“The fact that you can do fully 3D parts all in one step really does overcome an important problem in additive manufacturing,” says LLNL researcher Maxim Shusteff. “We’re trying to print a 3D shape all at the same time. The real aim of this paper was to ask, ‘Can we make arbitrary 3D shapes all at once, instead of putting the parts together gradually layer by layer?’ It turns out we can.”
Volumetric printing is not only faster, but eliminates the need for temporary support structures, is more flexible, and provides more geometric flexibility. So far, it’s been used to create squares, beams, planes, struts at arbitrary angles, lattices, and complex, curved objects.
However, the team points out that there is a limit to how complex shapes can be and the resolution can only be increased so far because the increased exposure will cause unwanted parts of the liquid resin to cure. The hope is that the development of more responsive polymers will not only allow for larger objects with higher resolution, but also the printing of objects out of ultralightweight hydrogels. In addition, volumetric printing works in weightlessness, making it useful for manufacturing aboard spacecraft.
(For the balance of this article please see: https://newatlas.com/volumetric-3d-printing-laser/52546/)