An introduction to

Binder Jetting

Binder Jetting is a 3D printing technology that creates parts by selectively depositing a binding agent onto a powder bed, layer by layer. 

This process, which was first developed in the early 1990s at MIT, differs significantly from other additive manufacturing methods by using a liquid binder to join powder particles, rather than melting the material with a laser or extruder. 

Binder Jetting is valued for its ability to produce complex geometries, its scalability, and its versatility in terms of materials.

How Binder Jetting 3D Printing Works

A digital 3D model is sliced into thin layers using specialized software. The powder material, which can be metal, sand, ceramics, or polymers, is spread evenly across the build platform.

Binder Application
A print head moves across the powder bed, selectively depositing the liquid binder according to the cross-section of the first layer of the 3D model. The binder acts as a glue, bonding the powder particles together.

The build platform lowers slightly, and a new layer of powder is spread over the previous layer. The binder is again selectively applied to create the next cross-section of the part. This process repeats until the entire part is formed.

Once printing is complete, the part typically undergoes a curing process to solidify the binder and enhance the part’s strength.

Depowdering and Post-Processing The unbound powder is removed, often through brushing or compressed air, and can often be recycled for future use. The part may then undergo additional post-processing steps, such as sintering (for metal parts), infiltration with another material, or surface finishing.

Advantages of Binder Jetting

Material Versatility
Binder Jetting can work with a wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics, sand, and polymers, making it suitable for diverse applications.

The technology is highly scalable and can produce multiple parts simultaneously, making it suitable for both prototyping and large-scale production.

No Thermal Stress
Unlike methods that use high temperatures, Binder Jetting doesn’t induce thermal stress in the parts, which can lead to warping or residual stresses.

Complex Geometries
The process can produce highly intricate and complex geometries, including internal structures and undercuts, without the need for support structures.

Desktop Metal


Shop System

The Shop System from Desktop Metal is a high-capacity 3D printing solution designed for the production of metal parts in a manufacturing environment. The Shop System can produce metal parts up to 10 times faster than traditional powder-based systems, with exceptional part quality and consistency.

Production System

Bring production-ready nylon 3D printing onto your benchtop with an affordable, compact selective laser sintering (SLS) platform. The Fuse 1 delivers industrial power in a small footprint with effective powder containment and easy setup. 

Materials Used in Binder Jetting 3D Printing

Binder Jetting is a versatile 3D printing technology that can process a wide range of materials, each offering unique properties and suitable for various applications. The primary materials used in Binder Jetting include metals, ceramics, sand, and polymers. Here’s an overview of these materials and their specific characteristics:

1. Metals
Binder Jetting is particularly popular for producing metal parts, especially for complex geometries and low-to-medium volume production. Common metals used include:

Stainless Steel - Widely used for its strength, corrosion resistance, and versatility. Applications include tooling, automotive components, and consumer products.
Inconel - A nickel-chromium-based superalloy known for its high-temperature resistance and strength. Ideal for aerospace and industrial applications.
Copper - Valued for its excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. Used in heat exchangers, electrical components, and decorative items.
Titanium - Known for its high strength-to-weight ratio and biocompatibility, making it suitable for aerospace, medical implants, and high-performance automotive parts.

Post-Processing Requirements for Metals
After printing, metal parts typically require sintering to fuse the particles together fully and enhance mechanical properties. In some cases, infiltration with a secondary metal (such as bronze) is performed to improve strength and density.

2. Ceramics
Ceramics are used in Binder Jetting for applications requiring high heat resistance, wear resistance, and electrical insulation. Common ceramic materials include:

Alumina (Aluminum Oxide) - Known for its hardness, thermal stability, and electrical insulation properties. Used in electronics, medical devices, and wear-resistant components.
Silicon Carbide - Valued for its extreme hardness and thermal conductivity. Suitable for high-temperature applications, abrasives, and cutting tools.
Zirconia (Zirconium Dioxide) - Offers high fracture toughness and thermal resistance. Used in dental implants, cutting tools, and refractory materials.

Post-Processing Requirements for Ceramics
Ceramic parts usually require sintering to achieve full density and optimal mechanical properties. Glazing or additional surface treatments may also be applied to improve aesthetics and functionality.

3. Sand
Sand is predominantly used in Binder Jetting for creating molds and cores in metal casting. The main type of sand used is:

Silica Sand - Commonly used for its high purity and uniform grain size. Ideal for creating detailed and complex molds and cores for metal casting.

Post-Processing Requirements for Sand
Sand molds and cores typically require minimal post-processing. However, they may be strengthened by impregnating them with a resin or other binding agents to improve their structural integrity during the casting process.

4. Polymers
While not as common as metals and ceramics, polymers can also be used in Binder Jetting for specific applications, including:

PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate) - Often used for creating patterns and prototypes due to its ease of printing and post-processing.

PLA (Polylactic Acid) - A biodegradable polymer used for creating environmentally friendly prototypes and models.

Post-Processing Requirements for Polymers
Polymer parts may require curing or infiltration to enhance their mechanical properties and stability. Surface finishing techniques, such as sanding or painting, can also be applied to achieve the desired aesthetics.


Metal Parts - Production of metal components for aerospace, automotive, and industrial applications. The parts often require sintering and infiltration for enhanced mechanical properties.

Ceramics - Manufacturing of intricate ceramic parts for medical devices, electronics, and decorative items.

Sand Molds and Cores - Creating sand molds and cores for metal casting, enabling rapid prototyping and complex geometries in foundry applications.

Prototyping - Producing detailed prototypes in various materials for design validation and testing.