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3D printing involves several different processes which require different “inks” or printing materials. The main ink used is a nylon-based fine powder, which feels similar to talcum powder and has a weight of roughly 88 kg for a 55-gallon drum. Printing powder used is purchased in large octagon-shaped totes directly from HP.
Once one of the large bins is received, the powder is transferred into 55-gallon drums using a vacuum-based filling system that is in place currently. This allows them to easily roll the drums of powder into the printing area. After the printing process, there is an excess of unused powder (basically the powders surrounding the 3D printed parts). This powder can be re-used a certain number of times – so after printing, they need to take this powder from the printer, remove the printed parts, and dump the unused powder back into the 55-gallon drums.
The solution proposed for this problem is the ARO 3” double diaphragm pump. For the first run, the pump went for about a min and a half until the pump eventually slowed to a stop. After removing the top manifold of the pump, we found one side of the pump completely packed with powder. After further investigation, we found that the air valve, which distributes air to each side of the intake to help fluidize the powder, was completely packed with wet powder from a previous trial
Forecast asked Burt Process to hang on to the powder pump for a bit longer so they can experiment with implementing this into their workflow. Utilizing a custom-designed, and 3D printed intake manifold for the pump created by Forecast, will allow easy and autonomous pumping of media without an operator present during the transfer. A total of three powder pumps will be used to address cross-contamination concerns of different printing powders.
Available in 1", 2", and 3" Parts
Optimized for this Application
Typical Gear Pumps for Ink
GJR:The GJR pump will be good with most pigmented inks, including very abrasive white ink. The GJR is currently available in two gear widths (N21 and N23).
GJM:Like the GJR, The GJM pumps will be good with any of the abrasive pigmented inks. The GJM is currently available in three gear widths (N21, N23, and N27). The main difference between the GJR and the GJM is gear material, nickel carbide (GJR) vs. PEEK (GJM). The GJM pump life may be less than the GJR in comparable applications.
GJ-380A:The Gj-380A Pump has proven to be good with UV Ink. The GJ is currently available in three gear widths (N21, N23, and N27). The GJ gear material is PEEK.
Where used, Ink jet Inks, ceramic Inks, and UV Inks
Ink Re-Circulation System & Diagram
Pumps work very well with recirculating systems