3D printing has been baby stuff for a while now, but German firm Nanoscribe GMBH is heading nano and 3D to adulthood, fast.
is one of the heavy hitters in technological capacity. A process called photo polymerization or photonic polymerization is making it possible to manage nano materials very easily and elegantly. Using a process which is only just a bit more complex than burning paper with a magnifying glass, Nanoscribe have achieved extraordinary efficiency in polymerizing a range of photosensitive nano materials.
What raises this achievement into super-important status is that it’s so much more efficient, both in terms of time and capabilities. 5Tb is a huge amount of data, and if you make the equation with usual CAD design usage, it’s ultra-functional. You could do a full 3D design of an entire building complete with people and their business paraphernalia with about 50Gb, let alone 5Tb.
By means of the new laser lithography method, printing speed is increased by factor of about 100. This increase in speed results from the use of a galvo mirror system, a technology that is also applied in laser show devices or scanning units of CD and DVD drives. Reflecting a laser beam off the rotating galvo mirrors facilitates rapid and precise laser focus positioning. "We are revolutionizing 3D printing on the micrometer scale. Precision and speed are achieved by the industrially established galvo technology. Our product benefits from more than one decade of experience in photonics, the key technology of the 21st century," says Martin Hermatschweiler, the managing director of Nanoscribe GmbH.
Ahem…. Also in CD and DVD drives
? That means this process can be easily adapted to industrial scale usage. It could be one of the biggest breakthroughs since the Spinning Jenny, across a range of applications, and it could be upscaled to bigger things than nano without requiring massive retraining, retooling, and other not-good-for-new-tech expenses.
Making things photosensitive is a different process, but not absurdly difficult. All that’s needed is a photosensitive agent in the materials. Polymers are very obliging things, and there’s a lot of polymers on the market which could easily respond to a bit of encouragement to be photosensitive.
Also extremely important is the ability to give designers and researchers instant access to their babies, particularly hard product versions of components. As every designer knows, the prototype and mockup stages are the real monsters in design, the “terrible twos” of getting a product going. Materials science and engineers also need a fast, “let’s get a sample” option, particularly with polymers. (The point where guesswork and good intentions regarding materials have to deal with practical issues is a much-feared and loathed part of design engineering and can be very frustrating if you wind up with vast quantities of an expensive but useless experimental material.)
This is real bottom line stuff for designers, manufacturers and ultimately for consumers. 3D printing is the new Industrial Revolution, and it’ll be on a scale that makes the 20th century look like cornflakes. Wait till 50/100 Tb comes along and you could print a human being in about 20 minutes.
(Admittedly, some human beings could be fairly considered unprintable….even un-editable and un-expurgate-able
Expect to see medical prostheses and procedures, computer and phone hardware and appliances using this for basic production pretty soon. The impact will be massive, including in one particular area- Quality control.
I have a standard expression- “It’s old-fashioned- It works.”
Maybe I won’t need to use it so often if this technology takes on fast.