Carbon3D Printer ‘Grows’ Objects From Pool Of Liquid

A new technique for creating objects from a 3D printer has been demonstrated at the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Vancouver.

The 3D printing process uses a combination of light and oxygen, but essentially “grows” an object from a pool of liquid such as resin.

Game Changing?

The new approach to polymer-based 3D printing was revealed by Carbon3D, which touted its “game changing” approach, and criticised existing 3D printing techniques.

The company claimed that traditional 3D printing has done nothing for the manufacturing industry, as prints take too long and the objects are “mechanically weak, and material choices are far too limited.” It said that current 3D printing techniques are really just 2D printing, over and over again.

Just to recap, traditional 3D printing normally involves a 3D printer stacking layers of material so as to create a 3D object. It takes a long time and can leave marks where the various layers join.

But the Carbon3D claims that CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production) is a breakthrough technology that grows parts. Think back to the Terminator 2 “Judgment Day” film, where Robert Patrick as the T-1000 killing machine emerges from a puddle of liquid metal to unlease death and destruction on Los Angeles.

According to Carbon3D, the CLIP technique allows businesses to “produce commercial quality parts at game-changing speeds.”

So how exactly does it work. Has Skynet managed to smuggle a terminator-making machine into 2015 in order to overthrow the human race? Well in reality it is not that exotic, as it involves harnessing light and oxygen.

“The new Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP) harnesses light and oxygen to continuously grow objects from a pool of resin instead of printing them layer-by-layer,” said the company.

The company claims the development is “game changing” because it is 25-100 times faster than conventional 3D printing. It is also suitable for commercial purposes as it produces objects with consistent mechanical properties. It also enables a broad range of polymeric materials.

A Youtube vide of the 3D printer in action, ‘growing’ an object from a pool of liquid, can be found here.

“Current 3D printing technology has failed to deliver on its promise to revolutionize manufacturing,” said Dr. Joseph DeSimone, CEO and co-founder of Carbon3D. “Our CLIP technology offers the game-changing speed, consistent mechanical properties and choice of materials required for complex commercial quality parts.”

Previous research has suggested that a 3D printer could be in every home by 2040. And certainly, the cost of the machines themselves have become a lot more affordable.

What do you know about 3D printing? Take our quiz!

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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