A Silicon Valley start-up has developed a new 3D printer that is up to 100 times faster than the traditional 3D printers available in the market. Carbon3D demonstrated its innovative 3D printing technology at the recent TED conference in Vancouver and published the research in the Science journal. Carbon3D said its game-changing technology could be used to make objects like shoes, medical devices and car components.
Carbon3D to launch its 3D printer next year
The company plans to commercially launch its 3D printer next year. Its technology was inspired by the Hollywood movie Terminator 2, in which the T-1000 robot comes out from a pool of metallic liquid. TCT Magazine editor James Woodcock told the BBC News that the technology “showed huge potential.” On the TED stage, the company used its 3D printer to produce a plastic ball from a pool of resin in less than 10 minutes.
Carbon3D CEO Prof Joseph DeSimone told the audience that a traditional 3D printer takes up to 10 hours to print the same thing. He said the current 3D printers had some fundamental flaws. The objects created by current 3D printing methods are considerably weak as they are made up of multiple layers. DeSimone said his method was up to 100 times faster and could print solid final parts. It could potentially be up to 1,000 times faster
Carbon3D’s printer works with only polymer-based materials
Carbon3D enables objects to rise, just like in Terminator 2, from a liquid media instead of being built layer by layer. It applies different levels of light and oxygen to fuse objects in the liquid media of resin. Light hardens the resin and oxygen stops hardening. The resin can be given complex shapes by controlling the levels of light and oxygen.
Currently, the start-up’s 3D printer works only with polymer-based materials. But Prof DeSimone said Carbon3D was working on materials beyond that. It has signed a research agreement with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue advances to the technology.