Saturday, March 26, 2005

Lay down white polymer powder for sintering as in SLS, but run an inkjet printer head over it as in the MIT system. In contrast to that, though, in the printhead there is a substance pretty rare in RP printheads, namely black inkjet printer ink. Behind the printhead you have a strip-heater the width of the scan. Now, the black printed-on powder will absorb more heat than the white, so you adjust the strip-heater temperature until the black powder just sinters and the white stays raw.

This is the opposite of Selective Inhibition Sintering.

A quartz-halogen heater would probably be best.

It might be a good idea if the ink did not wet the powder, as that way you would get a denser black because it would not soak in.

You may also have to flood the thing with CO2 or N2 to stop oxidation.

P.S. (6 April 2005): This is patented by Loughborough University, so we'll leave work on it to them.

How about white glass, marble or other cheap powder, laser print "toner" on surface containing just enough polymer to bind the powder together, fixate using heated silicon rubber coated roller just like the way ordinary laserprinters fixate toner on paper? OK, the machine would have to be totally dark and there should be some carbon powder mixed with the white powder to discharge the "toner". With some fantasy I could imagine that it would be possible to find powders that would result in rubber-like, metal-like or even very hard ceramics-like products.
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