If you thought that the current 3D printing technologies, such as FDM, SLS, SLA, and Jetting were advancing rapidly, then wait until you hear about this new technology. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have come up with a technique which could be described as an entirely new 3D printing paradigm.
The technology is based on electrophoretic deposition (EPD), which has been used for nearly a century within the auto industry to prime vehicles before painting them. The way it works is simple. The body of the car is given a negative charge, while the liquid primer is given a positive charge. The opposite charges create a bond between the two materials. Other applications for EPD are for painting cermaics, and other materials, and even for depositting living cells on a surface. Up until now though, there has been no way to control where the materials would be placed. Manufacturers were only able to deposit a material across an entire object. There was no way to selectively place it in certain spots.
The researchers were able to use a process called light-directed electrophoretic deposition, which uses photoconductive electrodes and DC electrical fields to target and then build up a material on a certain area. Wherever the light came in contact with the photoconductors surface, they were able to build material on that spot. This has led them to be able to produce very accurate multi-material composites.
“We have presented a novel electrophoretic deposition technique based on using light to pattern materials on a photoconductive layer. This represents a large step in advancing electrophoretic deposition as a method of fabricating complex 3D patterned composites,” said Andrew Pascall, research engineer and lead author.
Basically what the researchers have done is find a way to make traditional EPD gain an extra dimension. Instead of only being able to deposit a single layer of material across an entire surface, the light-directed EPD allows them to build on top of that material, as many layers as they wish, creating 3D objects. It’s another form of 3D printing, that if scaled up could be extremely accurate, and a faster way to go about additive manufacturing. One of the potential applications for this new technology, which allows for a more accurate creation of void areas within a printed object, is for the 3D printing of veins and arteries within a printed organ.
There is still research to be done but this technology could have huge implications on the future of the 3D printing industry in general. You can talk more about light-directed EPD at the 3dprintboard forum thread. The full report on the research can be found here.
You May Also Like
Photocentric Expands with New 3D Printer, Materials, and Partnerships
Photocentric is the inventor of, and leader in, 3D printing based on LCD screen technology. Based in Cambridgeshire, UK and Arizona, US, the company has a patent in visible light...
Electronics 3D Printing: Analysis of Rogers Corp’s New Dielectric Material for AM
Rogers Corporation (NYSE:ROG) has launched its Radix 3D Printable Dielectrics series of products at the IPC APEX EXPO 2022 currently taking place in San Diego. The materials signify an important...
To End Animal Testing, BICO & CCS Push FDA Modernization Act
As the world continues developing alternatives to animal testing like bioprinting, in vitro models of human tissues, and predictive computer models, the demand for live animal testing has become outdated...
$2M in Electronics 3D Printers Sold to Military Customer by Optomec
While we’re still not able to 3D print an entire iPhone at once, electronics 3D printing may be progressing more quickly than most people might notice. A pioneer in this...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.