EVANSTON, Ill., Feb. 15, 2021 – A research team at Northwestern University developed a method that uses light to improve the speed and precision of 3D printing. The ability to manipulate the original structure’s design layer-by-layer and pivot the printing direction without re-creating the model allowed the researchers to print more complicated structures, and with increased flexibility throughout the process. “Now we have a dynamic process that uses light to assemble all the layers but with a high degree of freedom to move each layer along the way,” Sun said. The dynamic 3D-printing method developed at Northwestern University uses light and a high-precision robot arm to print a variety of structures. Compared to the traditional printing process, the researchers said, the robot features enhanced geometric complexity, efficiency, and quality. The robotic arm then changes the direction of the printing process, influencing the way in which the structure is completed. “Shining light on the liquid polymer causes it to crosslink, or polymerize, converting the liquid to a solid. This contributes to the speed and precision of our 3D-printing process – two major challenges that conventional 3D printing is facing.”

Read the full article at photonics