Joseph DeSimone recently led a TED Talk about a new 3D printing method that’s 25 to 100 times faster than traditional 3D printing alternatives. DeSimone explains that most 3D printing is really 2D printing that creates multiple 2D layers to produce a 3D effect, and suggests that a new liquid resin 3D printer could boost the technology in a number of ways.
DeSimone and his Carbon3D Silicon Valley team were inspired by the liquid metal based T-1000 type of Terminator featured in Terminator 2. DeSimone and his team decided to use their expertise in chemistry to make the cinematic process a reality.
DeSimone asserts that several aspects of 3D printing hold the technology back. First, it takes too long. Second, the layer by layer method often creates mechanical defects which lead to a weakened finished product. Lastly, traditional 3D printing methods use a limited selection of materials with a similarly limited set of properties.
The team used their liquid resin 3D printer to grow new parts using the energy provided through light and oxygen. Light can convert liquid to a solid, and oxygen inhibits the process. Controlling the balance of light and oxygen is something they call CLIP, or Continuous Liquid Interface Production.
Specs of the Liquid Resin 3D Printer
In the liquid resin 3D printer, a reservoir holds a puddle from which the solid object is formed. Above the puddle is a build platform which essentially “pulls” a completed 3D object from the liquid. Below the reservoir is a projector which uses ultraviolet light to control the process. The light passes through a window at the bottom of the reservoir which is permeable to oxygen, very much like a contact lens.
The end result is a true 3D printing process that’s 25 to 100 times faster than the methods we use right now. It also eliminates defects and provides a smooth surface. In addition, the liquid resin 3D printer allows for products with increased elasticity and a higher strength to weight ratio that traditional 3D printing simply cannot provide. DeSimone believes that the new method will eventually increase the manufacturing process to at least 1000 times faster.
Check out DeSimone’s Ted Talk presentation:
3D printing has only been in the news for a few years, and we’ve already come a long way. Let us know where you see the technology in the years ahead!
(Featured video courtesy of Popular Science)