Engineers at the University of California created a 3D printer that is able to convert the polymer jelly in a complex solid objects using light.
The device is called Replicator, in honor of the adaptation of the sci-Fi series “Star trek” that can materialize any object from the air.
“Of course, the real 3D printer is not so advanced, but it is still much better those gadgets that are common today. The objects that he creates are smoother, more flexible and more complex than those printed traditional 3D printers,” writes IGate.
Replicator can pack other solid object inside a three-dimensional figure. For example, the printer can “print” the handle around the metal stem of the screwdriver.
According to Hayden Taylor, associate Professor of mechanical engineering, University of California, this method of printing is opening new perspectives for the creation of medical devices, be they complex dentures or contact lenses.
Most existing 3D printers print in layers. Even those 3D printers that use photopolymer solidifying, create a shape layer by layer, though doing it with a laser.
This leads to jagged edges, which require subsequent manual processing. Also the layered print doesn’t allow to create shapes from flexible materials.
The new method does not have these disadvantages. The projector shines on rotating the flask the polymer with jelly, creating a full figure.
It does not use UV or lasers. Hayden Taylor used in the construction of the conventional projector, which, according to him, he brought from home.
It is also important to note that the printing process is completely waste-free. all unused polymer is drained from the flasks and used for subsequent models.
Engineers have used the system to create a variety of models, from the dental prosthesis to the little statuette of the Thinker. The developers are confident that the ease and availability of their new invention will change the world of 3D printing.