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A new volumetric 3D-printing technique using light

Researchers at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a new method to create small soft objects using a laser and a liquid photo-sensitive polymer. Christened volumetric 3D-printing, the technique, which is particularly rapid, has potential applications in a wide range of fields, including bioprinting.

An online video shows an object taking shape in a rotating tube of photo-sensitive liquid polymer which solidifies when it absorbs light. The technique, based on tomography algorithms used in medical imaging, can produce precisely sculpted small objects in record time.

The team has also published a study entitled “High-resolution tomographic volumetric additive manufacturing” in Nature Communication vaunting the merits of the new technique, which is ten times faster than standard layer-by-layer 3D-printing.

The new technology could have applications in a range of fields, notably in medicine and biology. Being able to produce an object in a single piece allows for the printing of different textures, like tissues and bodily organs, and also hearing implants and dental guards.

As it stands, the researchers claim to be able to produce structures of up to 2 centimeters, with a precision of 80 micrometres, but with time they plan on scaling up to 15 centimetres.

The new patent-pending technology has now been entrusted to a dedicated start-up, Readily3D

About the author

Aditya Chandavarkar

Aditya Chandavarkar

Aditya Chandavarkar is a established entrepreneur with business interests in manufacturing, innovative technology and consulting. He is the co-founder of CNT Expositions and Services (acronym for Catalysing New Technologies), which was subsequently formed by the acquisition of Inkjet Forum India – a leading knowledge sharing platform for inkjet printing technology founded by him. At Inkjet Forum India, Aditya was single handedly responsible for conceptualizing and organizing conferences and educations programs, in the area of digital textile printing and industrial inkjet.