Researchers use light to 3D print 100 times faster

Shawn Knight

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Researchers from the University of Michigan believe they have developed a new technique that could revolutionize traditional 3D printing by performing print jobs up to 100 times faster.

Conventional 3D printing is a time-intensive process as objects are essentially built from the ground up using a series of one-dimensional lines. Because it takes so long, modern 3D printing really hasn’t disrupted traditional manufacturing as some predicted.

Researchers from the school created a new method that uses two lights during the printing process – one to control where the resin hardens and another to help maintain its fluidity. This approach allows the team to create more sophisticated patterns and do so much more quickly.

As the researchers highlight, the secret behind the technique is all in the chemistry. Walter White would be proud.

Conventional methods rely on a photoactivator to harden the resin when light hits it. By adding in a photoinhibitor that responds to a different wavelength of light, the team is also able to keep the resin fluid when needed.

The university has filed patent applications on the technique. Timothy Scott, an associate professor of chemical engineering and co-lead on the project, is working on a start-up to bring the approach to market.

The team has published a paper on the method, “Rapid, continuous additive manufacturing by volumetric polymerization inhibition patterning,” in Science Advances.

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3D printing will revolutionize the manufacturing industry, in due time. The technology is still maturing.


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3D printing will revolutionize the manufacturing industry, in due time. The technology is still maturing.
3D printing has already revolutionized plastics parts suppliers, behind the scenes. Rapid prototyping using 3D printing based on a CAD drawing has been done for many years and aids in the design of accurate molds. If this new technique is faster and as, or more, accurate, it'll take off. It's still much faster and easier to use injection molding of plastics that are made by the thousands.


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I wonder how this compares to Carbon 3D ( What they do is use a material on the underside that is like a contact lens and lets through some Oxygen which prevents a thin layer of resign from hardening and thus they can print at a faster speed and blah blah blah.

The main downside the Carbon 3D is that their target audience is manufacturing and medical stuff. I got a quote from them once and you can LEASE one of their printers for $50k a year...


I would have been stoked if they had printed this..

but then I suppose 'M' stand for University of Michigan, not Michael Schenker Group