Technology straight out of science fiction. New method of 3D printing using light

Technology straight out of science fiction. New method of 3D printing using light

Researchers have unveiled a 3D printer that builds an object not by applying layer upon layer, as typical printers do, but creates the entire object at once. The device uses light and resembles that seen in the “Star Trek” series. It also bears the same name – Replicator.

Space printing technology creates objects by applying successive layers of material, whichor which are most often rotions of all kinds of plastics. But there are also models thatory use resins, rubbers, metals, concrete or chocolate for printing. With traditional technology, it takes many hours to build an object, depending on its complexity. However, advances in this field have resulted in new 3D printing technology, with whichorej the whole object is created almost at the same time, seemingly out of nowhere, and it happens in a few minutes.

With the new technology, it is possible to create objects that are more flexible and more complex than what is possible with traditional 3D printers. One can roalso surround an existing object with new materials – for example, adding a handle to a metal screwdriver.

The device was described on the „Science”.

In a popular series of „Star Trek” There was a so-called. replicator – device, with the help of whichorego could materialize any object on demand. When one observes the operation of the device, it is hard not to have the impression that it is a replicator taken straight out of a science fiction saga. This is also how its tworcy.

Technology developed by scientistsow from the University of California, Berkeley could potentially change the wayob how they are designed and manufactured rotaneous products – from prostheses to lenses to eyeglassesow.

– The fact that you can take a metal component or something that is made by a different manufacturing process and add customized geometry to it can change the sposob product designow whether it be a prosthetic or a running shoe,” said Hayden Taylor of UC Berkeley.

Most 3D printers have trouble creating flexible objectsow because flexible materials can deform during the printing process. Trouble also arises when printing the objectow with certain shapes, such as, for example, arcs. The new technology has no problem printing this type of objectow.

New technology functions similarly to CT scans, only in reverse. In tomographs, the X-ray tube rotates around theoł patient by making multiple imagesoinside the body. The images are taken under rowith different angles and putting them together reveals the geometry of the object, which a computer already does. Researchers realized that this process can be reversed byocony.

The researchers converted the troThe jdimensional computer model of the object into 2D images under the rowith different angles. They fed the resulting images into an ordinary digital projector, ktory projected them onto a cylindrical container filled with acrylate – a type of synthetic resin. When casting imagesoin covering 360 degrees, the container rotated by a corresponding angle.

– As the container rotates, the amount of light thatore falls on any point can be independently controlled. When the total amount exceeds a certain value, the liquid becomes solid, Taylor explained. This is because the chemical in the resin absorbs photons, and when it reaches a certain threshold value, the acrylate polymerizes – the resin molecules chain together to form solid plastic.

The irradiation process takes about twooch minutes for an object with a diameter of a few centimetersow. During the testoin the compositeo┼é researchers have created a miniature version of Auguste's Rodin sculpture „Thinker” with a height of several centimetersow.

Taylor admitted that in his research he used a projector, with which theorego every day uses at home. – You connect a laptop to the projector and display a previously prepared series of imagesow, while the cylinder, whichoin which the resin is, rotates – explained the scientist. However, it’s not as simple as it seems after Taylor’s words. The whole process is sophisticated, especiallyolnie in the way resin is molded and the calculations needed to prepare the images displayedow. However, as Taylor admitted, to make a simple object, the barrier is not high.

The resin used in the technology demonstration consists of liquid polymersoin mixed with photosensitive molecules and dissolved oxygen. Light activates a light-sensitive compound, whichory removes oxygen. Only in those regions, from whichorych got rid of all the oxygen, polymers transform the resin from a liquid to a solid. Unused resin can be recycled.

– Our technology generates virtually no wasteoThe material is not hardened, and the uncured material is 100% recycled. reusable,” said Hossein Heidari, cooTaylor’s associate at UC Berkeley and cooauthor of publications. – This is another advantage of our technology – added.

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