Rapid 2019: Laminated Resin Printing Technology: Callaghan Innovation Presents MicroMaker3D

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Many developments are being made on the microscopic scale in 3D printing—with numerous examples on display this week at RAPID + TCT 2019 in Detroit (May 20-23). New Zealand is hopping when it comes to 3D printing, whether in creating new metal processes or engineering dynamic new systems, and now Callaghan Innovation is representing in full force with MicroMaker3D, rapid prototyping hardware that allows for fabrication of objects smaller than a strand of hair.

Presenting their new technology today at the conference, Callaghan Innovation is introducing what they expect to be a major advancement in micro-structure 3D printing. Powered by patent-pending, laminated resin printing (LRP), MicroMaker3D has the potential to make a significant impact on the $7 billion miniaturization market with better accessibility for researchers and higher speeds in printing, impacting industries and applications to include:

  • Electronics
  • Wearables
  • Sensors
  • IoT devices

3D map of New Zealand

“We recognized the growing demand for miniaturized structures – the vital components in an increasing number of devices and manufacturing applications – and then we went about finding a way to produce these structures in a less costly way,” says Lead MicroMaker3D engineer Neil Glasson, who will deliver a presentation at RAPID.

Glasson expands further, explaining that since Micromaker3D arrived on the scene, their technology has continued to accelerate and progress, resulting in even more complex prototyping as LRP allows for fabrication of submillimeter structures with complex geometries of up to 100 percent density. This new production process also offers extremely ‘low-layer thicknesses’ and imaging speeds as quick as one second per layer independent of complexity or density.

“When LRP, a new type of 3D printing, was introduced last year we knew it had the potential to be game changing,” says Glasson. “Now with specialized engineering this is becoming a reality – we are printing detailed objects smaller than a strand of human hair. For context, a human hair is about 100 microns and with MicroMaker3D we’re talking 5 microns.

“Prototyping progress has been swift, and we continue refining the level of precision on the tiny structures. The team has recently produced moving parts which is exciting.”

Callaghan Innovation continues to promote global development of MicroMaker3D, as it becomes closer to a commercial reality overall.

“LRP was developed to address a growing market need to rapidly produce microscale structures in an efficient, convenient and cost-effective way,” said Cath Andrews, Senior Business Development Manager. “It could open up miniaturization as a new high value application in additive manufacturing, an industry that already exceeded $US7B in 2018. So, it’s not surprising that with its development it’s attracting investor and end-user interest.”

Neil Glasson presented MicroMaker3D and discussed its progress today (Room 330 B), and he and Cath will be speaking with interested parties attending RAPID over the next few days.

3D printing seems limitless, with creative boundaries being broken continually—whether on the micro or macro size. While 3D discoveries and innovation are fascinating on the micro- and nanoscale, engineers and designers also like to go big, whether in 3D printing a skyscraper or a creating a complex art installation. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

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