanning
dimensional ceramic pieces with nal properties system and controlled by an elevation mechanism which
(mechanical, thermal.) close to those obtained by clas- lowers at the completion of each layer. The building
sical processing techniques. Its spatial resolution is sequence is presented below (Fig. 15):
z50 mm. SLA machines have been made since 1988 by The layer thickness is controlled by a precision
3D Systems of Valencia, CA. To this day, 3D Systems is elevation mechanism. It will correspond directly to the
the industry leader, selling more RP machines than any slice thickness of the computer model and the cured
other company. Because it was the rst technique, it is thickness of the resin. The limiting aspect of the RP
regarded as a benchmark by which other technologies are system tends to be the curing thickness rather than the
judged. Early made prototypes were fairly brittle and resolution of the elevation mechanism. The important
prone to curing-induced distortion, but recent modica- component of the building process is the laser and its
tions have largely corrected these problems. This optical scanning system. The key to the strength of the
technology uses a UV laser beam that induces photo- SLA is its ability to rapidly direct focused radiation of
polymerization of a reactive system, consisting in the appropriate power and wavelength onto the surface of the
dispersion of ceramic particles into a green shape solid. liquid photopolymer resin, forming patterns of solidied
The polymerization of patterns in stacked layers leads to photopolymer according to the cross-sectional data
the creation of complex 3D objects, as presented in the generated by the computer. In the SLA, a laser beam with
research of Halloran and Chartier [63,64]. The data of the a specied power and wavelength is sent through a beam
object to build is transferred from a three-dimensional expanding telescope to ll the optical aperture of a pair of
508 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

FIGURE 14 SL process (successive layers production). For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.

FIGURE 15 Building sequence in SL. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.

cross axis, galvanometer driven, and beam scanning scanning speed (ns) and beam radius (u0) through the
mirrors. These form the optical scanning system of the following equation:
SLA. The beam comes to a focus on the surface of a liquid
photopolymer, curing a predetermined depth of the resin 2P0
after a controlled time of exposure (inversely proportional Ei (1)
pu0 vs
to the laser scanning speed). The solidication of the
liquid resin depends on the energy per unit area (or 3.5.3. Materials and Photopolymerization
exposure) deposited during the motion of the focused spot
on the surface of the photopolymer. There is a threshold
exposure that must be exceeded for the photopolymer to There are many types of liquid photopolymers that can be
solidify. To maintain accuracy and consistency during part solidied by exposure to electro-magnetic radiation,
building using the SLA, the polymerized thickness (Ep) including wavelengths in the gamma rays, X-rays, UV and
and the cured line width (Lp) must be controlled. As such, visible range, or electron-beam. The vast majority of
accurate exposure and focused spot size become essential. photopolymers used in the commercial RP systems,
Parameters which inuence performance and functionality including 3D Systems are low viscosity acrylate oligomers
of the parts are the physical and chemical properties of the and monomers.
resin, the speed and resolution of the optical scanning SLA machines are curable in the UV range. UV-curable
system, the power, wavelength and type of the laser used photopolymers are resins which are formulated from pho-
the spot size of the laser, the recoating system, and the toinitiators and reactive liquid monomers/oligomers. There
post-curing process. The projected density of energy Ei are a large variety of them and some may contain llers and
(mJ$cm2) is related to the nominal laser power (P0), other chemical modiers to meet specied chemical and
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 509

medium must be lower than 100 mPa.s at low shear

rates, in order to hold powder concentrations above
55 vol% and insure good weatherability of the ceramic
particles. In presence of a volume fraction F of
ceramic powder, the increase of the viscosity of the
reactive suspension can be evaluated by the Krie-
gereDougherty equation:
h b$F hF0
1 (3)
h0 F0

where h/h0 is the relative viscosity of the resin, F0 the

volume fraction of the ller for a close-packed particles
corresponding to an innite viscosity (no ow) and [h]
the intrinsic viscosity which depends on the shape of
particles (h 2.5 for spheres).
l The mechanical properties of the polymerized layers
FIGURE 16 Components of a UV curable medium. For color version of
this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book. (exibility, planarity). The polymerized layer should
exhibit high mechanical strength and planarity (Table 4).

mechanical requirements. They are therefore called reac- Figure 17 and Table 4 show the main resins used in SL
tive suspensions. The schematic illustration of a reactive process.
suspension is presented Fig. 16. The UV curable system is composed of a photoinitiator
The choice of formulation in SL is driven by the dissolved in a reactive oligomer. The photoinitiator is
physical and chemical properties of the reactive monomer/ chosen as a function of the laser wavelength. A reactive
oligomer. The main criteria of choice are: diluent may be added in order to improve the ow
behavior of the suspensions, due to its low viscosity. A
l Polymerization rate (reactivity). The threshold or ceramic material used is then chosen depending on its
critical energy of polymerization (Ec) should be suf- specic area, refractive index, and mean particle size. In
cient enough to generate the photopolymerization order to improve its dispersion in the UV curable
process according to BeereLambert law [67]: suspension and the homogeneity of the microstructure of
  the green part, the ceramic powder is rst deagglomerated
Ep Dpln (2) by attrition milling. This deagglomeration is performed
during several hours in solvent (ethanol) with the addition
where Ec is the critical energy for photopolymerization, of a dispersant on the dry powder basis. It is then intro-
which is the minimum input energy necessary to trigger duced in the reactive medium. The main steps involved in
the curing process, Dp is the cure depth or beam pene- the elaboration of a reactive suspension are presented in
tration depth. the Fig. 18.
l The rheology of the monomer/oligomer blend and The process through which photopolymers are cured is
of the suspension. The viscosity of the organic referred to as the photopolymerization process. It is a chain

TABLE 4 Physical Properties of Different Oligomer/Monomers used in SLA

Viscosity Mechanical
(mPa s) at 25  C Functionality properties f (functionality) Name of product
HDDA 12 2 Strong Hexanediol diacrylate
TDA 5 1 Flexible Tridecyl acrylate
UA 25,000 2 Strong Aliphatic urethane acrylate
PEAAM 70 3 Strong Amine modied polyether acrylate

DTPTA 700 4 Strong Di-Trimethylolpropane tetraacrylate

510 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

Urethane Acrylates Epoxy acrylates

Ex: Aliphatic UA
good weatherability High reactivity
of ceramic filler
Mechanical resistance

Amine modified
Polyester acrylates
High reactivity and
Flexibility and
polymerization rate

Special oligomers

Adhesion promoters

Resistant to agressive

FIGURE 17 Main resins used in SLA. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.

Stage 1 : Dispersant Milling during Drying at 70C

added (1 wt% 3 hrs in planetary Powder +
Powder / filler content) mills adsorbed
deaglomeration + ethanol V = 250trs/min dispersant

Stage 2 : Mixture : Addition of

Powder mixing Monomer + (PI) and Dispersed
with monomer (s) powder + suspension
and reactive diluant ;
diluent manual mixing

Stage 3 :

Viscosity and
reactivity tests
Ec, Ep, Dp)

FIGURE 18 Protocol to make a reactive suspension. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.

of reactions and its initiation stage is of photochemical high UV reactivity monomers/oligomers having a vinyl
nature. Multifunctional monomers/oligomers lead to a dense unsaturation, such as acrylates and methacrylates. Their
cross-linked 3D network upon curing. Radical photo- nature impacts the nal properties of the reticulated poly-
polymerization is the most used reaction for stereo- mer: elastic and opaque in case of acrylates; hard and
lithography applications. It takes place within the curing of transparent in case of methacrylates. Due to the faster cure
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 511

response of acrylates, the liquid to solid phase change is The irradiation of the monomer/oligomer instantly
immediate (~0.2 s) upon intense radiation. The group of leads to an increase of np that reaches its maximum in a few
polyester acrylates encloses a large variety of low viscosity seconds when most of the active double bonds are
oligomers with different functionalities and molar masses consumed [68,69]. This phenomenon results in an increase
(such as PEAAM resin used in this study). of the viscosity of the medium, leading to a gel formation at
The radical photopolymerization process of polyester the beginning of the polymerization. This effect is called
acrylates occurs in three stages: initiation, propagation and self-acceleration or gel effect. During this stage, the
termination. mobility of free radicals is limited in the reactive medium.
The self-acceleration is followed by a rapid decrease of
l Initiation
the polymerization rate. The viscosity continues to grow
The rst stage of the reaction corresponds to the initi- and the mobility of reactive species greatly decreases. This
ation, i.e. the activation of a monomer/oligomer molecule stage is called self-deceleration or glass stage and marks the
by the photoinitiator (PA). The photopolymerization vitrication state of the polymer. At the end of the photo-
undergoes its decomposition (PA*) under the inuence of polymerization reaction, the conversion rate is lower
UV irradiation in order to generate two free radicals R+1 and than 100%.
R+2 following the reaction: The technique used to determine the degree of the
reaction, respectively the rate of conversion, of an acrylate
PA ! PA / R+1 R+2
(4) double bond is Real-Time Infrared Spectroscopy (RTIR).
This technique is based on the variation in absorption
One or both radicals will combine with a molecule of
of reactive functions at each time of the reaction. For one of
the monomer/oligomer (M), and therefore generates a new
the most used oligomer-amine modied polyether acrylate
radical RM, able to propagate the polymerization reaction
(PEAAM) in stereolithography formulations, the rate of
as follows:
conversion at each point of the photopolymerization reac-
R M / RM (5) tion has been estimated using the following formula:
The rate of initiation na is directly related to the quantum
yield of initiation fa and to the absorbed radiation intensity Iabs. A810or1636 A810or1636
 t 1720
A0 At
va fa $Iabs (6) acrylate
%Ct 810or1636
 100 (10)
l Propagation A1720
This stage corresponds to the successive addition of where A0 is the initial absorbance with no radiation and At
monomer/oligomer units on the growing polymer chain, in is the absorbance at a time t of the radiation. The two bands
order to generate larger radicals: B810 and B1636 were used to follow the absorption
decrease of the acrylate function (Fig. 19).
RMn M / RMn1 (7) The rate of polymerization (Rp) has been obtained by
The rate of propagation yb, reecting the variation of the derivation of the rate of conversion versus time.
monomer/oligomer concentration [M], along the reaction is:
 3.5.4. Applications
vp kp RMn $M (8)
The SLA technology provides manufacturers with cost
where kp is the propagation rate constant. justiable methods for reducing time to market, lowering
product development costs, gaining greater control of their
The kinetics of the photopolymerization reaction of design process and improving product design. It offers
multifunctional acrylates shows a particular behavior: self- a variety of real world applications in diverse elds from
acceleration and self-deceleration phenomena accompa- manufacturing to biomedicine [70]. Before taking a design
nied by an incomplete conversion of functional groups. into full-scale production, stereolithography allows busi-
l Termination nesses to evaluate their design for feasibility, manufactur-
ability, ergonomics, and esthetics without slow and costly
The termination corresponds to the end of the photo-
prototyping. Models can also be tested using Optical Stress
polymerization process, i.e. the end of the chain growth.
Analysis to study the effects of external loadings, torsion,
The rate of termination nt is expressed by:
tension, pressure and placed in wind tunnels to measure

nt kt RMn (9) aerodynamics. Manufacturing rms also use SLA models
for casting, tooling and production line design. Businesses
where kt is the termination rate constant. also use these models as a marketing tool since it enables
512 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

(a) 0,55
0,5 C=O

0,3 C=
0,1 C=C
1700 1500 1300 1100 900 700
Wavenumber (cm-1)

(b) 100 9
90 8
Conversion rate (%)

80 7

Rp (%.s-1)
20 2
10 1
0 0
0 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54
Time (s)
FIGURE 19 PEAAM resin: (a) FTIR spectrum. (b) Rate of conversion. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of
this book.

them to present a physical representation of the product High frequency operation circuits, due the fabrication
before production is complete. SL prototyping lowers the precision and spatial resolution of the technique [71]. SLA
cost of production while increasing product durability, is widely used in biomedicine for bone scaffold tissue
beneting both industry and consumers. SLA is also engineering and the fabrication of biocompatible implants
becoming prevalent in the eld of biomedical engineering. used as bone substitute in the human body (3DCeram,
Surgeons are able to make models of patients and implants Limoges, France) (Fig. 21).
to practice delicate routines in advance. These models are
also being used to educate families, patients, and students.
3.5.5. Advantages
SL is used to fabricate different structural 3D parts used One of the appealing aspects about SL is that a functional
in different areas as shown Fig. 20: part can be created within one day [72]. The length of time
It is particularly suited for the fabrication of complex it takes to produce any one part depends on the size and
3D microdevices such as resonators and RF lters used in complexity of the project and can take anywhere from a

FIGURE 20 Different parts made by SLA (3D Ceram, Limoges, France). For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of
this book.
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 513

FIGURE 21 Biomedical applications of SLA process (3D Ceram, Limoges, France). For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online
version of this book.

few hours to more than a day. Most SL machines can for the microfabrication of complex three-dimensional
produce parts with a maximum size of approximately parts, based on layer by layer polymerization of a photo-
50 cm  50 cm  60 cm (2000  2000  2400 ) and some are sensitive resin [74]. This technique has signicantly
capable of producing parts of more than 2 m in a single piece improved both lateral and vertical resolution of stereo-
(the Mammoth has a build platform of 210 cm  70 cm  lithography. As the fabrication method of this technique
80 cm). Prototypes made by stereolithography can be very relies on the space-resolved and light induced polymeri-
benecial as they are strong enough to be machined and can zation of a resin, the improvement of its resolution is
be used as master patterns for injection molding, thermo- mostly related to the reduction of the interaction volume
forming, blow molding, and also in various metal casting between light and matter. This objects made are destined in
processes. Moreover this technology has one of the best the elds of microrobotics, microuidics or microsystems.
surface nishes amongst RP technologies. Although most research teams involved in the micro-
stereolithography eld have investigated its use as
3.5.6 Limitations a microfabrication technique, the most promising applica-
The main disadvantage of stereolithography is that the tion eld of this technology is nevertheless the RP domain
process is often expensivedthe photocurable resin costs that faces an increasing demand of small-size high-reso-
anywhere from $80 to $210 per liter. The parts made lution prototype parts. This unique technology provides
by stereolithography often require post-curing and post- building of complex microstructures used in electrome-
processing [73]. The last one includes the removal of the chanical systems (MEMS). In principle, this technique uses
support and residual noncured suspension. This could an UV light beam (365 nm) that scans the surface of
damage the part and is time consuming. a digital mask (DMD) and by reection, comes into contact
with the surface of a photosensitive resin and induces
a process of photopolymerization.
3.6. Microstereolithography (mSLA)
3.6.1. History 3.6.2. Principle
Microstereolithography, a technique derived from the The fabrication process of a part by micro-
stereolithography process, has emerged as a new technique stereolithography rstly consists in the creation of a CAD
514 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

le of the object to build. Then the CAD le is converted The schematic diagram of integral microstereo-
to STL le. This one contains the closed surfaces of the lithography (SPCTS Laboratory, Limoges, France) is
3D model of the object, broken down into elementary shown on Fig. 22.
triangles. Then the object is digitally sliced, allowing
l Digital Micromirror Device (DMD)
dening the forms for each layer to cure. The nal le
(with the process parameters-beam intensity, scanning The Digital Micromirror Device made by Texas
speed) is nally sent to the automated machine to begin Instruments, is widely used in video projection applications
the process technology. and has been used as dynamic mask in integral micro-
The high dimensional accuracy of this technique has stereolithography machines. This component is in fact an
been achieved using a dynamic mask composed of a matrix array of micromirrors actuated by electrostatic forces, and
of 1024  768 micromirrors (DigitalMicromirror device, is used as a light switch in the mSLA [76] Each 14 mm
Texas Instruments) with a size of 14 microns [75]. Each square mirror can be independently actuated either to
individual micromirror can be rotated 12 . The source of reect the incident light beam either into or out of the pupil
radiation consists of a UV light source (Hammamatsu) of the optical system, such that the corresponding pixel of
including an optical waveguideanda365 nm lter. An inte- the projected image appears bright or dark. For video
grated shutter allows the control of the exposure time and projection applications, gray levels and colored images can
the projected energy density. The beam scans the surface of be produced by combining the rapid on/off movement of
the DMD onto which is loaded the section of the object to the mirrors with a rotating color wheel, but these features
build. The reected image of the object passes through an are not used in the mSLA apparatus. The rst micro-
optical system comprising a focusing lens that provides stereolithography machine using the DMD component as
a transmission above 83%, and is then projected onto the dynamic mask was developed by Bertsch et al. and used
work surface onto which a photosensitive resin is spread a metal halide lamp combined with optical lters to select
out. For a magnication of 1, the dimensions of the object a band of visible wavelength for the irradiation of the resin.
vary between 5 mm and 30 m (lateral resolution of the Different photopolymerizable resins were developed for
system). This is due to the light scattering contribution of this apparatus. In a rst step, a high resolution resin
the ceramic particles in a curable suspension. A spreading reacting at 530 nm was used.
and deposit systems control the uniformity and thickness of It allowed the manufacture many components, but
the thin layers. The resolution of the technique (at SPCTS showed important curl deformations. In a second step,
laboratory, Limoges, France) is determined by the size of resins reacting at 410 nm were developed. Their compo-
the micromirrors (14 mm). There are two types of micro- sition is a lot closer to conventional acrylate-based ster-
stereolithography processes: laser and integral. Integral eolithography resins, even if they do not react with UV
microstereolithography processes (also named projection light, but in the blue part of the visible spectrum.
microstereolithography) are based on the projection of an A second machine was later built by the same research
image created by a dynamic mask on the surface of the team with an improved resolution (XGA: 1024  768 pixels),
photosensitive resin, and consequently, the object to be built and an irradiation in the UV. An acrylate-based resin was
is described by a series of black and white bitmap les formulated specically for this machine, which was
rather than by vectors as it is the case in scanning methods. used in an industrial context to produce high-resolution
These bitmap les are then used to shape the light beam prototypes.
using a dynamic mask, such that the image of each layer can
3.6.3. Materials
be projected on the surface of the liquid resin after being
reduced and focused by an appropriate optical system. The The fabrication sequence, materials used and photo-
projected image induces a solidication of the irradiated polymerization process are the same as in stereolithography
areas, and a shutter controls the duration of the irradiation ones. The curable suspension contains a reactive oligomer/
step. The superposition of many layers of different shapes monomer, a photoinitiator and a ceramic powder in concen-
allows the fabrication of a complex object in a similar way tration above 50 vol% in order to obtain a high density and
as for conventional RP techniques. good mechanical properties of the sintered part. Here, the
Integral microstereolithography processes are inher- viscosity of the suspensions should not exceed 5 Pa.s.
ently faster than scanning techniques, as the irradiation Therefore it is possible to improve the quality and resolution
of a complete layer is done in one-step, regardless to its of the polymerized layers by adding a high viscosity oligomer
complexity. Additionally, the light ux density on the such as amine modied polyether acrylates.
surface of the photopolymerizable resin is much smaller
3.6.4. Applications
when projecting an image than when focusing a light
beam in one point, which allows avoiding problems As the market for miniaturized products grows rapidly,
related to unwanted thermal polymerization. there is also an increasing need for high-resolution
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 515

Labview program
DMD (Texas Instruments)
Digital Micro mirror Device


SPCTS Laboratory ON
European Ceramic Center
Parc Technopole dEster
12, rue Atlantis
87068 Limoges

Convergent lens


Deposition system
FIGURE 22 Schematic presentation of integral mSLA apparatus. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online version of this book.

prototype parts. When small size objects have to be built In the electro-technical industry, microstereolithography
with dimensions of only a few millimeters or less, current can be used for the prototyping of small connectors, and
RP technologies are limited with respect to the feasibility other microdevices.
of small features: openings and small holes are difcult to This technique has also been used for prototyping
make and have to be cleaned once the prototype is built, MEMS components and optimizing their geometry, before
which is particularly difcult. Another aspect, which has to investing in photomasks and using more conventional
be taken into consideration for small components, is that technologies for mass production. In the future, the
manual surface nishing can be of a great challenge. manufacturing of hybrid polymer structures by combining
Microstereolithography is used for the manufacturing of various types of polymers, such as conductive polymers,
small size high-resolution components [77]. There is polymers of various refractive index or exible polymers
a growing demand of high-resolution prototype objects in could also lead to the creation of new optical, chemical and
particular in the medico-technical industry. For example, biochemical microsystems with the microstereolithography
medical devices in which optical and chemical sensors technology.
could be embedded require very high precision and de- Example:
nition that microstereolithography has to offer. An example of a complex 3Dresonator microstructure
Hearing-aid manufacturers try to design lightweight produced by the process of microstereolithography is
products small enough not to be detected, comfortable, with shown in Fig. 23 [78]. This resonant structure is composed
rounded shapes to be close from the natural geometry of the of three different parts. The rst part represents stacks of
ear canal. For such applications it is necessary to prototype rods with a missing row in the middle. The other two parts
small mechanical components with very specic details. are metallized alumina plates and placed above and below
Most 3D models made by microstereolithography can the stacks of rods, forming a sandwich structure. The
also be used as a simulation tool for medical teams before dimensions of the cavity created are 1.33 mm 
exercising an operation. 1.33 mm  0.65 mm and operate between 140e145 GHz in
516 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

FIGURE 23 Resonator structure: stack of rods

between two parallel plates (SPCTS Laboratory,
Limoges, France). For color version of this gure, the Rod
reader is referred to the online version of this book.


500 m


the fundamental mode TE101 (the electric eld is polarized 4. DATA FILE FORMATS
along the axis of the rods).
This low-loss alumina compact structure can be easily 4.1. STL File Format
integrated into microwave circuits for signal ltering, while The natural le format for RP techniques such as ster-
providing are latively high quality factor (2500) and eolithography would be a series of closed polygons
a reection coefcient z100%. corresponding to different Z-values. However, since its
possible to vary the layer thicknesses for a faster though
3.6.5. Advantages less precise build, it seemed easier to dene the model
to be built as a closed polyhedron that could be sliced at
Unlike stereolithography, microstereolithography uses an
the necessary horizontal levels [81]. The STL le format
integral irradiation of the layer section to be built thus
is capable of dening a polyhedron with any polygonal
creating less fabrication defects (the density of energy is
facet, but in practice its only ever used for triangles,
evenly distributed along the surface of the represented
which means that much of the syntax of the ASCII
section) [79]. By operating with higher volume rate of
protocol is superuous. STL les are supposed to be
oligomer in the compositions, it is possible to improve the
closed and connected like a combinatorial surface,
denition of the created objects and to reduce the lateral
where every edge is part of exactly two triangles, and
overcure phenomenon.
not self-intersecting. Since the syntax does not enforce
this property, it can be ignored for applications where
3.6.6. Limitations
the closeness doesnt matter. The closeness only matters
One of the major limitations of the microstereolithography insofar as the software which slices the triangles
technology is related to the materials that can be used in requires it to ensure that the resulting 2D polygons are
this manufacturing technique: only a few polymers can be closed. Sometimes such software can be written to clean
used, acrylates in general or eventually epoxies. Because of up small discrepancies by moving endpoints of edges
their three-dimensional geometry, most objects produced that are close together so that they coincide. STL is
by microstereolithography cannot be molded, which im- a le format native to the stereolithography CAD soft-
plies that, for some applications, microstereolithography is ware created by 3D Systems. This le format is sup-
no longer a RP technology but a manufacturing technique ported by many other software packages; it is widely
[80]. In this case, the produced objects need to have used for RP and CAM. STL les describe only the
adequate mechanical, chemical or physical characteristics. surface geometry of a three-dimensional object without
As a result, studies on the use of new materials for any representation of color, texture or other common
microstereolithography have been started, and in particular CAD model attributes. The STL format species both
on the use of composite materials made of ceramic particles ASCII and binary representations. Binary les are more
embedded in a polymer matrix as reactive medium in this common, since they are more compact. In 2011, ASTM
technology. replaced the STL format with the Additive
The ultimate goal is the production of microcomponents Manufacturing File Format (AMF), which has native
in ceramic materials, which can be obtained by sintering support for color, multiple materials, and constellations.
the composite. However, for sintering successfully such An STL le describes a raw unstructured triangulated
composite components, the load of particles embedded in surface by the unit normal and vertices (ordered by the
the resin has to be sufciently high, which increases right-hand rule) of the triangles using a three-dimen-
signicantly the viscosity of the chemical media. sional Cartesian coordinate system.
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 517

l ASCII STL le. There are at least two variations on the binary STL
format for adding color information:
An ASCII STL le begins with the line:
solid name l The VisCAM and SolidView software packages use the
where name is an optional string (though if name is two attribute byte count bytes at the end of every
omitted there must still be a space after solid). The le triangle to store a 15 bit RGB color:
continues with any number of triangles, each represented as l bit 0e4 are the intensity level for blue (0e31)
follows: l bits 5e9 are the intensity level for green (0e31)

l bits 10e14 are the intensity level for red (0e31)

facet normal ni nj nk
n bit 15 is 1 if the color is valid
n bit 15 is 0 if the color is not valid (as with normal
vertex v1x v1y v1z
vertex v2x v2y v2z STL les)
vertex v3x v3y v3z l The Materialize Magics software does things a little
endloop differently. It uses the 80 byte header at the top of the le
endfacet to represent the overall color of the entire part. If color is
where each n or v is a oating point number in sign- used, then somewhere in the header should be the ASCII
mantissa e-sign-exponent format, e.g. 2.648000e- string COLOR followed by four bytes representing
002. The le concludes with: red, green, blue and alpha channel (transparency) in the
endsolid name range 0e255. This is the color of the entire object unless
The structure of the format suggests that other possi- overridden at each facet. Magics also recognize
bilities exist (e.g. facets with more than one loop, or loops a material description; a more detailed surface charac-
with more than three vertices) but in practice, all facets are teristic. Just after COLOR RGBA specication
simple triangles. White space (spaces, tabs, new lines) may should be another ASCII string, MATERIAL fol-
be used anywhere in the le except within numbers or lowed by three colors (3  4 bytes): rst is a color of
words. The spaces between facet and normal and diffuse reection, second is a color of specular high-
between outer and loop are required light, and third is an ambient light. Material setting
wags are preferred over color. The per-facet color is
l Binary STL le. represented in the two attribute byte count bytes as
Because ASCII STL les can become very large, a binary follows:
version of STL exists. A binary STL le has an 80 char- l bit 0e4 are the intensity level for red (0e31)
acter header (which is generally ignoreddbut which l bits 5e9 are the intensity level for green (0e31)
should never begin with solid because that will lead most l bits 10e14 are the intensity level for blue (0e31)
software to assume that this is an ASCII STL le). n bit 15 is 0 if this facet has its own unique color
Following the header is a 4 byte unsigned integer indi- n bit 15 is 1 if the per-object color is to be used
cating the number of triangular facets in the le. Following
The red/green/blue ordering within those two bytes is
that is data describing each triangle in turn. The le simply
reversed in these two approachesdso whilst these formats
ends after the last triangle. Each triangle is described by
could easily have been compatible the reversal of the order
twelve 32-bit-oating point numbers: three for the normal
of the colors means that they are notdand worse still,
and then three for the X/Y/Z coordinate of each ver-
a generic STL le reader cannot automatically distinguish
texdjust as with the ASCII version of STL. After the
between them. There is also no way to have facets be
twelve oats there is a two byte unsigned short integer
selectively transparent because there is no per-facet alpha
that is the attribute byte countdin the standard format,
valuedalthough in the context of current RP machinery,
this should be zero because most software does not
this is not important.
understand anything else.
In both ASCII and binary versions of STL, the facet
UINT8 [80] e Header normal should be a unit vector pointing outwards from the
UINT32 e Number of triangles solid object. In most software this may be set to (0,0,0) and
foreach triangle the software will automatically calculate a normal based on
REAL32 [3] e Normal vector the order of the triangle vertices using the right-hand rule.
REAL32 [3] e Vertex 1 Some STL loaders check that the normal in the le agrees
REAL32 [3] e Vertex 2 with the normal they calculate using the right-hand rule and
REAL32 [3] e Vertex 3 warn you when it does not. Other software may ignore the
UINT16 e Attribute byte count facet normal entirely and use only the right-hand rule.
end Although it is rare to specify a normal that cannot be
518 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

calculated using the right-hand rule, in order to be entirely

portable, a le should both provide the facet normal and
order the vertices appropriately. A notable exception is
SolidWorks which uses the normal for shading effects.

4.2. Tessellated Model

Tessellation is the process of creating a two-dimensional
plane using the repetition of a geometric shape with no
overlaps and no gaps. Generalizations to higher dimen-
sions are also possible. Tessellations frequently appeared
in the art of M. C. Escher, who was inspired by studying
the Moorish use of symmetry in the Alhambra tiles during
a visit in 1922. Tessellations are seen throughout art
history, from ancient architecture to modern art. In Latin,
tessella is a small cubical piece of clay, stone or glass used
to make mosaics [82]. The word tessella means small FIGURE 24 A tessellation of a disk used to solve a nite element
square (from tessera, square, which in its turn is from problem. For color version of this gure, the reader is referred to the online
version of this book.
the Greek word for four). It corresponds with the
everyday term tiling which refers to applications of
tessellations, often made of glazed clay. Examples of l The maximum allowed angle between two adjacent
tessellations in the real world include honeycombs and approximation polygons (on the same face). This
pavement tiling. parameter ensures that even very small humps or
In the subject of computer graphics, tessellation tech- hollows that can have signicant effect to analysis will
niques are often used to manage datasets of polygons and not disappear in mesh.
divide them into suitable structures for rendering. Nor-
mally, at least for real-time rendering, the data is tessellated Algorithm generating mesh is driven by the parameters.
into a triangle, which is sometimes referred to as triangu- Some computer analyses require adaptive mesh, which is
lation. In computer-aided design the constructed design is made ner (using stronger parameters), in regions where
represented by a boundary representation topological the analysis needs more detail.
model, where analytical 3D surfaces and curves, limited to
faces and edges constitute a continuous boundary of a 3D 4.3. Other File Formats
body. Arbitrary 3D bodies are often too complicated to
analyze directly. So they are approximated (tessellated) 4.3.1. IGES Format
with a mesh of small, easy-to-analyze pieces of 3D
IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Specication) is a format
volumedusually either irregular tetrahedrons, or irregular
used to exchange graphics information between commercial
hexahedrons. The mesh is used for nite element analysis
CAD systems. It was setup as an American National Stan-
as shown on the Fig. 24.
dard in 1981. The IGES le can precisely represent CAD
The mesh of a surface is usually generated per indi-
models [83]. It includes not only the geometry information
vidual faces and edges (approximated to polylines) so that
(Parameter Data Section) but also topological information
original limit vertices are included into mesh. To ensure
(Directory Entry Section). In the IGES, surface modeling,
that approximation of the original surface suits the needs of
constructive solid geometry and boundary representation
the further processing, three basic parameters are usually
are introduced. Especially, the ways of representing the
dened for the surface mesh generator:
regularized operations for union, intersection, and differ-
l The maximum allowed distance between the planar ence have also been dened. The advantages of the IGES
approximation polygon and the surface (aka sag). standard are its wide adoption and comprehensive coverage.
This parameter ensures that mesh is similar enough to Since IGES was setup as American National Standard,
the original analytical surface (or the polyline is similar virtually every commercial CAD/CAM system has adopted
to the original curve). IGES implementations. Furthermore, it provides the entities
l The maximum allowed size of the approximation of points, lines, arcs, splines, NURBS surfaces and solid
polygon (for triangulations it can be maximum allowed elements. IGES is a generally used data transfer medium
length of triangle sides). This parameter ensures enough which interfaces with various CAD systems. Advantages of
detail for further analysis. using IGES over current approximate methods include
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 519

precise geometry representations, few data conversions, surfaces and curves. NURBS represent in compact form
smaller data les and simpler control strategies. However, geometrical shapes, and can be handled efciently by
the problems are the lack of transfer standards for a variety of programs while still allowing human interaction. The SLC
CAD systems and system complexities. le extension is also used by SolidTools for its solid
imaging. This RP component uses a database in the
4.3.2. HPGL Format translation of 3D geometry, to parts or physical models
that uses a variety of materials and resins. Files in the .slc
HPGL, sometimes hyphenated as HPeGL, was the primary le extension are the format used for output les by Stu-
printer control language used by HewlettePackard plotters. dioTools. A NURBS surface is translated rst to a le in
The name is a start for HewlettePackard Graphics the .slc le extension, before it can be read by the software
Language. It later became a standard for almost all plotters for the solid imaging machine. Furthermore, geometry
[84]. HewlettePackards printers also usually support HPGL from StudioTools can also be converted to a le in the .slc
in addition to PCL. The language is formed from a series of le extension. Files in this format are able to cut contours
two letter codes, followed by optional parameters. For in 2D of the three-dimensional base. An advantage to
instance an arc can be drawn on a page by sending the string: using the SLC le extension is that the geometry
description of NURBS in StudioTools is sliced directly,
AA100; 100; 50;
and so less iteration is needed between the primary
This means Arc Absolute, and the parameters place the geometry and the sent data to be built in the Solid Imaging
center of the arc at absolute coordinates 100,100 on the machine.
page, with a starting angle of 50 measured counter-
clockwise. A fourth optional parameter (not used here)
species how far the arc continues, and defaults to 5 . 4.3.4. LEAF File
Typical HPGL les start with a few setup commands, The LEAF or Layer Exchange ASCII Format is generated
followed by a long string of graphics commands. The by Helsinki University of Technology. To describe this data
original HP/GL-Language did not support denition of model, concepts from the object-oriented paradigm are
line width, as this parameter was determined by the pens borrowed. At the top level, there is an object called LMT-
loaded into the plotter. With the advent of the rst inkjet le (Layer Manufacture Technology le) that can contain
plotters, line width for the pens specied within the HP/ parts which in turn are composed of other parts or by layers
GL-les had to be set at the printer so it would know what [86]. Ultimately, layers are composed of 2D primitives and
line width to print for each pen, a cumbersome and error- currently the only ones which are planned for imple-
prone process. With HP/GL-2, denition of line width was mentation are polylines. For example, an object of a given
introduced into the language and allowed for elimination class is created. The object classes are organized in a simple
of this step. Also, among other improvements a binary le tree. Attached to each object class is a collection of prop-
format was dened that allowed for smaller les and erties. A particular instance of an object species the values
shorter le transfer times, and the minimal resolution was for each property. Objects inherit properties from their
reduced. parents. In LEAF, the geometry of an object is simply one
among several other properties.
4.3.3. SLC File
The SLC le extension is a CAD slice le that is used with
CAD software such as Rhinoceros 3D. A le in the .slc le
extension can be created using the Model works command RP is widely used in the automotive, aerospace, medical,
in Rhinoceros 3D and sent to the Rhino model [85]. The and consumer products industries. Although the possible
software has an edit box for slice les, from which you can applications are virtually limitless, nearly all fall into one of
also enter the name for the le in the .slc le extension that the following categories: prototyping, rapid tooling, or
you want stored. This can be sent to other 3D modeling rapid manufacturing. By exchanging prototypes early in the
machines such as Solidscape. The thickness of CAD slice design stage, manufacturing can start tooling up for
les in the .slc le extension can be edited in Rhinoceros production while the art division starts planning the pack-
3D, using a drop down menu that allow you to set the aging, all before the design is nalized. Prototypes are also
thickness of your build. Files in the .slc le extension can useful for testing a design, to see if it performs as desired or
be generated from slice created by meshes from a NURBS needs improvement. Engineers have always tested proto-
model. NURBS is also known as Nonuniform rational types, but RP expands their capabilities. First, it is now easy
B-spline and is a mathematical model, which is utilized in to perform iterative testing: build a prototype, test it,
computer graphics for the representation and generation of redesign, build and test, etc. Such an approach would be far
520 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

too time-consuming using traditional prototyping tech- l Sand Casting: a RP model is used as the positive pattern
niques, but it is easy using RP [87]. around which the sand mold is built. LOM models,
In addition to being fast, RP models can do a few things which resemble the wooden models traditionally used
metal prototypes cannot. For example, Porsche used for this purpose, are often used. If sealed and nished,
a transparent stereolithography model of the 911 GTI a LOM pattern can produce about 100 sand molds.
transmission housing to visually study oil ow. Snecma, l Investment Casting: some RP prototypes can be used as
a French turbomachinery producer, performed photoelastic investment casting patterns. The pattern must not
stress analysis on a SLA model of a fan wheel to determine expand when heated, or it will crack the ceramic shell
stresses in the blades. during autoclaving. Both Stratasys and Cubital make
investment casting wax for their machines. Paper LOM
5.1. Rapid Tooling prototypes may also be used, as they are dimensionally
stable with temperature. The paper shells burn out,
A much-anticipated application of RP is rapid tooling, the leaving some ash to be removed. To counter thermal
automatic fabrication of production quality machine tools. expansion in stereolithography parts, 3D Systems
Tooling is one of the slowest and most expensive steps in introduced QuickCast, a build style featuring a solid
the manufacturing process, because of the extremely high outer skin and mostly hollow inner structure. The part
quality required. Tools often have complex geometries, yet collapses inward when heated. Likewise, DTM sells
must be dimensionally accurate to within a hundredth of Trueform polymer, a porous substance that expands
a millimeter. In addition, tools must be hard, wear-resistant, little with temperature rise, for use in its SLS machines.
and have very low surface roughness (about 0.5 mm root l Injection molding: CEMCOM Research Associates,
mean square). To meet these requirements, molds and dies Inc. has developed the NCC Tooling System to make
are traditionally made by CNC-machining, electro- metal/ceramic composite molds for the injection
discharge machining, or by hand. All are expensive and molding of plastics. First, a stereolithography machine
time consuming, so manufacturers try to incorporate RP is used to make a match-plate positive pattern of the
techniques to speed the process. Peter Hilton, president of desired molding. To form the mold, the SLA pattern is
Technology Strategy Consulting in Concord, MA, believes plated with nickel, which is then reinforced with a stiff
that tooling costs and development times can be reduced ceramic material. The two mold halves are separated to
by 75% or more by using rapid tooling and related tech- remove the pattern, leaving a matched die set that can
nologies. Rapid tooling can be divided into two categories, produce tens of thousands of injection moldings.
indirect and direct [88].

5.1.1. Indirect Tooling 5.1.2. Direct Tooling

Most rapid tooling today is indirect: RP parts are used as To directly make hard tooling from CAD data is the biggest
patterns for making molds and dies. RP models can be achievement of rapid tooling. Realization of this objective
indirectly used in a number of manufacturing processes: is still several years away, but some strong strides are being
l Vacuum Casting: in the simplest and oldest rapid tool-
ing technique, a RP positive pattern is suspended in a vat l RapidTool: a DTM process that selectively sinters
of liquid silicone or room temperature vulcanizing polymer-coated steel pellets together to produce a metal
rubber. When the rubber hardens, it is cut into two mold. The mold is then placed in a furnace where the
halves and the RP pattern is removed. The resulting polymer binder is burned off and the part is inltrated
rubber mold can be used to cast up to 20 polyurethane with copper (as in the Keltool process). The resulting
replicas of the original RP pattern. A more useful mold can produce up to 50,000 injection moldings.
variant, known as the Keltool powder metal sintering
In 1996 Rubbermaid produced 30,000 plastic desk orga-
process, uses the rubber molds to produce metal tools.
nizers from a SLS-built mold. This was the rst widely sold
Developed by 3 M and now owned by 3D Systems, the
consumer product to be produced from direct rapid tooling.
Keltool process involves lling the rubber molds with
powdered tool steel and epoxy binder. When the binder l LENS is a process developed at Sandia National
cures, the green metal tool is removed from the rubber Laboratories and Stanford University that can create
mold and then sintered. At this stage the metal is only metal tools from CAD data. Materials include 316
70% dense, so it is inltrated with copper to bring it stainless steel, Inconel 625, H13 tool steel, tungsten, and
close to its theoretical maximum density. The tools have titanium carbide cermets. A laser beam melts the top
fairly good accuracy, but their size is limited to less than layer of the part in areas where material is to be added.
25 centimeters. Powder metal is injected into the molten pool, which
Chapter | 6.5 Rapid Prototyping of Ceramics 521

then solidies. Layer after layer is added until the part is The other major use of RM is for products that simply
complete. Unlike traditional powder metal processing, cannot be made by subtractive (machining, grinding) or
LENS produces fully dense parts, since the metal is compressive (forging, etc.) processes. This includes objects
melted, not merely sintered. The resulting parts have with complex features, internal voids, and layered structures.
exceptional mechanical properties, but the process
currently works only for parts with simple, uniform
5.3. Future Developments
cross sections. The system has been commercialized by
MTS corporation. RP is starting to change the way companies design and
l Direct AIM (ACES Injection Molding): a technique build products. There are several developments that
from 3D Systems in which stereolithography-produced improve manufacturing. One such improvement is
cores are used with traditional metal molds for injection increased speed [90]. RP machines are still slow by some
molding of high and low density polyethylene, poly- standards. By using faster computers, more complex
styrene, polypropylene and ABS plastic. Very good control systems, and improved materials, RP manufacturers
accuracy is achieved for about 200 moldings. Long are dramatically reducing build time. For example, Stra-
cycle times (~5 min) are required to allow the molding tasys (since January 1998) has introduced FDM Quantum
to cool enough that it will not stick to the SLA core. In machine, which can produce ABS plastic models 2.5e5
another variation, cores are made from thin SLA shells times faster than previous FDM machines. Continued
lled with epoxy and aluminum shot. Aluminums high reductions in build time make it possible rapid
conductivity helps the molding cool faster, thus short- manufacturing economical for a wider variety of products.
ening cycle time. The outer surface can also be plated Another future development is improved accuracy and
with metal to improve wear resistance. Production runs surface nish. Todays commercially available machines
of 1000e5000 moldings are envisioned to make the are accurate to ~0.08 mm in the xey plane, but less in the z
process economically viable. (vertical) direction. Improvements in laser optics and motor
l LOM Composite: Helysis and the University of Dayton control should increase accuracy in all three directions. In
are working to develop ceramic composite materials for addition, RP companies are developing new polymers with
LOM. LOM Composite parts would be very strong and better mechanical properties and. The introduction of
durable, and could be used as tooling in a variety of nonpolymeric materials, including metals, ceramics, and
manufacturing processes. composites, represents another much anticipated develop-
l Sand Molding: at least two RP techniques can construct ment. These materials allow RP users to produce functional
sand molds directly from CAD data. DTM sells sand- parts. Todays plastic prototypes work well for visualiza-
like material that can be sintered into molds. Soligen tion and t tests, but they are often too weak for function 3DP to produce testing. More rugged materials would yield prototypes
ceramic molds and cores for investment casting, (Direct that could be subjected to actual service conditions. In
Shell Production Casting). addition, metal and composite materials will greatly
expand the range of products that can be made by rapid
5.2. Rapid Manufacturing
Many RP companies and research labs are developing
A natural extension of RP is rapid manufacturing (RM), new materials. For example, the University of Dayton is
the automated production of market products directly working with Helisys to produce ceramic matrix compos-
from CAD data [89]. Currently only a few nal products ites by LOM. An Advanced Research Projects Agency/
are produced by RP machines, but the number will Ofce of Naval Research sponsored project is investigating
increase as metals and other materials become more ways to make ceramics using FDM. Sandia/Stanfords
widely available. RM will never completely replace other LENS system can create solid metal parts.
manufacturing techniques, especially in large production Another important development is increased size
runs where mass-production is more economical. For capacity. Currently most RP machines are limited to objects
short production runs, however, RM is much cheaper, 0.125 m3 or less. Larger parts must be built in sections and
since it does not require tooling. It is also ideal for joined by hand. To remedy this situation, several large
producing custom parts tailored to the users exact spec- prototype techniques are in the works. The most fully
ications. A University of Delaware research project uses developed is Topographic Shell Fabrication from Formus in
a digitized 3D model of a persons head to construct San Jose, CA. In this process, a temporary mold is built
a custom-tted helmet. NASA is experimenting using RP from layers of silica powder (high quality sand) bound
machines to produce spacesuit gloves tted to each together with parafn wax. The mold is then used to
astronauts hands. From tailored golf club grips to custom produce berglass, epoxy, foam, or concrete models up to
dinnerware, the possibilities are endless. 3.3 m  2 m  1.2 m in size.
522 Handbook of Advanced Ceramics

At the University of Utah, a team is developing systems [12] Houde S, Hill C. What do prototypes prototype? In: Helander M,
to cut intricate shapes into 1.2 m  2.4 m sections of foam Landauer T, Prabhu P, editors. Handbook of human-computer
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In: Laurel B, editor. The art of human computer interface design.
such as tank turrets using robotically guided lasers. Group
Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley; 1990. p. 79e84.
leader Henry Watson states that product size is limited only
[14] Wong YY. Rough and ready prototypes: lessons from graphic
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One future application is Distance Manufacturing on design of scaffolds for use in tissue engineering. Part II. Rapid
Demand, a combination of RP and the Internet that will prototyping techniques 2002;8(1):1e11, Mary Ann Liebert Inc
allow designers to remotely submit designs for immediate pub.
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prototyping parts. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 2000:120e30,
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[18] Jain Prashant K, Senthilkumaran K, Pandey Pulak, M, Rao PVM.
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