Extrusion Freeform Fabrication of Functional Ceramic PrototypeS
Extrusion Freeforming (EFF) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) processes are established freeforming techniques capable of fabricating complex shaped ceramic prototypes by the sequential deposition and solidification of green ceramic feedstock, layer by layer until the final part results. The freeforming of ceramic parts was accomplished using a commercially available Stratasys 3D Modeler retrofitted with a high-pressure extrusion head designed by Advanced Ceramics Research, Inc. (ACR). The manufactured objects had good dimensional tolerances, as well as real engineering compositions and microstructures. Ceramic feedstock based on two different silicon nitride powders were developed and successfully used to make prototype parts. Mechanical properties and microstructural characterization of prototype parts were performed.