3D printing is a revolutionary development in our modern technology and for years it has promised to transform the way we manufacture parts and products across the world’s industries. Currently, we are not quite at the global scale of commercial use the experts predicted, because the larger scale prints can take a long time and material choices are far too limited.
However, A North Carolina company named Carbon 3D has produced CLIP — Continuous Liquid Interface Production — which is a breakthrough 3D printing technology that grows parts instead of printing them layer by layer. CLIP allows businesses to produce commercial quality parts at very fast speeds, leading the way to global commercial 3D manufacturing.
How does it work?
By carefully balancing the interaction of light and oxygen, CLIP continuously grows objects from a pool of liquid resin. UV light triggers photopolymerization and oxygen inhibits it; the arm of the printer is slowly elevated, pulling with it the printed item. Creator Joseph DeSimone, says that the end of “Terminator 2” is what inspired his team to create this new process!
For those that have not seen the film, it is when the T-1000 robot rises from a puddle of liquefied metal to form new Terminator robot.
Is it faster?
While speed is dependent on various factors, traditional 3D printing takes hours or even days to finish. CLIP is 25 to 100 times faster – in a test performed by Carbon 3D, it took CLIP seven minutes to produce a hollow geometric prism which took close to ten hours in a standard 3D printer.
Below is data collected when comparing commercial 3D printers in producing a 51mm diameter complex object.
What’s the difference?
Currently, traditionally made commercial 3D printed parts can be unreliable and inconsistent. Due to the layer-by-layer approach in the standard 3D printer, the mechanical properties can really vary.
All parts printed with CLIP are much more like injection-molded parts, with the resin being lifted into shape – CLIP produces consistent and predictable mechanical properties creating parts that are smooth on the outside and solid on the inside.
all images credit to carbon3d.com