3D Printer Produces Objects in Minutes and Not Hours

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A team of researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) reported on their new 3D holographic printing technique that makes it possible to create an entire object at one time in as little as a second or two!

Normal light-based 3D printers are indeed useful devices, but most of them have the critical weakness of having to take a long time to make anything. That is due to the fact that additive manufacturing usually means putting down an object by the employment of only one microscopic layer at a time. Those printing techniques employ lasers to cause a resin layer to harden in a pattern, but that takes time to accomplish.

By shining multiple weaker lasers through the resin so that they intersecte but none are powerful enough to cure it and overlapping weak beams of radiation, light, or sound, a volume can be chosen and exposed to a critical amount and yet leave other areas mostly untouched.

In this technique featured in this report, three beams of light are patterned to intersect only with each other and produce the constructive interference in the very points that need to be solidified. Once that pattern is set, it just takes a matter of seconds to complete the curing of the resin. Once it is drained away, the complete 3D shapes are ready. The “resolution” will be the determination of the smallest bit of resin that can be solidified reliably.

Even though commercial applications are still a ways away, and the benefits will prove to be many, lead researcher Maxim Shusteff said that he and his colleagues at LLNL, Berkeley, MIT, and the University of Rochester plan to continue the development of this highly promising technique where ‘3D all at once’ fabrication is a real possibility.

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