Additive Manufacturing

Design for Material Jetting 302

Design for Material Jetting provides an overview of basic design considerations for material jetting. This course introduces users to the materials and mechanical processes associated with material jetting, also known as PolyJetting. Common materials used in material jetting include waxes and types of photopolymers that act like polymers such as ABS and polypropylene. This course also highlights finishing and post-processing challenges associated with material jetting, including factors for support and internal structures.

Material jetting has a wide range of manufacturing applications, including widespread usage in the medical field and the automotive industry. After completing the class, users will understand how various materials function during the design process for material jetting and how they are used in various applications. Users will also be able to recognize basic material considerations and design issues associated with material jetting.

  • Difficulty Beginner

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 13

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Material Jetting and DFAM
  • The Material Jetting Process
  • Material Jetting Materials
  • Material Properties for Material Jetting
  • Material Jetting Modulation
  • Material Jetting Process and Material Review
  • Material Jetting Design Software
  • Glossy and Matte Surfaces in Material Jetting
  • Design Issues for Material Jetting
  • Design Factors for Support Structures
  • Design Factors for Internal Structures
  • Finishing and Post-Processing
  • Final Review
  • Describe design for additive manufacturing as it relates to material jetting.
  • Describe the material jetting process.
  • Describe the types of materials used in material jetting.
  • Describe the properties of base resins used in material jetting.
  • Distinguish between the three main types of material jetting modulation.
  • Describe material jetting design software.
  • Contrast designing glossy and matte part surfaces in material jetting.
  • Describe design issues for material jetting parts.
  • Describe design factors for support structures in material jetting.
  • Describe design factors for internal structures.
  • Describe finishing and post-processing challenges.
Vocabulary Term


Three-dimensional. Having a length, depth, and width. Most physical objects are three-dimensional.

3D printing

The process of producing a 3D object using a specialized tool that creates successive layers of material. 3D printing must technically involve the use of a print head or nozzle, but the term is often used interchangeably with additive manufacturing (AM).


ABS. A thermoplastic material with good heat, chemical, and impact resistance. Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene is used to manufacture medical equipment housing.

additive manufacturing

AM. The process of successively layering materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional computer model. Additive manufacturing allows for rapid prototyping, mass customization, and increased part complexity.


Additive manufacturing. The process of successively layering materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional computer model. AM allows for rapid prototyping, mass customization, and increased part complexity.


Unblended or raw. The base is essentially the foundation.


The process of mixing materials. Blending is used in material jetting to combine two base resins together.


Capable of destroying organic or inorganic material by chemical action. Caustic substances can cause injury, which can be avoided by wearing appropriate PPE.

computer-assisted design

CAD. Computer software used to create a 3D model of a part before it goes into prototyping or production. Computer-aided design models are digital representations of the different aspects of a part.


In the five-step design process, this segment forms an idea about a possible part or manufactured good. Conceptualization is one of the initial stages of design for manufacturing (DFM) or design for additive manufacturing (DFAM).

degradation rate

The amount of time it takes for material to deteriorate. Degradation rates measure deterioration due to friction, heat, and chemical reactions.


In the five-step design process, the creation of the actual part specifications. Designing involves creating the blueprints and prototypes for a part.

design for additive manufacturing

DFAM. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating an additively manufactured part that functions optimally. Design for additive manufacturing allows engineers to mostly focus on part functionality.

digital material

A specially blended composite material created from different types of basic resins. Digital materials enable material jetting designers to control part qualities such as strength, rigidity, and color.


The measure of a material's ability to be drawn, stretched, or formed without fracturing. The ductility of plastic depends on its molecular structure.


Designed to be used directly by a consumer or directly in another manufactured product. End-use products created by additive manufacturing (AM) include medical implants, custom dental devices, and camera equipment.

escape hole

A design solution for removing excess materials from a hollow part. Escape holes are used in material jetting to safely reduce the risk of damage to a part during post-processing.


A rounded internal corner. A fillet adds strength to the corner of a part.


A customized workholding device used on machine tools to position and hold a part during various machining operations. A fixture is built to hold a specific part design.

flash cure

To cause a material to bond and solidify by exposing it to a flash of ultraviolet (UV) light. Material jetting systems use an ultraviolet lamp to flash cure build materials as they are deposited on to a build platform.


A tweezer-like instrument used for pinching. Forceps are used in the medical field for surgery and must be biocompatible.

functional prototype

A part model produced through additive manufacturing that represents the composition and design of the final part. Functional prototypes are used to test how a part will perform in its intended application.

G code

A programming language that uses letters and numbers to form commands for machine tools. G code programs are used to direct tool movements in additive manufacturing, CNC machining, and hybrid machining.


A sleek surface with shine. Glossy surfaces are difficult to print under support structures, especially with material jetting.


A colorless, odorless liquid used to make polyester fibers and antifreeze. Glycerol is a protective material used to post-process material jetted parts.


Additive manufacturing process containing a series of changes in material composition. Gradation allows a single, solid part to have different materials, properties, or colors in different places.

hand drill

A hand-held tool used to create holes or drive screws. Manufacturing hand drills require a number of different materials, including multiple types of plastic.

investment casting

A casting process that creates intricate shapes using an expendable wax pattern and mold. Investment casting is also called precision casting and lost-wax casting.


Repeating actions and steps in processes. Iteration is an important aspect of design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) because it allows for constant and quick re-designs during initial stages.


A point at which two objects or materials are connected, usually facilitating movement between the objects or materials. Joints can be directly manufactured using additive manufacturing (AM) with no additional assembly required.


Able to be formed or shaped through impacts or pressure. Malleable materials do not break or fracture easily.

material jetting

An additive manufacturing (AM) method in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited onto a build platform. Material jetting, or PolyJetting, systems use a photopolymer that is cured by ultraviolet (UV) light.


A dull surface without shine. Matte surfaces made with material jetting require an object to be covered with wax support material.


A dull surface without shine. Matte surfaces require more material and more post-processing, especially with material jetting.

melting point

The temperature at which resin becomes liquid. When a hardened resin melts to a liquid, the molecules can move about freely.


A metric measurement equal to 0.000001 of a meter, or approximately 0.000039 of an inch. Micron is a shorter term for micrometer.

mixed part

An additive manufacturing (AM) process where a combination of build materials are fabricated together to build a single part. Mixed parts are used to combine different materials for a part in one build tray.

mixed tray

An additive manufacture (AM) process in which a single build tray contains multiple items made with different types of materials. Mixed trays are used to build a wide range of parts in a single print job.


To adjust settings like frequency or strength. Modulating is used with material jetting to adjust the types of materials used to build a part.


A spout at the end of piping or tubing through which substances are funneled. Nozzles are used to distribute build material during some additive manufacturing processes.


Software that can create or convert files which represent the color, texture, and complex surface geometry. OBJ files are used in material jetting, similar to VRML files, to designate color or texture on a per face, or section, basis.

part orientation

The position of an additively manufactured part during its build process. Selecting the ideal part orientation involves balancing part quality and build times.

personal protective equipment

PPE. Any clothing or device worn to minimize exposure to hazards or prevent injury. Common additive manufacturing personal protective equipment includes gloves, safety goggles, and nonflammable clothing.


A thermoset polymer that cures and hardens when exposed to light. Photopolymers are used in material jetting and vat photopolymerization systems.


In the five-step design process, this segment assesses the best ways to create the conceptualized part. Planning involves initial considerations of the design and of the practical concerns related to the manufacturing process.


A manufacturing material consisting of large molecules, characterized by being lightweight, corrosion resistant, and having a low melting point. Plastic is usually easy to shape and form.


An additive manufacturing process in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited onto a build platform. PolyJetting, or material jetting, systems use a photopolymer that is cured by ultraviolet (UV) light.


PP. A polymer that is tough, flexible, and resistant to fatigue. Some proprietary thermosets are designed to mimic the properties of polypropylenes.


Personal protective equipment. Articles of clothing or safeguarding devices that workers use to prevent injury in the workplace. Safety glasses, insulated gloves, face masks, and earplugs are examples of PPE.

print heads

The moving component on a printer that holds and distributes the part build material. Additive manufacturing machines, such as those used in material jetting or binder jetting, have print heads.


In the five-step design process, the manufacturing of a finished part for delivery to a customer. Production is the final stage of design for manufacturing (DFM).


Designed by a specific company for use only with its own systems. Proprietary materials include many polymers and superalloys that have been designed for specific applications.


A preliminary model of a part used to evaluate the look and performance of a design. Prototypes are used to determine the specifications for the final part.

rapid prototype

A product development technique where additive manufacturing processes are used to create prototypes for a traditional manufacturing operation. Rapid prototyping allows engineers to quickly create a number of prototypes in a short time period, reducing lead time.

raw materials

An unprocessed or lightly processed component used to make the finished part. Raw materials in manufacturing include metal, polymer, and ceramic.


A raw polymer, usually in the form of beads or pellets, that is not yet molded into its final shape. Resin is melted to form plastic parts.


Resistant to bending. Rigid materials are stiff and inflexible and are useful in applications where a part must hold its shape.

sacrificial patterns

A disposable replica of the part or casting that is used to create a negative impression in a mold. A sacrificial pattern is used in investment casting.


A computer program that divides an STL file into layers for additive manufacturing (AM). Slicers, or slicing programs, can either be separate computer programs or part of the machine interface.


Coded instructions or programs that control computer hardware functions and operations. Software is used to design additively manufactured parts and command machine tool movements during part creation.


A material that dissolves when exposed to a solvent, such as water or a liquid chemical. Soluble materials are often used for support during some additive manufacturing methods.


Software that can create or convert digital design files which represent 3D models into a series of interconnected triangles. STL software is used in additive manufacturing processes.

support materials

Additional substances used in the additive manufacturing (AM) process to support the product as it is being constructed. Support materials are removed from the AM product as part of the additive manufacturing process.


In the five-step design process, examining a part to ensure that it performs its intended function and that it can be satisfactorily manufactured. Testing indicates whether the part needs additional planning or if it is ready for production.


A group of polymers that are permanently hardened by heating. Thermosets typically require ultraviolet (UV) light in order to harden into their permanent shape.


A type of material that transmits light. Translucent materials typically diffuse light in the process of transmission.


Having the quality of allowing light to pass through. Transparent objects are clear and can be seen through.


2D. Occurring only in the axes of length and width. Two-dimensional objects are flat and lack height.


UV. A potentially harmful wavelength of light that is below, or shorter than, violet on the light spectrum. Ultraviolet light is used to selectively harden photopolymers in some additive manufacturing processes.


Ultraviolet. A potentially harmful wavelength of light that is below, or shorter, than violet on the light spectrum. UV light is used to selectively solidify build materials in vat photopolymerization and material jetting processes.


Software that can create or convert files which represent the color and texture of 3D models. VRML files are used in material jetting, similar to OBJ files, to designate color or texture on a per face, or section, basis.


The ability of a substance to dissolve in water. Water-soluble support material is easy to clean from parts made with additive manufacturing (AM).


A variety of organic substances characterized by the ease with which they can be shaped. Waxes are sometimes used as a support material during material jetting.