Light printing will speed up the 3D printer operation 100 times

Researchers have developed 3D printing technology, in which, instead of consistent overlapping of one-dimensional layers of material, complex models are formed by exposure to two different types of light on a liquid resin. This allows you to make more durable products and speed up their production 100 times.

Three-dimensional printing allows you to automate the process of manufacturing objects of various complexity, but classical variants of devices that are gradually applying a layer on the layer, a sufficient time is required to complete. However, researchers from Michigan University invented a new, faster 3D printing technology.

In their method, liquid resin is used and two light sources with different wavelengths for its control. One initiates the solidification reaction, and the second prevents it. Together they actually determine which areas will be rigid, and which remains liquid. The manufacturing process is «pulling out» products from a tank with a resin and rather resembles casting than printing.

The basis of the technology is the chemistry of the resin, which contains both the photoctivator and the photoinhibitor, which ensure the simultaneous two opposite reactions in the system. When adding powder additives to the composition, it is possible to significantly increase the rigidity and wear resistance of objects. Strength is additionally provided by the structural integrity of the «cast» product.

To achieve success, scientists needed to overcome the solidification problem of the substance in the window through which the light passed, which led to an instant stop of the process from the start. Initially, oxygen was used for this, and although he created a liquid film at the border, but significantly limited the potential of the technology and quality of products. The use of a second light source provided a much greater gap between the feed window and the working area, which significantly accelerated the seal, as well as the degree of control over the process.

The proposed technique allows you to manipulate the resin at any point of three-dimensional space near the radiation. With the help of the prototype, the researchers have printed the letter m, grille and a miniature boat. The University of Michigan has already submitted three patent applications for their invention and is preparing to launch a startup.

Acceleration of the manufacturing process will contribute to the introduction of 3D printing in