For years we have been constantly reporting on volumetric 3D printing. Unlike most processes that create objects layer by layer, volumetric 3D printing allows an object to be manufactured in a single step.
Many research institutions as well as companies deal with this method. like one search group at University of California Berkeley. as part of the project OpenCAL The team is developing and researching volumetric 3D printing. They call the method “computerized axial lithography” and make their technology available under open licenses.
Taylor Waddell, a PhD student on the team, shared insights about the technology in a recent interview. He explained that the process is based on three main components: matter, rotation, and the projector. The material used is light sensitive and must have a certain viscosity in order to serve as a support structure. The rotation and projector are responsible for shooting. An interesting aspect of this technique is its similarity to the tomography used in medical computed tomography. Waddell describes the process as a “CT scan in reverse order.”
With computed axial lithography, 3D printing can be achieved in a few seconds. While Waddell only presented smaller objects in the interview, he confirmed that expansion to several meters is entirely possible. Although production time is increased for larger objects, it is still significantly shorter at less than 3 minutes compared to traditional 3D printing processes.
The UC Berkeley team is also investigating applications in microgravity, where lower viscosity materials can then be used. Technology tests are planned on the International Space Station over the next two years.
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