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3D Printer Prints As Fast As An Inkjet Printer

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3D Printer Prints As Fast As An Inkjet Printer
3D Printer Prints As Fast As An Inkjet Printer

Video: 3D Printer Prints As Fast As An Inkjet Printer

Video: 3D Printer Prints As Fast As An Inkjet Printer
Video: 3D Print parts TWICE as fast with simple slicer tweaks. 3DP101 2023, June

3D printers that print in millimeters and larger are already in use in industrial production processes. However, many applications require precise micrometer-scale printing and a significantly higher printing speed. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a system that can be used to print high-precision, centimeter-sized objects with submicron-sized details at unprecedented speeds. They present this system in a special volume of the magazine Advanced Functional Materials. (DOI: 10.1002 / adfm.201907795).

New world record set with metamaterial

The researchers printed a 60 cubic millimeter grid structure with details down to the micrometer scale that contains more than 300 billion voxels - a voxel is the three-dimensional analogue of the pixel in 2D printing. "With the printing of this metamaterial, we are beating the record that has been achieved with 3D-printed aircraft wings - a new world record," explains Professor Martin Wegener, spokesman for the Cluster of Excellence 3D Matter Made to Order (3DMM2O), as part of which the system was developed.

Seminar tip

The 3D printing seminar in direct digital production conveys the technology, suitability and requirements of 3D printing and gives the participants an overview of the developments, possibilities and limits.

This is how the 3D system works

With this type of 3D printing, the light spot of a laser passes through a liquid photoresist under computer control. Only the material at the focal point of the laser is exposed and cured. Here, the focal points corresponding to the nozzles in the inkjet printer, with the difference that they are working in three dimensions.

This creates high-precision filigree structures for various areas of application such as optics and photonics, materials science, biotechnology or security technology. To date, a single laser light spot has produced several hundred thousand voxels per second, which is almost a hundred times slower than graphic inkjet printers.

Ten million voxels per second

In the system developed by the KIT scientists, the laser beam is divided into nine partial beams using special optics. These are bundled into one focus. All nine partial beams can be used in parallel and, thanks to improved electronic control, they can also be moved much faster than before. With several other technical improvements, the researchers in 3D printing are able to achieve printing speeds of around ten million voxels per second. This makes the system just as fast as a 2D graphic inkjet printer.

Nevertheless, research and development at KIT continues at high pressure. "After all, 3D printers not only want to print the equivalent of a sheet, but also thick books, " says Hahn. Advances in chemistry were particularly necessary for this, for example, more sensitive photoresists would have to be developed in order to be able to produce even more focal points with the same laser power.

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