Move over 3D Printing, Here Comes Instant

Building your 3D Printed Design one layer at a time might soon be a thing of the past. Instead of building layer upon layer, the 3D printed items of the future could be flashed in a process that would take a fraction of the time that current layer-by-layer 3D Printing techniques currently require.
The research is being done by a team of folks from Lawrence Livermore National Lab, UC Berkeley, the University of Rochester, and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The team is using hologram-like 3D images that are flashed upon a resin, a photosensitive resin. They’re calling the technique “Volumetric” 3D Printing.

Volumetric 3D printing promises nearly instant builds

….by using laser-generated, hologram-like 3D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, along with collaborators at UC Berkeley, the University of Rochester, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have discovered they can build complex 3D parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing. The novel approach is called “volumetric” 3D printing, and is described in the journalĀ Science Advances, published online on Dec. 8.

“The fact that you can do fully 3D parts all in one step really does overcome an important problem in additive manufacturing,” said LLNL researcher Maxim Shusteff, the paper’s lead author. “We’re trying to print a 3D shape all at the same time. The real aim of this paper was to ask, “Can we make arbitrary 3D shapes all at once, instead of putting the parts together gradually layer by layer?” It turns out we can.”

The way it works, Shusteff explained, is by overlapping three laser beams that define an object’s geometry from three different directions, creating a 3D image suspended in the vat of resin. The laser light, which is at a higher intensity where the beams intersect, is kept on for about 10 seconds, enough time to cure the part. The excess resin is drained out of the vat, and, seemingly like magic, researchers are left with a fully formed 3D part.

The approach, the scientists concluded, results in parts built many times faster than other polymer-based methods, and most, if not all, commercial AM methods used today. Due to its low cost, flexibility, speed and geometric versatility, the researchers expect the framework to open a major new direction of research in rapid 3D printing.

“It’s a demonstration of what the next generation of additive manufacturing may be,” said LLNL engineer Chris Spadaccini, who heads Livermore Lab’s 3D printing effort. “Most 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies consist of either a one-dimensional or two-dimensional unit operation. This moves fabrication to a fully 3D operation, which has not been done before. The potential impact on throughput could be enormous and if you can do it well, you can still have a lot of complexity.”

Read More at Science Daily

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