State of the art 3D printer makes objects 100 times faste


A new state of the art 3D printer can make objects 100 times faster with light, scientists revealed.

The breakthrough promises to revolutionise small scale manufacturing by make batch production of goods produced in one quick go even easier.

Currently 3D printers build up plastic filaments layer by layer, creating 3D objects with a series of one dimensional lines.

The technique means small-scale manufacturers can produce fewer than 10,000 identical items without the need for an expensive mould costing upwards of $10,000 (£7,800).

However, the process is still slower and hasn’t been able to fill the gap on typical production timescales of a week or two. 

A new state of the art 3-D printer can make objects 100 times faster with light, scientists revealed. The breakthrough promises to revolutionise small scale manufacturing by enabling goods to be produced in one quick go

 Currently 3D printers build up plastic filaments layer by layer building up 3D objects with a series of 1D lines. The technique enables small-scale manufacturers to produce fewer than 10,000 identical items without the need for an expensive mould costing upwards of $10,000 (£7,800)

 Currently 3D printers build up plastic filaments layer by layer building up 3D objects with a series of 1D lines. The technique enables small-scale manufacturers to produce fewer than 10,000 identical items without the need for an expensive mould costing upwards of $10,000 (£7,800)

Experts from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor developed the new approach, which lifts complex shapes from a vat of liquid at up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing processes.

Associate Professor of chemical engineering Timothy Scott said: ‘Using conventional approaches, that’s not really attainable unless you have hundreds of machines.’

The new 3D printing approach developed with Professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering Mark Burns solidifies the liquid resin using two lights to control where the resin hardens and where it stays fluid. 

This enables the team to solidify the resin in more sophisticated patterns.

They can make a 3D bas-relief in a single shot rather than in a series of 1D lines or 2D cross-sections.

Their printing demonstrations include a lattice, a toy boat and a block M. 

 Experts from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor developed the new approach, which lifts complex shapes from a vat of liquid at up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing processes

 Experts from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor developed the new approach, which lifts complex shapes from a vat of liquid at up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing processes

 The new 3D printing approach developed with Professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering Mark Burns solidifies the liquid resin using two lights to control where the resin hardens and where it stays fluid

 The new 3D printing approach developed with Professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering Mark Burns solidifies the liquid resin using two lights to control where the resin hardens and where it stays fluid

Professor Burns added: ‘It’s one of the first true 3D printers ever made.’

Earlier vat-printing efforts faced limitations because the resin tended to solidify on the window that the light shines through, stopping the print job just as it gets started.

By creating a relatively large region where no solidification occurs, thicker resins -potentially with strengthening powder additives – can be used to produce more durable objects.

The method also bests the structural integrity of filament 3D printing, as those objects have weak points at the interfaces between layers.

Professor Scott said: ‘You can get much tougher, much more wear-resistant materials.’

An earlier solution to the solidification-on-window problem was a window that lets oxygen through which penetrates into the resin and halts the solidification near the window. 

 This enables the team to solidify the resin in more sophisticated patterns. They can make a 3D bas-relief in a single shot rather than in a series of 1D lines or 2D cross-sections

 This enables the team to solidify the resin in more sophisticated patterns. They can make a 3D bas-relief in a single shot rather than in a series of 1D lines or 2D cross-sections

 Their printing demonstrations include a lattice, a toy boat and a block M. Earlier vat-printing efforts faced limitations because the resin tended to solidify on the window that the light shines through, stopping the print job just as it gets started

 Their printing demonstrations include a lattice, a toy boat and a block M. Earlier vat-printing efforts faced limitations because the resin tended to solidify on the window that the light shines through, stopping the print job just as it gets started

This left a film of fluid that will allow the newly printed surface to be pulled away.

But because this gap is only about as thick as a piece of transparent tape, the resin must be very runny to flow fast enough into the tiny gap between the newly solidified object and the window as the part is pulled up.

This has limited vat printing to small, customised products that will be treated relatively gently, such as dental devices and shoe insoles.

By replacing the oxygen with a second light to halt solidification, the team can produce a much larger gap between the object and the window – millimetres thick – allowing resin to flow in thousands of times faster.

The key to success is the chemistry of the resin.

In conventional systems, there is only one reaction. A photoactivator hardens the resin wherever light shines.

In the Michigan system, there is also a photoinhibitor, which responds to a different wavelength of light.

Rather than merely controlling solidification in a 2D plane, as current vat-printing techniques do, the team can pattern the two kinds of light to harden the resin at essentially any 3D place near the illumination window.

University of Michigan has filed three patent applications to protect the multiple inventive aspects of the approach, and Professor Scott is preparing to launch a startup company.

The study was published in Science Advances

WHAT IS 3D PRINTING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

First invented in the 1980s by Chuck Hull, an engineer and physicist, 3D printing technology – also called additive manufacturing – is the process of making an object by depositing material, one layer at a time.

Similarly to how an inkjet printer adds individual dots of ink to form an image, a 3D printer adds material where it is needed, based on a digital file.

Many conventional manufacturing processes involved cutting away excess materials to make a part, and this can lead to wastage of up to 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) for every one pound of useful material, according to the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

By contrast, with some 3D printing processes about 98 per cent of the raw material is used in the finished part, and the method can be used to make small components using plastics and metal powders, with some experimenting with chocolate and other food, as well as biomaterials similar to human cells.

3D printers have been sued to manufacture everything from prosthetic limbs to robots, and the process follows these basic steps:

· Creating a 3D blueprint using computer-aided design (CAD) software

· Preparing the printer, including refilling the raw materials such as plastics, metal powders and binding solutions.

· Initiating the printing process via the machine, which builds the object.

· 3D printing processes can vary, but material extrusion is the most common, and it works like a glue gun: the printing material is heated until it liquefies and is extruded through the print nozzle

· Using information from the digital file, the design is split into two-dimensional cross-sections so the printers knows where to put the material

· The nozzle deposits the polymer in thin layers, often 0.1 millimetre (0.004 inches) thick.

· The polymer rapidly solidifies, bonding to the layer below before the build platform lowers and the print head adds another layer (depending on the object, the entire process can take anywhere from minutes to days.)

· After the printing is finished, every object requires some post-processing, ranging from unsticking the object from the build platform to removing support, to removing excess powders. 



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