Those very talented people over at the University of California at Berkeley have developed a new way of 3D printing using light. You may think, but doesn’t SLA use light for printing? Yes! However, the printing is done as a whole, and not layer by layer. It got the title The Replicator due to Star Trek and their way of creating water, air, food and many different objects seemingly out of nothing!
How does it work?
The Replicator works similarly as a CT scanner but in reverse. A patient lies in the CT scanner and an x-ray moves around their body to take multiple scans of which is then transferred to a computer to create the 3D images. The Replicator works by beginning with a 3D model. The model is loaded into a computer, and the research team then get 2D photos from this model. It is then loaded into a slide projector, and the images are projected onto a cylinder filled with a resin called Acrylate.
The cylinder rotates to match the angle of the image being projected to it. As this happens, the resin goes solid when enough photons are absorbed, which creates the end print. As the print is not done layer by layer, this results in a much smoother surface. The Replicator can only print small objects currently, of which only takes minutes to do. It is thought that in the future, this method can be used to create unique medical parts. There is also research on existing enrobing objects within the resin.
Check out the video below to see and learn more!