Feeds

Speedy 3D printer creates 285µm Formula-1 speedster

Nanoscale engineering just got much faster

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Scientists at the Vienna Institute of Technology have demonstrated a polymer and laser etching technique that promises to dramatically speed up the printing of tiny 3D objects.

The technique uses a fluid polymer developed at the university, which hardens when hit by a strong light source. A laser was used to create a series of models by directing the beam with a series of mirrors. Being able to direct the light quickly, combined with the fast-setting qualities of the polymer, enabled the team to set new speed records for this kind of nanoengineering.

"Until now, this technique used to be quite slow," said Professor Jürgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology in a statement. "The printing speed used to be measured in millimeters per second – our device can do five meters in one second."

Nanoscale Indy car

Now all we need is a miniature Lewis Hamilton (click to enlarge)

The polymer needs to absorb two photons of the laser beam at once, which is only possible at the center of the beam, in order to kick off the chemical processes involved. Because the hardened surface doesn't need to be prepared before the next layer is added, this adds to the speed of printing.

"The resin contains molecules, which are activated by the laser light. They induce a chain reaction in other components of the resin, so-called monomers, and turn them into a solid," said team member Jan Torgersen.

Nanoscale Tower Bridge

In this wee Tower Bridge, the towers are a mere 90µm apart (click to enlarge)

The team is now looking at practical applications for the process. Because of the increased speed, much larger objects (relatively speaking) can be built, and the team envisages using it to build individual tools and parts for nanoengineering, or printing minute frameworks of scaffolding around which biological cells can form around medical purposes. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.