9 Design Guidelines for Material Jetting Additive Manufacturing

While labor-intensive manufacturing jobs have been in decline for decades, the advanced manufacturing industry has a more promising future. Additive manufacturing is a growing job sector—and is a field that requires specialized skills.

Material jetting is one of those skills. According to the book, Design for Advanced Manufacturing, there are 9 general design guidelines for material jetting additive manufacturing:

1. To minimize printing time, parts should be oriented with their longest dimension in the X-direction (i.e., direction of printhead travel) and their shortest dimension in the Z-direction.

2. Fully enclosed, hollow cavities cannot be manufactured because of the need to manually remove the hydrophobic support material from printed parts.

3. Stratasys’s support material will impart a dull, matte surface finish on any surface that it touches, which increases surface roughness, but allows for more uniform part aesthetics (i.e., the “Matte” printing mode).

4. Due to their small layer thickness, material jetting systems have their best printing resolution in the Z-direction, rather than the XY plane.

5. In general, material jetting processes have a high degree of accuracy; dimensional deviations are often less than 0.1 mm (0.004 in.).

6. As printed channels become smaller than the diameter of the water jet, cleaning becomes more difficult and time consuming when using the hydrophobic support material common in the Stratasys PolyJet systems.

7. While features <1 mm (0.040 in.) can be successfully printed using material jetting, these features are difficult to retain following the often aggressive water jet cleaning needed to remove the PolyJet support material.

8. Parts are strongest in the X-axis direction and weakest in the Z-axis direction.

9. Strains on elastomeric parts should ideally be below 20% elongation to maximize fatigue life.

Engineering students first need to master the fundamentals of material properties before they can pursue coursework in advanced manufacturing.  To find out how interactive data visualization can transform the way students learn about material properties, download this free white paper: Using Interactive Data Visualization to Promote an Active Learning Experience for Engineering Students.


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