Light Rays 3D Print Amazing, Tiny Glass Objects

Useful Applications For Glass Geometries

Over at UC Berkeley in California, developers were able to 3D print microstructures made of glass in a speedier, of higher quality strength and flexibility. It’s a new method in conjunction with the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany that the partnership was able to print in glass. The much finer features were a result of the process called computed axial lithography or CAL. They called the new system ‘micro-CAL’.

When creating complex microscopic models, such as lenses for high-end cameras, smartphones, and medical endoscopes, glass is usually the favored material to 3D print. Currently available methods of manufacturing these objects are quite expensive and time-consuming to produce, as well as slow to meet the industry’s soaring demands. They also result in rough surface textures. However, the CAL process features smooth surfaces and complex geometries, requiring no layers. CAL prints the entire object simultaneously. A laser is used to project patterns of light into a rotating volume of light-sensitive material, building up a 3D ‘light dose’ that solidifies in the desired shape.

The CAL process first came to light in 2019, printing microscale features up to a third of a millimeter in size, but micro-CAL can print objects in polymers with features down to about 20 millionths of a meter, or use glass, this time up to about 50 millionths of a meter.

To print the glass, a resin material containing nanoparticles of glass surrounded by a light-sensitive binder liquid is subjected to digital light projections from the printer to solidify the binder, then the printed object is heated to remove the binder and fuse the particles together into a solid object of pure glass that does not break easily.

What are the useful applications of the CAL 3D-printing method? Firstly, it can meet customer requirements for geometry, size and optical and mechanical properties. Manufacturers of microscopic optical components of compact cameras, virtual reality headsets, advanced microscopes and other scientific instruments, like microfluidic channels for research and medical diagnostics, can find potential in the new micro-CAL method. This research was published in Science.


3D Printing in Small Details

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Amazing 3D Printed Alloy is NASA’S New High-Performance Metal

Towards High Performance Aerospace Systems

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA, is coming out with an amazing and all-new metal 3D printed alloy that proved to be 1,000 times more durable than other available aerospace alloys. Know more about this wonder alloy and how it can propel NASA aerospace systems design to greater heights.

NASA’s latest innovation is the GRX-810 which is an example of an oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) alloy, and is 3D printable. The metal is composed of oxide particles in nano scale, more malleable than other alloys and can endure temperatures of over 1,090 °C. Hence, it affords both strength and durability to aerospace components. It is applicable for systems such as rocket engines and turbine engine combustors.

NASA R&D knows how harsh and unforgiving outer space is, therefore, under extreme environmental conditions, their materials must have mechanical properties that perform optimally. The GRX-810 has twice the fracture resistance, three and a half times the ductility and malleability, and over 1,000 times the durability under stress. NASA R&D looks into materials development, aiming for new types of materials, stronger, more lightweight, with the ability to stretch and bend before breaking while tensile strength is increased.

It is the nanoscale oxide particles that render the incredible performance benefits of this wonder alloy. It boasts of remarkable performance improvements, including improved fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs.

NASA’s new alloy development process resulted in GRX-810’s impressive blend of characteristics. 3D printing technology was combined with thermodynamic modeling to achieve the material’s breakthrough performance. Though ODS alloys are usually difficult, costly and time consuming to develop, NASA was able to leverage thermodynamic modeling and utilize laser-based 3D printing to bring down development time and accelerate development rate.


Changing The Future of Space Flight

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Luxury Car Manufacturer Commits to 3D Printing

Luxury Car’s “Dream Factory” To Lead The Way

Bentley, the British manufacturer and marketer of luxury vehicles, known for their speed and performance, has announced that it is investing anew in its 3D printing facility in Crewe, England.
To the tune of £3 million, the goal is to enhance more customization of their cars by using additive manufacturing. Actually, back in 2021, Bentley has applied AM in a wide range of applications, producing more than 15,000 components.

The investment will go towards developing and doubling their UK facility to come up with a “Dream Factory” concept, to enable the manufacture of electric vehicles. It is ultimately with the goal of becoming net-carbon neutral by 2030.

Currently, Bentley uses its 3D printers for manufacturing precise work equipment as well as physical components for prototypes and racing cars. With new investment, the automaker plans to use its 3D printing capacity to create personalization options for its mainline models; examples are the Bentley Bentayga and the Bentley Blower.

Bentley sees the benefits of additive manufacturing in their future. It is an industry-leading move that is efficiency-led, cutting down on cost and complexity in a variety of processes and jobs. 3D printers offer accuracy, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, resulting in up to half the cost savings compared to the traditional methods. Bentley designers use their current 3D printer series to choose from more than 100 material options and products with as many as three materials simultaneously including from glassware to rubber with different levels of tensile strength.

The future looks great for the auto industry, especially for those, like Bentley, that plays competitively using advanced technology as the ability to personalize products for the discerning car-buying market is getting sharper than ever.



What 3D Printing Is All About: A Beginner’s Guide

3D Printing Industry

3D printing is also known as “additive manufacturing” because every finished 3D printed product (if opened up sliced) is found to have thin layers of the printing material layed one of top of the other. They were added as such from the bottom-up by the extrusion nozzle of a 3D printer. The object is created from a digital file from a 3D model of it. The computer model is sliced into hundreds or thousands of layers and fed to the 3D printer.

What is the benefit of this system?

Traditional manufacturing is the old or usual way of manufacturing products, using, in contrast, subtractive manufacturing – removing parts of a block of material in order to create the desired shape. For example cutting wood or other materials. Additive manufacturing sees to it that even complex shapes can be created much more easily, uses less materials, and reduces time and wastage significantly. Parts and products can be printed on-site, hence, limiting transport needs. One-off items can be printed quickly and easily eliminating the burden of economies of scale. Products can be customized and redesigned as often as needed. 3D printing uses a variety of printing materials that are readily available – such as plastic, metal, powder, concrete, liquid, and others.

3D printing has been used in many applications and has impacted many industries, notably, the automotive industry, medical and healthcare, aerospace and construction. Others are manufacturing, architecture, design, education, entertainment and fashion.

Some of the most common examples that have been 3D printed came from a wide range of applications and many manufacturing settings. These products are airplane and spacecraft parts, car parts and accessories, running sneaker soles, mannequins and apparel, jewelries, body part prosthesis, robotics, furniture, small houses and buildings, as well as boats and bridges.

On the other hand, here are some examples or amazing, unusual and thought-provoking products: bones and muscles, including ovaries, bionic eyes, blood vessel networks, skin grafts, among others. Likewise, there’s food stuff like pizza, pastries and chocolates. Others are artificial coral reefs, replicas of archeological finds, sculptures, and more. Some homes have their own personal 3D printer that can pretty much churn up common, everyday items.


3D Printing with Graphene

Graphene is one of the most revolutionary materials ever developed. This carbon allotrope has attracted a lot of attention in the scientific community by combining some of the most desirable mechanical properties, including thermal stability, electrical conductivity, high strength, and an incredibly low weight. In fact, graphene has been found to be about seven times lighter than air.

For a long time, these attributes could only be found in graphene’s 2D form. However, with the help of 3D printing technology, this is changing. A group of researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory managed to produce 3D graphene without losing any of its impressive properties. They managed this with the use of DIW 3D printing, with which they have already successfully created 3D graphene supercapacitors. In the future, this process could be used to revolutionize the manufacture of many products.

Indeed, 3D printing offers a number of impressive materials to help you achieve your manufacturing vision. Talk to our Seattle rapid prototyping company to learn more.