Austrian company Lithoz offers the CeraFab Lab L30 3D printer for photopolymer 3D printing of ceramic blanks. The new “laboratory” additive system is focused on increasing affordability for the benefit of consumables developers and research institutions that do not need more expensive industrial-class 3D printers.
CeraFab designs stereolithographic 3D printers specifically for 3D printing with photopolymers with ceramic fillers, with the expectation that the binder will be removed and the blanks sintered into full ceramic products. This requires the use of highly viscous resins with high filler content, which in turn necessitates various tricks like heating the consumable material and periodic mixing. One of the most interesting systems in the Lithoz range is the CeraFab Multi 2M30 3D printer, which allows printing with two materials at once.
In addition to 3D printers, the company also offers specialized consumables, including:
LithaLox HP 500 and LithaLox 350. Materials based on aluminum oxide of high purity (up to 99.99%) with high rigidity, corrosion and heat resistance;
LithaCon 3Y 210. Zirconia ceramic with high mechanical characteristics and biocompatibility;
LithaNit 770. Silicon nitride based ceramics with high strength, corrosion resistance and resistance to rapid temperature changes;
LithaBone TCP 300 and LithaBone HA 400. Materials based on beta-tricalcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite used in production of bone implants due to high biocompatibility and effective osseointegration.
LithaCore 450. Silicon ceramics with aluminum oxide and zirconium for the production of foundry cores.
The problem is that not all potential customers require industrial-level 3D printers. In particular, this applies to developers of consumables, usually working with small portions of photopolymers and composites, as well as researchers who are more interested in 3D printing miniature products. The new CeraFab Lab L30 is designed for them – a relatively inexpensive 3D printer that takes full advantage of Lithoz’s expertise.
CeraFab Lab L30 uses a digital projector and a proprietary rotary mixing and alignment system of consumables added in small portions. The build area size is 76x43x170 mm and the minimum required photopolymer volume is only 15 ml. For comparison, the industrial version of CeraFab S230 has a working volume of 192x120x320 mm. Layer thickness varies from 25 to 100 microns, productivity is enough to cure up to a hundred layers per hour.
The 3D printing settings are open, so users can experiment with a wide variety of materials. At the same time, the system has a fairly compact size, which is important in cramped lab environments. More information is available on the manufacturer’s official website.