The principle of tomography, the same used in the clinical field for radiography and ultrasound, applied to the world of 3D printers. It is the intuition of the EPFL institute in Lausanne that promises to be able to create objects in three complex dimensions and in extremely short times, without the problems related to the additive manufacturing process that serves as the basis for more traditional equipment.
3D printers: the secret is in the light
A photosensitive resin it is hit by beams of light coming from lasers positioned at different angles and in a non-random way: where they are more intense, the material tends to solidify, giving life to a result that therefore no longer needs the superposition of multiple layers. Something similar already happens in printers today based on stereolithography, but here the times are further reduced without compromising on quality.
The streaming video shows the operation quite clearly, accompanying it with the description provided by Paul Delrot, researcher and CTO of Readily 3D, a company created precisely with the aim of bringing technology to the market.
It is light that does it all. Lasers harden the liquid through a polymerization process. Depending on what you want to achieve, algorithms are used that calculate exactly where to direct the beams, from which angles and with what intensity.
Medicine is biology the areas most interested in such a system could be, while other methods will probably continue to be preferred for prototyping in the industrial sector. Its inventors imagine its use for example for the reproduction of tissues, organs or small devices such as hearing aids or mouthguards.
It should not be overlooked that with this approach it is possible to create objects in three dimensions within closed and sterile spacessafe from contamination. However, there is still work to be done: at the moment it allows you to print anything, but with a maximum length of 2 cm and an accuracy level of 80 micrometers. The goal is to reach at least 15 centimeters in size, further increasing the resolution.