Silicon Valley startup Carbon3D has developed a new 3-dimensional printing technology known as CLIP that could help transform the manufacturing sector by improving production quality and speeding the printing process by up to 100 times. Carbon3D, a venture capital-backed startup that emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday, made its announcement on the main stage of the TED2015 'Truth or Dare' big-ideas conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Three-dimensional printing has made major strides in recent years, and has been used for everything from printing a pizza to allowing NASA to digitally transmit hand tools to astronauts in orbit around the earth. However, the technology has primarily been applied to basic prototyping, rather than full-scale manufacturing.
Faster Process, Better Results
Typically, 3D printing involves using jets to print an object one layer at a time from a reservoir of raw materials. As a result, 3D printed parts take many hours, even days, to produce and can be mechanically weak due to their shale-like layers. In addition, the layer-by-layer approach used in conventional 3D printing can produce objects with mechanical properties that vary considerably depending on the direction in which each layer was printed.
In contrast the new technology, known as continuous liquid interface production (CLIP), uses light and oxygen to continuously grow objects from a pool of resin. Carbon3D said that its new technique results in speeds 25 to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing. Since objects made using the CLIP technique are not printed one layer at a time, their mechanical properties are stronger than other 3D-printed objects.
The resulting objects are closer to what can be produced by a traditional injection molding process, which produces objects with consistent mechanical properties, smooth exteriors and solid cores.
Printing with Light and Oxygen
Instead of printing layers, the CLIP process grows objects out of a resin pool by manipulating the material’s exposure to ultraviolet light and oxygen. UV light causes the molecules in the resin bath to undergo photo polymerization, a process that causes individual molecules to form more complex chains. Exposure to oxygen, on the other hand, inhibits polymerization. Controlling the resin’s exposure to both allows the printer to determine how an object takes shape.
“Current 3D printing technology has failed to deliver on its promise to revolutionize manufacturing,” said 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 was founded in 2013 and recently announced a Series B round of financing led by Silver Lake Kraftwerk, alongside Northgate Capital and Sequoia Capital, raising a total of $41 million to commercialize the technology.
“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.”
Posted: 2015-03-17 @ 6:01pm PT
My next house and car.