Fused Deposition of Ceramics: Progress Towards a Robust and Controlled Process for Commercialization
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The feasibility of using the Fused Deposition ofCeramics (FDC) process to rapidly fabricate functional quality advanced ceramic components has been demonstratedl - 5 . This direct manufacturing technique, by eliminating the need for costly tooling, dramatically reduces functional prototype development time. This makes it suitable for small quantity production runs and complex parts. The move from 'feasibility" to a robust, reliable commercial fabrication tool requires that every aspect ofthe manufacturing be understood and brought under control. An overview ofthe five basic process steps in FDC: batch compounding, filament fabrication, fused deposition, binder burnout and sintering will be presented in light ofthis drive toward a robust process. Tools such as Statistical Process Control and Experimental Design techniques are being used to monitor, improve, and stabilize each step and sub-process. Hardware and software modifications have been made to the FD machine to effect the required changes. This paper will identify the remaining technical barriers to commercialization and our progress in addressing these issues.