The inventors of Carbon3D argue that traditional 3D printing is a misnomer. This process is actually just repeated 2D printing, which creates a 3D object as the layers build up. Traditional 3D pronting also has a number of limitations. It is a lengthy process, often taking hours to produce a single object. The materials you can use are extremely limited, and the objects produced are often mechanically weak. These problems are the reason 3D printing is yet to be widely employed in mass production. Carbon3D’s creators believe their technology will change 3D printing forever. It’s capable of producing objects between 25 and 100 times faster than traditional techniques, working in minutes rather than hours. Carbon3D utilises the properties of light and oxygen to ‘grow’ parts from a liquid resin. Light and oxygen, in this case, work as polar opposites. Light converts the liquid resin into a solid, whereas oxygen stops the resin from solidifying.
By harnessing these properties, the mechanical steps and layers seen in traditional 3D printing are eliminated, producing a smooth, structurally sound object. The real innovation lies in the ‘window’, which enables the oxygen flux to be controlled, creating a layer between the window and the object called a ‘dead zone’. This area enables the object to be continuously grown from the resin.
With continued research and refi nement, the creators of Carbon3D hope to see their technique used to mass-produce objects. They also believe that they will be able to offer personalised medicine by producing parts designed to work for individuals, such as small tubes used for widening arteries known as stents.
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