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Speedy 3D printing in minutes

Researchers have sped up one approach to three-dimensional (3D) printing so that objects are produced in minutes instead of hours.

Credit: Carbon3D

One method of 3D printing involves shining ultraviolet rays up into a bath of liquid resin. The light solidifies the resin and the partial product is pulled upwards one notch at a time, which can take up to a day. Now Joseph DeSimone at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his colleagues have modified this process to make it continuous.

They made the bottom of the resin container permeable to oxygen, which stops the resin solidifying, creating a thin liquid layer just below the area where the solidification reaction happens. Because liquid is always present, the researchers can continuously pull up the forming object (example pictured), rather than waiting for new liquid resin to flow in.

Science 347, 1349–1352 (2015)

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Speedy 3D printing in minutes. Nature 519, 393 (2015).

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