Binder Jetting: A Novel NdFeB Bonded Magnet Fabrication Process
by M. Parans Paranthaman, Christopher S. Shafer, Amy M. Elliott, Derek H. Siddel, Michael A. McGuire, Robert M. Springfield, Josh Martin, Robert Fredette, John Ormerod
The goal of this research is to fabricate near-net-shape isotropic (Nd)2Fe14B-based (NdFeB) bonded magnets using a three dimensional printing process to compete with conventional injection molding techniques used for bonded magnets. Additive manufacturing minimizes the waste of critical materials and allows for the creation of complex shapes and sizes. The binder jetting process works similarly to an inkjet printer. A print-head passes over a bed of NdFeB powder and deposits a polymer binding agent to bind the layer of particles together. The bound powder is then coated with another layer of powder, building the desired shape in successive layers of bonded powder. Upon completion, the green part and surrounding powders are placed in an oven at temperatures between 100°C and 150°C for 4–6 h to cure the binder. After curing, the excess powder can be brushed away to reveal the completed “green” part. Green magnet parts were then infiltrated with a clear urethane resin to achieve the measured density of the magnet of 3.47 g/cm3 close to 46% relative to the NdFeB single crystal density of 7.6 g/cm3. Magnetic measurements indicate that there is no degradation in the magnetic properties. This study provides a new pathway for preparing near-net-shape bonded magnets for various magnetic applications.