Silicon nitride ceramics have been prepared using the fused deposition (FD) process in a Stratasys 1650 modeler. Two types of silicon nitride have been prepared: GS44 and AS800. AS800 is processed and used at higher temperatures than GS44. The strength of machined surfaces of either type of silicon nitride prepared using FD is comparable to conventionally processed material. Using standard build conditions strengths for as-built and as-sintered
surfaces are approximately 50% lower. The additive nature of solid freeform processes also allows multi-material combinations to be deposited which result in enhanced performance. For example, combinations of silicon nitride based materials with different thermal expansion coefficients have been prepared which demonstrate strength increases > 20%. In addition, components containing complicated internal cavities may also be fabricated.