3D printing sure has become quite the sensation in a very short amount of time and surprisingly this technology never fails to surprises. The constant advancements being made in this particular technology are more than enough to geek us all out. The recent advancement made in the field of 3D printing have rendered this production means even vaster.
For those who are not well-informed; Makerbot is the company that’s leading the 3D printer technology and streamlining it. The company makes use of a process that 3D prints plastic layer by layer on top of itself following a particular pattern in order to create a shape by 3D printing one thin slab of plastic at a time. The layering process – although very cool and futuristic – has certain caveats; uneven edges and a structure that is overall weak.
So, how do you fix that? We love 3D printing but we want it to be able to create objects that are smooth and sturdy instead of crudely shaped objects that aren’t too good when it comes to strength, right? Say hello to Carbon3D – a geeky addition to the amazing field of 3D printing. Carbon3D is able to print by making use of resin liquid that hardens upon being subjected to UV light. Sounds a bit complicated though but don’t worry, we got you covered.
A UV projector is incorporated underneath the resin that is contained in a pool. This UV projector fires of blasts of patterned UV rays into the specialized resin and while this is happening, an overhead platform pulls the structure out while it is hardening into shape. Both of these processes take place simultaneously. The process has been modeled after a technology known as stereolithography. Stereolithography is about 3 decades old.
Joseph DeSimone, professor at University of North Carolina, enhanced the process by tinkering with it a little bit. He made the process better by incorporating some changes such as adding a sheet of air-permeable glass that renders a controlled amount of oxygen able to seep in thus allowing the structure from hardening too fast.
Carbon3D has already gained quite an attention thanks to its unusual practice of pulling plastic structures from a pool of liquid. The processing time of production has become about 100 times faster when compared with the leading 3D printers and stereolithographic printers. The potential is humongous and there are plans for utilizing this technology for the creation of lightweight parts that would be used by the aeronautical industry and help in enhancing the fuel efficient of planes. Other applications include the medical field where custom molds could be made in dental offices or implants in hospitals that could be printed on spot in case of an emergency. Really, the potential of 3D printing and its applications are limitless and beyond exceptional. Did you hear about the 3D printed combustor for scramjet engine? Yeah, it passed the hypersonic testing! It is quite obvious that 3D printing is paving the way for the future and we are anxiously waiting to see what else the future might hold for this amazing technology and us.