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US-based researchers claimed to have sped up 3D printing by up to 100 times using light

By Wong Chung Wee - on 15 Jan 2019, 1:40pm

US-based researchers claimed to have sped up 3D printing by up to 100 times using light

Printing demonstrations from the new 3D printing process (Image source: ScienceAdvances)

Researchers from the University of Michigan, United States, claimed to have sped up traditional 3D printing by up 100 times. In essence, they used a pair of light sources to control where the resin hardens and where it remains in fluid state. Besides speeding up the printing process, their light-controlled method also allows for more complicated shapes and patterns during the 3D printing process.

The typical conventional 3D printing method produces “3D structures by successive addition of thin layers of material.” This sort of additive material engineering method is simple in operation; however, it layer-by-layer approach is time-consuming and may be limited by “either adhesion of cured polymer to the projection window or resin surface disturbances….”

The photopatterned polymerization inhibition technique of the new 3D printing process. (Image source: ScienceAdvances)

In comparison, the new 3D printing method by the university researchers have a true 3D approach. The use of light to control resin solidification leads to “a relatively large region where no solidification occurs, thicker resins, potentially with strengthening powder additives, can be used to produce more durable objects.”

The control of resin solidification allows for faster resin flow and the ability to draw resin from a vat container. These steps speed up the 3D printing process tremendously, by up to 100 times! The new method also leads to higher structural integrity, vis-à-vis the traditional process of resin layering that has inherent structural weakness due to potential gaps between the layers.

The university behind the researchers has filed for necessary patents and they are also in the process of bringing the technology to the masses. Read more about the efforts in their published paper here.

(Source: ScienceAdvances via Science Daily)