NewPro3D Intelligent Liquid Interface 3D printing.
Last March, Joseph DeSimone, announced that in just 12 months, Carbon3D would release its CLIP technology with speeds up to 100 times faster than current 3D printing methods as a full product. Since then the 3D printing world has been engrossed by the idea of a technology that could completely change the game in terms of speed and efficiency but in that time, another name has quietly entered the race to the title of ‘fastest 3D printing technology’, Canada-based start-up NewPro3D.
But unlike Carbon3D, there was no TED Talk, millions of YouTube views or Terminator comparisons to bring the industry to the attention of a company that believes its taken the lead on speed. Instead, a modest stand in the middle of the CES 3D Printing Marketplace and a sign that simply but boldly stated: “World’s fastest 3D printer”.
It’s easy to brush off a “world first” in this industry where every technology is just that one extra word away from the perfect marketing opportunity and you would have been forgiven for walking by and thinking exactly that. However, the difference here is that NewPro3D’s machine was there, printing large, complex lattices to completion in minutes and doing so right in front of your eyes.
“We are really a research and development company, frustrated by the time it took to 3D print,” Diego Castanon Seoane, founder of NewPro3D, explained. “We ended up developing a 3D printer so now we are a 3D printing company.”
After spending two years in R&D, NewPro3D believe they have come up with a technology that has “revolutionised the speed of 3D printing”. Similar to DLP, Intelligent Liquid Interface (ILI) technology is a resin-based method that integrates a transparent membrane between the curing resin and the light source, which is designed to create a “dead zone”. This eliminates the mechanical repositioning used on similar processes and instead allows the object to grow at record speed.
NewPro3D says the technology is neither size or geometrically limited with an object as big as 25 feet long not out of the realms of possibility – a prototype of this size is currently underway. Promising that this machine is designed for “so much more” than prototyping, the Vancouver-based company says this technology has the potential to speed up manufacturing in industries like dental, medical and jewellery where a ring cast can be printed in just under a minute.
What may come as a surprise is that the team at NewPro3D have no desire to be a 3D printing company. They are inventors first and foremost and right now the idea is to seek potential licensing opportunities rather than manufacture the machines themselves. The company is apparently already in active talks with various blue chip companies to do just that.
NewPro3D sample part.
"We're open to all business opportunities,” Nick Findler, Marketing Manager at NewPro3D. “We want to look at all licencing and other opportunities that come our way and our ears are definitely open. We've only been around for two years now but the sky is really the limit with us.”
Despite it’s presence at a consumer event, NewPro3D insists that this technology is for more than just the garage tinkerers - though judging by the “Take my money please!” comments on YouTube, they’ve already got a captive audience. They believe the real value of this technology is in industrial sectors such as aerospace and automotive where 3D printing acts as a much faster and viable alternative to traditional processes like injection moulding.
“Mass production is going to change, it's already changing but the game changer is time,” Diego, commented. “You can't take 18 hours to print an object. So we’re bringing that to the table … I understand that today we are the fastest but to keep that we need to keep working. There's always going to be somebody that's going to beat you.”
That is why they’re not stopping with resins and are in fact already moving onto their next venture - building the world’s fastest metal 3D printer. With metal 3D printing in a whole other league to their current technology, it will be certainly be interesting to see what the team at NewPro3D come up with and how its challengers to the speed-crown respond.
TCT interviews NewPro3D at CES 2016.