Continuous 3D Printing


The company Carbon3D came out of two years of stealth mode Monday night with a simultaneous TED Talk and Science paper publication. Their new tech, which they say could be used in industrial applications within the next year, makes coveted 3-D printers the likes of those sold by MakerBot look like child’s play.

Unlike conventional 3D printing, this printer continuously forms a new object, rather than printing it in layers. As a result, it’s much faster than conventional 3D printing (it takes minutes, instead of hours). There are a few different types of existing 3D printers, but they mostly work via the same principle: a printing head passes over a platform over and over, depositing layer after layer of a material like plastic in a precise pattern. Over time, these layers combine to form the desired object — much like a paper printer forms text on a page by putting down row after row of ink. By contrast, this new continuous 3D printer would do away with the layers entirely. Instead, a platform draws the object continuously out of a bath of liquid resin.

The resin solidifies when ultraviolet light hits it (a process called photopolymerization). So to create the desired item, a projector underneath the resin pool shoots UV light, in the form of a series of cross-sectional images of the object. Light, in a sense, is the blade that the printer uses to sculpt its products. Meanwhile, oxygen prevents this reaction from occurring — so to stop the object from simply hardening and sticking to the floor of the pool, there’s a layer of dissolved oxygen there, creating an ultra-thin “dead zone” at the very bottom.


3D Printable Ouya Game Console Case

Gamers will be able to design their own cases for the forthcoming Yves Behar-designed OUYA console and print them out with a MakerBot 3D printer.

The partnership will see OUYA upload 3D print files for the case to Thingiverse, the online design database operated by MakerBot, where they can be downloaded and produced with a desktop 3D printer.

The news comes two months after after mobile phone maker Nokia became the first major manufacturer to release 3D print files for its products, allowing consumers to print their own customised phone cases.

The OUYA’s case includes a lid and a spring-loaded button to house the console’s hardware, allowing users to make modifications to the standard round-edged cube designed by San Francisco designer Yves Behar.

As the first product from technology start-up Boxer8, the OUYA will allow developers to make their own games and tweak the hardware as they wish.

Based on open design principles that encourage users to develop and adapt products themselves, the console will run on Google’s Android operating system and all games will either be free or available as a free trial, while the hardware itself will cost only $99.

The development of OUYA was funded through Kickstarter, with supporters pledging £5.6 million in exchange for first access to the console, making it the second-highest earning project in the crowdfunding website’s history.

Some 1,200 Kickstarter investors were given developer versions of the console at the start of the year, but it’s expected to be available to the public this June.

Last week MakerBot unveiled a prototype of a desktop scanner that will allow users to digitally scan objects they want to replicate with a 3D printerat home – see all MakerBot news and all 3D printing news.


Printable Headphones

With 3D printers becoming more accessible we decided to have a think around the concept “life in beta” as a future scenario. What if printed prototypes could become actual products? Meaning, once off the print bed an object could be assembled without any tools and be made functional by readily attainable components. John Mabry decided to stress test the premise with the challenge of making electronically simple yet functionally complex headphones.

My first go resulted in a good-looking functional model created on a professional ABS FDM machine (Dimension 1200ES: print time 13 hours and 30 minutes, hence the name). It worked out well, but the machine we used isn’t accessible to the average maker, and two of the critical parts relied heavily on soluble support printing—a non-issue for professional 3D printers, a major issue for desktop 3D printers.

Last week he started to started to adapt the 13:30 design to the Maker Bot Replicator. The main challenge: How to build to a similar level of quality without soluble support. In the meantime, he posted the current model(s), component list, and instructions on Thingiverse for you to make your own working headphones right now.