New 3D Printer Can Save Hours of Time

Yunus Emre Duyar
April 10th 2015

From buildings to artificial organs, 3D printing has the potential to print almost anything. However, one of the biggest limits of 3D printing is its slow printing speed. The current 3D printing technology prints an item by constructing them layer-by-layer, a process which can take several hours.

A team of researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill recently developed a new method that can reduce the printing process down to minutes.

This new procedure allows a single-step printing of an object by using a liquid interface. This is completely different from the current 3D printing, which uses several steps for UV exposure, resin renewal and part movement.

Oxygen exposure is the main element that slows down the process of 3D printing. The new technique works by projecting UV images through the bottom of an oxygen-permeable, UV-transparent window. The window is positioned below a liquid resin and it permits a small amount of oxygen to enter. This creates a "dead zone", where the structure is built by the UV images as it emerges from the dead zone. The whole process looks more like pulling an object from a liquid and it is incredibly fast.

See the video below for the new 3D method in action:

Story and image via Ars Technica

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