In a breakthrough development, scientists at the Northwestern University have developed a superfast futuristic 3D printer. The superfast device can print an adult human size object in only a couple of hours.
The device based on a novel technology high-area rapid printing (HARP) enables massive throughput for manufacture of products on demand. Meanwhile, efforts to push limits of legacy 3D printing technologies is the aim for a very long time.
Earlier, efforts for larger parts have come at the cost of throughput, speed, and resolution. HARP technology overcomes this. Further, the technology enables to compete with resolution as well as throughput of conventional manufacturing techniques.
Coming to dimensions, the prototype of HARP technology comprises a 6.25 square-feet print bed and is 13 feet tall. The speed is monumental that can print approximately half a yard in one hour. This speed is a record in 3D printing. Besides this, the technology can print components of varying sizes concurrently.
Despite conceptually powerful, 3D Printing limited in use
Nonetheless, 3D printing remains limited for practical use. If printing did not have limitations of materials or size, it would revolutionize manufacturing. HARP is anticipated to do this. HARP is likely to be commercially available in the next 18 months.
Coming to its technicalities, HARP uses a patented pending type of stereolithography. The latter is a 3D printing type that transforms liquid plastics into solids. Further, on its technicality, HARP carries out vertical printing and employs projected ultraviolet light for curing liquid resins into hardened plastic. The process thus used can print parts that are elastic, hard, or even ceramic.
In terms of strength, parts continually printed using HARP technology are mechanically robust. This is in contrast to laminated structures that are common to other types of 3D-printing technologies. Featuring this, the technology is suitable to print components of airplanes, cars, dentistry and much more.