New York-based 3D printing technology and materials company Graphene 3D Lab has had a lot of buzz attached to their company since it was formed last year. Most of it has been centered on their quest to be the first company to apply the various uses for graphene to 3D printing applications. The carbon-based super material has uses as diverse as electronics, bioengineering, water filtration, super strong lightweight composite materials and energy storage. Their first product was a conductive filament created for desktop FDM 3D printers that allows simple, electricity conducting circuits to be printed without having to add any other components or wiring.
Graphene 3D Lab has announced that they have filed a provisional patent application for a process using graphene materials to 3D print an organic LED light using their newly developed multi-functional 3D printer. The patent application includes 3D printer technology that uses multiple material deposition techniques, robotic manipulation, and laser as well as UV curing capabilities. The application is specific to the process of using their new printer to fabricate a working LED light source that is entirely functional right off of the printing bed with no further augmentation required. The printed organic LED device is a graphene coated transparent window that will automatically conduct electricity.
“We consider this new IP a dramatic leap forward, offering the ability to 3D print with multiple functional materials at the same time, including the ability to 3D print a working light. This printer was specifically designed to maximize the attributes of the functional materials we have already, and will introduce in the future to the market. Industrial builders will now have a printer with functionality that allows users to expand the potential of the projects they can design and manufacture. We believe these patents reflect the most advanced and functional 3D printer available anywhere today,” explained Co-CEO of Graphene 3D Elena Polyakova.
The Graphene 3D Lab multi-tool 3D printer has been under development for some time, but this patent application is the first time that we’ve been given a sense of what the machine may be capable of. The ability to 3D print a complete and functional LED device on a single machine is the first step in developing the technology to fabricate complex electronic devices using additive manufacturing technology. Not only would this dramatically reduce the cost and time required to manufacture personal electronic devices or electronic components for larger devices, but it opens up a whole new area of exploration for the maker community.
“A primary mission of our company is to revolutionize 3D printing by making it capable of easily fabricating functional objects, things that work and can be used. Incredibly, we have developed the technology of 3D printing a light source ‘from scratch’, with one touch of a button. Our main focus is developing specialized 3D printing techniques and materials that push past the boundaries of what is currently available,” said Daniel Stolyarov, Co-CEO of Graphene 3D.
While this is certainly exciting news, currently all we really know about the printer is what is in the patent application, which isn’t all that much. There is no mention of the potential costs, what materials are being used, what real world usable applications may exist or even a likely release date. In reality, the printer will likely not be available for preorder any time soon, as Graphene 3D Lab is still currently trying to find manufacturing partners to help them commercialize their technology. But this will still be bringing us one step closer to 3D printed electronic devices.
You can read more about what graphene is and why it could revolutionize just about everything here, you can purchase your own spool of conductive graphene-based 3D printer filament on BlackMagic3D, and check out the 3D printable graphene battery being developed by Graphene Lab here. Discuss this story in the Graphene 3D Lab LED Patent forum on 3DPB.com.