For the past 25 to 30 years, 3D printing has been using technology that builds an object one layer at a time. While it is still an incredible process to observe, it is quite time consuming. To date, there have been few advances in this method.
However, thanks to some research from Joseph M. DeSimone, professor of chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill and of chemical engineering at N.C. State, this may soon change. DeSimone is the CEO of Carbon 3D and with his colleagues, they have created a new method of 3D printing.
This new method is known as Continuous Liquid Interface Production or CLIP. It uses light and oxygen to fuse an object in liquid media, rather than building it layer by layer. This new technology works on a macro and micro scale, with the ability to create components that are around 20 microns thick.
“By rethinking the whole approach to 3D printing, and the chemistry and physics behind the process, we have developed a new technology that can create parts radically faster than traditional technologies by essentially ‘growing’ them in a pool of liquid,” said DeSimone.
“In addition to using new materials, CLIP can allow us to make stronger objects with unique geometries that other techniques cannot achieve, such as cardiac stents personally tailored to meet the needs of a specific patient,” DeSimone continued. “Since CLIP facilitates 3D polymeric object fabrication in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days, it would not be impossible within coming years to enable personalized coronary stents, dental implants or prosthetics to be 3D printed on-demand in a medical setting.”
These new advances could completely revolutionize 3D printing, particularly for manufacturing companies. While the old process worked well, as mentioned before, it was incredibly slow. This could allow scaling of a much higher production and would allow more companies to break into this space.
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