High Speed Sintering of New Materials
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Additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, is a technology undergoing development which holds the potential for rapid and cheap production of complicated and exotic parts. Particularly, it is an excellent method of manufacturing when one wishes to minimize material wastage, and it can be used to produce geometries that would otherwise be difficult or impossible with conventional manufacturing techniques. One of the newest 3D printing technologies for thermoplastics is high speed sintering (HSS), which uses infrared light to sinter layers of thermoplastic powder coated in radiation-absorbent material with an ink-jet printer head. HSS is promising in that it has material requirements similar to that of selective laser sintering (SLS). Selective laser sintering is well established for many thermoplastics but is extremely expensive. Mostthermoplastics have not been applied to HSS due to a lack of understanding of the science behind HSS. This research aims to investigate the relationship between ink-jet printed thermoplastic powders and infrared light in order to test the versatility of HSS. Three thermoplastic powders, including Nylon 12, Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), and Polyether ketone (PEEK), were used for the experiments. PMMA and PEEK samples of one layer were printed well below their recommended processing temperatures by existing publications; however, they were successfully sintered, indicating the viability of PMMA and PEEK with HSS.