Carbon3D 3D Printer Printing at 7x Speed
If you work in or are involved in the 3D Printing industry you may have heard to some hushed hubbub about a revolutionary new 3D printing process in development, you may have noted that in the opening line up of the respected TED Conference - kicking off today - that there's a man called Joseph DeSimone from a company called Carbon3D. TED don't throw speaking opportunities out haphazardly, this was always going to be big news.
According to interviews DeSimmone has given in the months before the unveil Carbon3D's process, years in the making, is up to 100x faster than other 3D printing processes on the market.
Bold claims like this are not unusual when new machinery is launched but rarely has somebody so distinguished in the relevant fields come to the fore with a technology that could shake up the entire industry. DeSimone is a member of all three of the U.S. national academies: the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering he was also the winner of the über prestigious Lemelson-MIT $500,000 first prize for his invention PRINT Technology, used to manufacture nanocarries in medicine, undoubtedly serving as a platform for this latest.
Today is the day Carbon3D comes out of stealth and potentially shakes up an entire industry. DeSimone and the team have developed an entirely new polymer-based 3D printing process called Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP), which harnesses light and oxygen to continuously grow objects from a pool of resin instead of printing layer-by-layer.
This process not only allows objects to be produced up to 100 times faster in a broad range of materials but, because of the lack of layering, it is able to print objects with consistent mechanical properties.
“Current 3D printing technology has failed to deliver on its promise to revolutionize manufacturing,” said Dr. Joseph DeSimone, CEO and Co-Founder, Carbon3D. “Our CLIP technology offers the game-changing speed, consistent mechanical properties and choice of materials required for complex commercial quality parts.”
Carbon3D 3D Printer Printing the Eiffel Tower in Six Minutes
Carbon3D 3D Printer Printing an Eiffel Tower Model in Six and a Half Minutes
The following is taken directly from the PR in order to best explain how the CLIP process works.
Existing 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, technology is really just 2D printing, over and over again. As a result, 3D printed parts take many hours, even days, to produce and are mechanically weak due to their shale-like layers. Using a tunable photochemical process instead of the traditional mechanical approach, Carbon3D’s layerless continuous liquid interface production technology (CLIP) eliminates these shortcomings to rapidly transform 3D models into physical objects. By carefully balancing the interaction of UV light, which triggers photo polymerization, and oxygen, which inhibits the reaction, CLIP continuously grows objects from a pool of resin at speeds 25-100 times faster than traditional 3D printing.
At the heart of the CLIP process is a special window that is transparent to light and permeable to oxygen, much like a contact lens. By controlling the oxygen flux through the window, CLIP creates a “dead zone” in the resin pool just tens of microns thick (about 2-3 diameters of a red blood cell) where photopolymerization cannot occur. As a series of cross-sectional images of a 3D model is played like a movie into the resin pool from underneath, the physical object emerges continuously from just above the dead zone. Conventionally made 3D printed parts are notorious for having mechanical properties that vary depending on the direction the parts were printed because of the layer-by-layer approach. Much more like injection-moulded parts, CLIP produces consistent and predictable mechanical properties, smooth on the outside and solid on the inside.
Carbon3D's process has not only impressed the select few, who have had sneak peaks, the TED organisers but more importantly venture capitalists Sequoia Captial and Silver Lake Kraftwerk, who led the start-up's Series A financing in 2013 and Series B in 2014 respectively.
The funding total was to the tune of $41 million and its fair to say both venture capitalist firms are pretty excited by what they've seen:
“If 3D printing hopes to break out of the prototyping niche it has been trapped in for decades, we need to find a disruptive technology that attacks the problem from a fresh perspective and addresses 3D printing’s fundamental weaknesses,” said Jim Goetz, Carbon3D board member and Sequoia partner. “When we met Joe and saw what his team had invented, it was immediately clear to us that 3D printing would never be the same.”
“We had studied the additive manufacturing ecosystem comprehensively and had concluded that the promise far exceeded the current reality in the marketplace,” said Adam Grosser, Carbon3D board member and Managing Director at Silver Lake Kraftwerk. “When we witnessed the CLIP process, we believed we had found a company that had invented a solution to speed, quality, and material selection. We are proud to work alongside Carbon3D to create a new category of 3D manufacturing.”
Reaction to Carbon3D's release is sure to be interesting, those who have had a sneak peak at some of the parts and processes are very excited about the potential of this process. You can read more on this story in your next issue of TCT Magazine, which will feature an interview with the Carbon3D team. Subscribe
Update 11.17 GMT 17/03
This video from Re/Code with Joseph DeSimone direct from TED gives a great insight into the technology. Questions answered include timeframe and costs and a surprising insight into the inspiration of the technology...