Highest throughput 3D printer is the future of manufacturing
by Staff Writers
Evanston, Canada (SPX) Oct 18, 2019
Northwestern University researchers have developed a new, futuristic 3D printer that is so big and so fast it can print an object the size of an adult human in just a couple of hours.
Called HARP (high-area rapid printing), the new technology enables a record-breaking throughput that can manufacture products on demand. Over the last 30 years, most efforts in 3D printing have been aimed at pushing the limits of legacy technologies. Often, the pursuit of larger parts has come at the cost of speed, throughput and resolution. With HARP technology, this compromise is unnecessary, enabling it to compete with both the resolution and throughput of traditional manufacturing techniques.
The prototype HARP technology is 13-feet tall with a 2.5 square-foot print bed and can print about half a yard in an hour - a record throughput for the 3D printing field. This means it can print single, large parts or many different small parts at once.
"3D printing is conceptually powerful but has been limited practically," said Northwestern's Chad A. Mirkin, who led the product's development. "If we could print fast without limitations on materials and size, we could revolutionize manufacturing. HARP is poised to do that."
Mirkin predicts that HARP will be available commercially in the next 18 months.
The work will be published Oct. 18 in the journal Science. Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the International Institute of Nanotechnology. David Walker and James Hedrick, both researchers in Mirkin's laboratory, coauthored the paper.
Keeping it cool
A major limiting factor for current 3D printers is heat. Every resin-based 3D printer generates a lot of heat when running at fast speeds - sometimes exceeding 180 degrees Celsius. Not only does this lead to dangerously hot surface temperatures, it also can cause printed parts to crack and deform. The faster it is, the more heat the printer generates. And if it's big and fast, the heat is incredibly intense.
This problem has convinced most 3D printing companies to remain small. "When these printers run at high speeds, a great deal of heat is generated from the polymerization of the resin," Walker said. "They have no way to dissipate it."
"Our technology generates heat just like the others," Mirkin said. "But we have an interface that removes the heat."
"The interface is also nonstick, which keeps the resin from adhering to the printer itself," Hedrick added. "This increases the printer's speed by a hundredfold because the parts do not have to be repeatedly cleaved from the bottom of the print-vat."
Although 3D printing is transitioning from prototyping to manufacturing, current 3D printers' size and speed have limited them to small-batch production. HARP is the first printer that can handle large batches and large parts in addition to small parts.
"When you can print fast and large, it can really change the way we think about manufacturing," Mirkin said. "With HARP, you can build anything you want without molds and without a warehouse full of parts. You can print anything you can imagine on-demand."
Largest in its class
"Obviously there are many types of 3D printers out there - you see printers making buildings, bridges and car bodies, and conversely you see printers that can make small parts at very high resolutions," Walker said. "We're excited because this is the largest and highest throughput printer in its class."
Printers on the scale of HARP often produce parts that must be sanded or machined down to their final geometry. This adds a large labor cost to the production process. HARP is in a class of 3D printers that uses high-resolution light-patterning to achieve ready-to-use parts without extensive post-processing. The result is a commercially viable route to the manufacturing of consumer goods.
Nano goes big
"From a volumetric standpoint, we have spanned over 18 orders of magnitude," Mirkin said.
NASA looks to 3D printing to improve aircraft icing research tools
Cleveland OH (SPX) Aug 23, 2019
NASA's aeronautical innovators are using the most modern research tools available, including 3D printing, to generate new data that will help airplane makers and operators more efficiently deal with one of aviation's oldest safety challenges - namely, icing. That data, which will be publicly available in 2020, is the result of a cooperative five-year research program that involved NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), The French Aerospace Lab (ONERA), and several U.S. universities. ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.