3DEO's novel process includes six steps:
1) Spread a Layer of Powder
The first step to the process is to spread a thin layer of metal spherical powder particles over the entire build platform. The layers can be very thin or relatively thick, depending on the geometry of the part and the features in that layer. The average layer thickness is 100 microns.
2) Bind the Layer
A low-cost spray head covers the entire layer with a proprietary binder. This binder is carefully applied to ensure it penetrates to an appropriate depth.
3) Cut the Layer
A CNC micro end-mill is used to “cut” the boundaries and internal features of the part. These cuts create channels that define the part as it is being built layer-by-layer.
4) Spread the Next Layer
Steps 1-3 are then repeated for every layer required to build the final green part. The height of the part determines how many layers need to be spread.
5) Sinter the Green Part
The green part created through this process is then inserted into a standard MIM debind and sinter furnace.
6) Finishing the Part
Depending on the application and customer requirements, the parts can then be finished with a variety of options for secondary operations.