CIJ Printer

A CIJ printer that you can build by yourself

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Here I'm trying to build a CIJ Printer by myself from common parts that you can buy online and in your local hardware store.

In my last inkjet project I built a piezo inkjet printer from scratch made of cheap electronics, pneumatic and 3D printed parts. I could get it to work, but I had a few problems with the reliability. The drop size was quite large, keeping the ink supply pressure steady was quite difficult and sometimes there formed drops on the nozzle or air got sucked into the printhead what both prevented the printhead from working. There also was a problem with clogging of the nozzle when not in use.

So I looked for a more reliable printing method and choosed Continuous Inkjet Printing.

CIJ printing is (as far as I know) only used in industrial or production applications and therefore super reliable. CIJ printers are working for years 24/7 with only minor maintenance. 

Even though CIJ printers have much more parts than piezo or thermal inkjet printers, all parts have a decent size - no sub millimeter dimension like piezo and thermal inkjet nozzles, so working on them, fixing problems and maybe also manufacturing them will be a lot easier.

How CIJ Printing works:

Here I will describe you in my own words based on my experience with my printer model how CIJ Printing works. The printer I have is an older model that uses pressurized air and vacuum instead of a special ink pump, what I think is really cool because it keeps everything simple and you can use any air and vacuum supply that you want.

Animation from Wikipedia

CIJ printers need two different fluids to work - Ink and Make Up Fluid. 

Both fluids get mixed by the printer to reach the right viscosity. The make up fluid is essentially a solvent to dilute the ink.

My printer has an ink mixing assembly in which the ink get mixed and also the not used ink returns to. The chamber of it is set under vacuum and the adding of ink and make up fluid is controlled by two pneumatic driven rubber valves.

From the ink mixing chamber the ink gets transfered to a viscosity measuring cylinder by a pneumatic rubber pump. The ink cylinder is pressurized and connected to the nozzle which has a valve that stays closed until it reaches a certain pressure to prevent the ink from dripping from the nozzle when not under the right pressure. The pneumatic driven rubber pump is driven with 1 bar above set ink pressure to be able to pump the ink into the cylinder through an ink filter. The pump also has check valves at the in and outlet.

The cylinder has a floating magnet in it and multiple reed switches to detect the ink level. For measuring the viscosity the printer measures the time that it takes to empty the cylinder and according to the set flow time the printer adds ink or make up to the ink chamber - or nothing if everything fits and the ink level in the ink mixing chamber is high enough (it also has a floating magnet and reed switches). The viscosity is measured to get the same print quality at all times during operation.

The next step in the cycle is the printhead.

The "low pressure limit valve" at the printhead is connected to the nozzle which contains a piezo crystal that is driven with a frequency that breaks the ink stream up into dropplets using the Plateau–Rayleigh Instability. 

After the nozzle there follows a tunnel that is driven by a high voltage to charge the dropplet and after this there follows a high voltage deflection plate to kick dropplets out of the stream to form pattern on the printed surface.

The unused ink streams right into an ink return block which is connected to a sensor that prooves whether the charging has worked and from there it get sucked back into the ink mixing chamber by vacuum to close the cycle.

I think the pneumatics, hydraulics and their control circuits are quite simple and would not be very complicated to build for an open source system.

The electrical control of the printhead at the other hand, like the nozzle piezo drive, charging, deflection and sensing signal are more complicated, so that I will...

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  • Charge Voltage Switching Test

    Dominik Meffert04/19/2023 at 10:41 0 comments

    To prove that the 312V charging voltage can be switched, I used an IRFP460 MOSFET for shorting the charge voltage to ground, which turns the charging off.

    The charging voltage is already current-limited by a 100k ohm resistor on its output, so shorting it to ground is not a problem.

    Now, I can try to apply some signal to the charge electrode and try to measure something on the phase detector next.

    While with a single MOSFET, it's only possible to send a square wave to the charge electrode, I will ultimately need a sine wave that has the same frequency as the signal that is sent to the piezo.

    Next, I will try to measure a signal with the square wave and if that doesn't work I will try to build a "sine wave driver circuit" and try again.

  • Deflection Testing

    Dominik Meffert04/17/2023 at 10:32 0 comments

    While I spend the last day thinking about the USB charger noise, today I tested out ink stream charging with another voltage source:

    A while ago I added a boost converter to the printer for creating 312V DC.

    Boost Converter 12V to 312V

    This voltage is already intended to be used as the voltage for ink droplet charging and so I used it for this.

    In the video, you can see that by turning on the second switch - the first one from the left is for high voltage and the second one is for the charge voltage - the ink stream gets deflected towards the high voltage plate and by turning off the switch the ink stream returns to its straight alignment.

    For this test I set the high voltage to 4.4kV so that the ink stream got more deflected, for not hitting the gutter in its deflected alignment.

    This test proves that with the current setup ink stream charging and deflection works.

    I think I will contiunue working on the phase detector and on the generation of testing signals next. For ultimately deflecting single droplets out of the ink stream.

    Thank you for your interest in my project :)

  • Unknown Signal (Turned out it came from USB Charger)

    Dominik Meffert04/16/2023 at 15:45 0 comments

    I noticed something really interesting when I connected a cheap function generator to the charge electrode without connecting the ground (of the charge electrode).

    By doing so I get a pretty high AC voltage reading on the charge electrode. The voltage is also not just a misreading, but actually present. I know that because it can influence the deflection of the ink stream when I turn on the high-voltage deflection plate. Turning the high voltage on while the unknown signal is present leads to an oscillating ink stream - the ink stream moves back and forth from the middle position at around 50Hz.

    The function generator is powered by a common 5V USB smartphone charger.

    While trying out a different USB charger the signal changed and by running the function generator from a power bank or my notebook the signal disappeared completely.

    So, because of the 50Hz and because of the absence of the signal when the function generator is battery powered, I guess that the unknown signal is AC noise from mains that could somehow pass the USB charger and function generator to reach the charge electrode and also charge the ink stream.

    I have to admit that I'm pretty happy about this noise because it is helpful to prove some things:

    - It shows that the charging and deflection work in general with my current setup.

    - It is reproducible. I had unwanted deflection before which was unfortunately not reproducible and so I couldn't dig deeper into it.

    - It shows that AC charging leads to deflection in both directions, left and right from the middle position. This means it can charge the ink stream positive and negative. Before, when the high voltage cable was too close to the not connected charging cable, deflection happened only towards the high voltage plate which I think means only negative charging of the droplets caused by a positive voltage on the charge electrode. With the AC noise, it happens in both directions, tho.

    - It visually confirms that there is no high voltage to ground leak, which had been a huge problem in the past.

    While I was thinking about the source of the signal I decided to do a test to find out whether it comes from the printer, the function generator, the charger, or mains.

    For that, I cut off the micro USB plug of an old USB cable to access the +5V and GND USB charger connections.

    I then tried to prove my assumption by connecting the +5V USB Charger connection to the oscilloscope and the GND pin of the oscilloscope to mains PE.

    By doing so, I could successfully prove that the noise came from the USB charger or mains, but not from the printer or function generator.

    To be safe I also tried powering the oscilloscope via battery and could still measure the signal.

    Oscilloscope connected to USB Charger + and mains PE

    While I still don't know how exactly the signal gets generated - what I guess also doesn't really matter for the project - I think it's a pretty nice coincidence that I didn't connect the function generator's ground to the printer's ground and so could find this noise signal that was very useful for testing.

    I just saw that I had even more luck because the other USB charger that I used for comparison creates much less noise and so it likely would have not caused any visible deflection of the ink stream so that the noise would have been overlooked.

    Less Noise with a different USB Charger

    I did the measurement without connecting the GND of the USB charger to anything and left it floating.

    When I then connected the charger's GND to PE, the noise disappeared - it also worked when I swapped the charger's output lines.

    My uneducated guess would be, that the noise is created by the switching of the USB charger which couples into the charger's output lines as well as in the mains' live and neutral. Because at some point in the building's electrical system, the neutral line is connected to earth the noise is also present on the PE line.

    When now the charger's output, which is...

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  • Improving Reliability

    Dominik Meffert04/13/2023 at 04:07 0 comments

    DIY CIJ Printer

    Over the last months, I did some testing with different printhead designs, self-mixed inks, and some new parts and features for improving the reliability of the printer, to prevent frustration while testing.

    Great thanks again to @Paulo Campos for helping me with that.

    There were two main problems I tried to solve with the improvements:

    - Clogging of the nozzle

    - Electrode output leaking to ground due to ink/dirt forming a conductive path to ground on the isolators.

    Both errors prevent the printer from working, so it's best to prevent them or solve them quickly when they appear.

    Maybe I will later add a feature to the printer to detect (and maybe even solve) them when they appear while the printer is printing.

    I also improved another problem that caused a rise in ink pressure while reloading the timer chamber by adding a water pressure regulator to the ink line.

    This rise led to a shifting of the ink stream break-up point and could shift the break-up point out of the charge electrode which would prevent the printer from working.

    Water Pressure Regulator

    Adding a water pressure regulator reduced the reloading rise from about 10psi to 1psi which I think should be OK for now.

    For getting more info about the ink in the system I added a temperature and a TDS sensor to the printer. It's important for the printer's operation to keep the ink at the right conductivity and viscosity.

    With the TDS sensor and timer, it's possible to keep an eye on these values.

    Ink Filter, Ball Valve, Temperature Sensor, TDS Sensor
    TDS and Temperature Sensor
    TDS Sensor Module
    Temperature and Conductivity on the GUI

    In the future, I want to mount the printhead on a moving carriage for labeling and 3D printing. While the printhead moves and the feed lines bend back and forth the ink pressure would float which could affect the operation and printing quality. To prevent this, I added a small spring-loaded puffer/damper to the ink line that should later act like a capacitor for keeping the ink pressure constant.

    Water Impact Damper for preventing Ink Pressure Spikes

    To make the observation of the ink stream break-up and droplet-formation easier, I replaced the white LED with a red LED.

    Ink Stream Break-Up
    Ink Droplets under a red LED

    The Output to Ground Leakage Problem:

    In the past, I did a lot of testing with water-based inks, because water is safe to use and not flammable.

    A major drawback of water is that it takes a long time to evaporate.

    That leads to a lot of problems with it like:

    - Corrosion on places where conductive water reaches in, but does not dry for a really long time like on the aluminum coated piezo ring or underside of aluminum profiles.

    - Water puddles from ink stream alignment or dealing with a clogged nozzle. Because the water takes very long to dry, the ink can collect on the printhead, desktop, and floor even if only a small amount of ink misses the gutter or hits an electrode. With water, this leads really quickly to puddles that would otherwise just evaporate after a few seconds.

    - Output to ground leakage caused by small amounts of conductive water settle in small scratches from cutting at the edges of the isolators, which renders the electrodes unusable for a long period of time after each splashing with test ink - what happens very often while testing.

    This made testing in the past as good as impossible.

    In the end, I came to the conclusion that the fire hazard of fast-drying liquids like ethanol is easier to handle with the right safety precautions than the problems caused by slow-drying water.

    In the industry, most CIJ printers also use fast-drying ketone or alcohol-based inks.

    And so I switched to ethanol-based ink.

    Bio Ethanol that is normally used for Ethanol Fireplaces

    Today, I received a bag of sodium propionate which contrary to sodium chloride and sodium carbonate (which I used before with water) dissolves well enough in ethanol to increase the conductivity...

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  • High Voltage Power Supplies

    Dominik Meffert02/08/2023 at 13:56 0 comments

    Besides a couple of low voltages, the CIJ printer also needs high voltages for the charging circuit and deflection plate.

    Here, you can see the power supply of an old CIJ printer that I bought for research:

    It outputs 312V and 3 to 6 kilovolts. On this printer, the 312V is used for the charging circuit and the piezo driver, and the 3-6kv is used for the deflection plate.

    On my printer, I'm currently using a 24V audio amplifier for driving the piezo, because they are available for sale and you don't have to build it by yourself which should make this part of the project easier.

    I don't have the charging circuit ready so I can not fully test out if it works, but under the strobe led you can see droplet formation, so it looks promising.

    However, if it turns out that the audio amplifier is not enough for driving the piezo I will have to build a proper piezo driver that uses the 312V for it.

    Now I started looking for ways to generate 312V and 3-6kV.

    312V Power Supply:

    Here you can see my 312V power supply. I used a YH11068A boost converter powered by 12V. It turned out that the YH11068A needs some load to provide a stable output voltage and so I added three 100kOhm 5W resistors in parallel to the output. I also added another 100kOhm resistor in series with the output to limit the current for safety.

    The YH11068A is protected by a 1A fuse on the input that will blow in case of an unintended current draw.

    Finding out the thing with the needed load was a bit tricky, but because you can just buy the YH11068A, generating your 312V is not that complicated.

    Adjustable 3-6kV power supply:

    Here you can see my adjustable 3-6kV power supply. The output voltage can be adjusted by changing the switching frequency of the MOSFET.

    Higher Frequency = Less Voltage

    Lower Frequency = More Voltage

    Because there was nothing out of the box available, I had to build it by myself.

    First, I got myself a high-voltage probe, so that I could measure the high-voltage output without destroying my multimeter. The probe divides the voltage 1:1000 so that you can read like 4.20V for 4200V on the multimeter.

    After that, I looked for a circuit that can generate adjustable 3-6kV while being easy to build.

    I started with one of these 15kV modules that you can find on Amazon, eBay, and Aliexpress.

    This module uses a transformer that gets switched at high frequency by a transistor for generating high voltage. Besides the transformer's primary winding, it also has a feedback winding for controlling the transistor which makes the circuit self-oscillating, so that it does not need any sort of frequency generator to run.

    Unfortunately, in contrast to a TV's flyback transformer, it has no internal rectifier diodes, so its output is AC. It also has no way of controlling the output voltage, so it can not be used for the CIJ printer without modification.

    Besides that, the transformer that comes with the module is very nice for generating high voltages and because these modules are available almost anywhere, it should be no problem to build the circuit with the same transformer anywhere else.

    The modules usually come as DIY kits, so there was no need to first desolder the transformer from the PCB. 

    Instead, it was only needed to remove the feedback winding from the primary side of the transformer to get it ready for further use. 

    After removing the feedback winding I tried building a new transformer driver circuit, but this time driven by a function generator and an IRFP260 MOSFET. I also added multiple 1000V diodes in series to form a high-voltage diode that converted the output of the transformer to DC.

    Here you can see my first high-voltage power supply testing setup

    6060V @ 15500Hz

    3000V @ 27400Hz

    I tested out driving the MOSFET with PWM at different frequencies and noticed that the voltage at the output changed according to frequency as expected so I could continue with...

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  • Low Voltage Power Supplies

    Dominik Meffert02/08/2023 at 09:14 0 comments

    The CIJ Printer needs a couple of different voltages for operation and here are the power supplies/converters that I use for generating these voltages:

    - 24V Power Supply

    The 24V 10A power supply is the main power supply of the printer. It generates 24V from mains for all other power supplies/converters. It also powers the solenoid valves and the audio amplifier/piezo driver.

    - 12V Converter and 5V Converter

    An XL4016 step-down converter powered by 24V is used for generating 12V for the plus/minus 12V converter and the high-voltage power supplies (more about them in the next build log).

    Another XL4016 step-down converter powered by 24V is used for generating 5V for the Arduino and other logic-level electronics.

    - Plus/Minus 12V Converter

    A DD1912PA plus/minus 12V converter powered by 12V is used for generating plus/minus 12V for the charging circuit and phase detector in the future. This part of the project needs further research and at the moment it is not in use.

    These are the low-voltage power supplies that I'm using at the moment.

    In the next build log, I will give you a closer look at the high-voltage power supplies.

  • Serial over Optical Cables with Lasers and Receivers

    Dominik Meffert02/07/2023 at 09:58 0 comments

    To prevent damaging my notebook in case something goes wrong and especially because of the high voltage circuit running at 3-6kV, I was looking for a way to control the CIJ printer prototype without an electrical connection to my notebook.

    For doing so, I tried out sending the signal of the serial connection via lasers over optical cables (Toslink cables) and it worked just as well as a wire-based serial connection.

    I built the connection like:

    PC - USB Connection - Arduino Nano - Optical Connection - CIJ Printer's Arduino Mega

    I connected my PC to an Arduino Nano via USB. The Arduino Nano uses hardware serial to communicate with the PC and uses software serial to communicate with the CIJ Printer's Arduino Mega. The software serial TX pin is connected to a laser and the software serial RX pin is connected to a laser receiver. The Arduino Nano just passes the serial connection from the PC to the CIJ Printer's Arduino which also uses software serial, a laser, and a receiver, so that the connection works as if the PC is directly connected to the CIJ Printer's Arduino.

    I also thought about using a wireless connection, but I came to the conclusion that an optical cable connection would be more reliable and easier to build - so no wireless connection.

    Here are the kind of lasers and receiver modules that I used for it:

    I placed the laser and receiver in a 3D-printed part and fixed everything in place with hot glue. This is the part on the CIJ printer side:

    And this is the part on the Arduino Nano side:

    With that the PC should be safe :)

  • Quick Update

    Dominik Meffert02/05/2023 at 20:56 0 comments

    Over the last months, I added a lot of new stuff to the CIJ printer project, but I could not find the right moment to report about it.

    Because of that I will rather show you the current state of the project and add more build logs about the new features after that.

    Here are some pictures of the current CIJ printer prototype:

    Here you can see the latest printhead prototype:

    I added a cable guide, a new 24V audio amplifier for driving the piezo and a laser sender / receiver to isolate the PC from the printer prototype:

    Here you can see the new power supplys for all needed voltages (24V, 12V, 5V, ±12V, 312V and adjustable 3000V to 6000V):

    I finally took the vacuum pump from my desktop to the printer frame and secured it in place with 4 springs to prevent the vibration from entering the frame and causing a lot of noise:

    More build logs with more details about the added parts coming soon...

  • Signal Generator and LED Strobe

    Dominik Meffert12/22/2022 at 20:16 0 comments

    For the last weeks, I was searching for a way to generate a sine wave signal for driving the piezo and a 0-5V square wave signal for driving the LED strobe with the same timing to prevent a "moving droplet effect". 

    After trying out many things that didn't work I have to thank @Paulo Campos for the great help and for pointing me out that I can use a comparator to turn the sine wave signal into a square wave signal with the same timing. 

    Since this project requires dealing with electrical circuits more intensively, I thought of using LTspice for drawing and simulating the circuits that I want to build.

    While the electronics that I used for my former projects were mostly simple, based on Arduino projects or based on other open source projects, the CIJ printer project will be a bit more complicated, because there is not much information about the electronics of CIJ printers available and so I have to figure it out by myself.

    So with the tip of using a comparator, I ordered some ICs, including the LM339 and LM393 comparators, and searched the internet for circuits that I can test out, modify and simulate in LTspice.

    It took me a while, but I came up with a circuit that had the desired output in the simulation.

    After simulating it, I tried to build it on a breadboard and measure the real circuit with an oscilloscope.

    The spikes in the sine wave were caused by the notebook's power supply.

    I got the desired output and so I drew the layout for a perf board and soldered it together.

    After that, I connected everything for doing some testing with it.

    The setup for testing looked a bit messy.

    I tested out different piezos from ultrasonic cleaners. I heard that the optimal frequency for a 0.1mm nozzle at 40psi is around 48kHz to 50kHz and because of that, I bought ultrasonic cleaners that claimed to run at 50kHz. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the ultrasonic cleaners contain piezos that can run on the claimed frequency and so you have to be lucky to get a good one.

    The piezo from the second ultrasonic cleaner that I tried contained a piezo that could run at 48kHz even though it was not its resonance frequency.

    I tested the vibration of the piezo by sticking another smaller piezo on top of them and measuring its output with an oscilloscope. After sticking the smaller piezo on top and connecting the oscilloscope I tried out different frequencies from 40kHz to 50kHz to see at which frequency I can measure the highest voltage reading on the small piezo. This frequency should then be the piezo's resonance frequency. The first piezo that I tried worked best at 43kHz and the second one worked best at 47kHz, but it also worked not that bad at 48kHz, so I used it for further testing.

    I carefully clamped it on top of the nozzle and looked at the ink stream under the LED strobe.

    And it worked: Visible ink stream separation under the LED strobe at 48kHz.

    Finally, I mounted the AD9833 + LM393 and also the LM386 amplifier on the printer frame next to the other electronics to keep everything relatively clean.

    I still have to redesign the printhead to fit the flat piezo disc to the nozzle, but the next thing I want to work on is building a high-voltage power supply, like this one from an old CIJ printer, to power the charging/phasing and deflecting circuit.

    Thanks for your interest in my project, until then.

  • Update on Ink Stream Splitting

    Dominik Meffert11/15/2022 at 20:00 0 comments

    I did some testing and tried some things out and decided to stay with the 40kHz for now.

    I assume that the 40kHz 60W ultrasonic transducer is optimized for this frequency and so it's bad at moving at frequencies above and below 40kHz. There are also ultrasonic transducers available that are rated for other frequencies and I think the limited frequency range of the 40 kHz transducers is the reason why they exist.

    While other transducers exist they are not quite common and so you have to buy them in china with long shipping times - and for this reason, I will not use them for now.

    I will also live with the quite long distance that the stream needs before it splits into droplets. While it's wasting some space it's also no problem to move the ink return tube some more centimeters away from the nozzle.

    And by doing so you get a nice line of droplets after a few centimeters even with 40kHz. Time will tell if they are suitable for charging and deflecting, but at the first glance, they look quite OK.

    For driving the piezo rings I used a small LM386 amplifier. I also tried another more powerful amplifier and it worked well, too. It was even possible to drive the piezo and split the stream with the signal generator on its own and "tune" the stream by adjusting the output voltage.

    I connected the amplifier to CH1 and an LED to CH2 and set both channels to 40kHz sine wave. While being a diode the LED should only turn on at one side of the curve and therefore blink with just 20kHz - I also tried a 40kHz non-zero crossing square wave and it worked, but it seems like the droplets look a bit different. Driving the piezo rings with the same square wave also worked, but I guess driving them with a sine wave will be better because by doing so they can flex back and forth instead of just flexing between the resting and bend positions.

    Next, I want to drive the LED directly from an Arduino pin and use an AD9833 to generate the sine wave for the LM386 amplifier.

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Enjoy this project?



Michal Lenc wrote 04/18/2023 at 06:42 point

Dear Dominik, incredible, what you have been able to achive on your workdesk. If your printer will be acting up, don't worry. I have worked with CIJ printers from several brands. And, once you put them in the production, they are FAR from working 24/7 with minor maintenance. Actually, I would say, if you are not in very clean enviroment, there is a constant battle with everything what makes them print. It doesn't matter what brand, all of them suck.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dominik Meffert wrote 04/18/2023 at 16:35 point

Hi Michal,

thank you very much :)

Oh... that sounds like there will be a lot of problems ahead of me, with the project, in the future 😅

If I can get it to work, I want to use it for 3D printing. So, if it would keep working for at least some hours, it would be fine.

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Paulo Campos wrote 01/17/2022 at 00:29 point

I have worked with CIJ printers at least 18 years with projects and fluids. i'm impressed with your audacity and progress. Certainly the nozzle is not a big challenge, you can buy in Swiss (ruby) and assembly in a laser cutted plate, the diameter of the jet is governed by the size of droplet we want, 75 microns is most recommended. This give a wavelength of

  = 4.51x 75= 331 microns.

Also, the jet velocity at 40 Psi is 20~22 metres per second. If this is divided by the wavelength, it gives the optimum frequency.

  =22 m/s / 331microns= 64000.Hz

In practice, other frequency / nozzle sizes can be used that are not 'optimum', for example 60 micron/ 64kHz, but these still work, they are simply less efficient.

 I recomend you 75u  as we can get the best resonancy for drops in 64Khz with around 2800mBar/40psi, but till 100u we sill can get some workarounds. At past I worked in my 'hobby time' with some PCBs and HV PS for CIJs and I can say you there is no chance of success without phasing control and for do it you will need add one FPGA to your project. I have the PCB and HV Power project  ready without firmware, I can share you and share experience., I got success in many things .   Have a nice week! 

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Paulo Campos wrote 01/16/2022 at 23:57 point

Awesome progress Dominik! Congratulations! 

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Dominik Meffert wrote 10/29/2022 at 07:28 point

Thank you very much :)

Sorry for the late reply. I paused the project for over a year and just read your comment.

Interesting insight. I'm planning to use a 100micron 3D printer nozzle, because they are cheap and available everywhere. 

I would really like to read more about your PCB and HV power project.

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srbin25 wrote 10/27/2021 at 19:56 point

how connect CIJ print head with Arduino if it is possible?

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Dominik Meffert wrote 11/02/2021 at 15:38 point

My current plan is to control everything with a Raspberry Pi so that I can write a python script with GUI for all the settings and infos. I think it will also take more time until I can get the project to an usable stage because I'm currently working on another project which I want to use for creating the printhead parts.

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Hexastorm wrote 06/10/2021 at 08:36 point

Great to see you are still up with inkjet printing. In the past, I did some research into this topic.
What I would recommend is the book (inkjet technology for digital fabrication). A pdf can be found online.
TNO, a research institute from the Dutch State, also build one setup see .  I was not involved but building it took a crazy amount of time. The CIJ head used air for droplet selection instead of electricity.
This gave it the ability to print high viscous non conductive fluids.
A problem encountered was the wavy-ness in the final result and low through put. You can see it in the image (3D graded product made of three high viscousmaterials) in the linked pdf.  Dr. René Jos Houben did most of the work and use this as a query term to find out more.  I think some of the patents, if any, got transferred to a company called Nordson.
What I would recommend;

 - do research in the field of laser induced forward transfer

   This is a very active area of research and from what I understand relatively easy.
   It requires a coated glass plate and a laser to heat and release a droplet.

 - think of applications

Crazy applications I heard of is injecting droplets in chicken meat.  This preserves the dead meat longer. Also, some people were active in the making of perfume. This required making well defined mixtures.  Some chemicals are extremely expensive so if you can deliver small dosages or make small mixes that could be nice.

- make images of droplet formation with a stroboscopic camera

Everyone in this field does this. It's real easy and allows you to understand the process much better. Ideally you use global shutter camera with LED

Anyhow, good to see you are making so much progress :-)..

Also, the TNO project was not a commercial success.  Which must have been frustrating for those involved.

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Paulo Campos wrote 01/17/2022 at 00:36 point

Dear Hexastorm, TNO project is really interesting! Thanks. Increase the ink viscosity is a good way to printing over difficult adhesion substrates, like polyolefins. CIJs printers has this limitation.

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heinz wrote 05/28/2021 at 06:21 point

Wow 😍 This already looks too professional to be built by me for some precision dispensing.

Very cool, thanks for sharing.

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Dominik Meffert wrote 05/28/2021 at 15:54 point

Thank you very much :)

If I can find out how to build the CIJ nozzle there will be more progress, soon.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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