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3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, describes a variety of fabrication techniques that employ specialized hardware to build up functional 3-dimensional components layer-by-layer. When compared to traditional manufacturing methods, 3-D printing provides advantages in lower tooling and raw material costs; limits the production of waste; and requires minimal setup for the fabrication of very complex parts.

A number of different 3-D printing processes are currently available. Popular among them are so-called granular methods, in which a variety of techniques may be used to selectively fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders, layer-by-layer, into shapes determined by CAD data. Compared with other 3-D printing techniques, granular systems use construction materials that are low in cost and easy to obtain. Additionally, because unfused powder surrounds and supports the part as it is being built, granular systems are capable of producing complex finished parts with less difficulty than other 3-D printing methods.

Granular 3-D printing encompasses several subcategories, each of which is distinguished by the materials and methods used to produce the finished part. Selective sintering techniques use either lasers (SLS) or heat (SHS) to fuse thermoplastic particles together; electron beam melting (EBM) works similarly, but uses metal powder; and inkjet head 3-D printing uses a chemical agent to bind the particles together.

3-D Printing Adhesive Need

Granular methods are unique among 3-D printing techniques in requiring the help of an adhesive to form the finished part. Upon completion, finished parts are typically dipped into an adhesive bath that both coats and impregnates, adding strength and durability. This adhesive is referred to as an infiltrant, and is required to cure quickly over large surfaces with minimal odor or discoloration.

3-D Printing Adhesive Solution

Cyberbond’s 3-D printing customers have realized great success using our Apollo 5005 cyanoacrylate as an infiltrant for their parts. 5005’s customized viscosity allows quick curing without the side effects of a more aggressive cyanoacrylate; its ethoxyethyl base limits odor and blooming, while allowing for larger bath volume and subsequent infiltration of larger parts.