‘ Ter­mi­na­tor’-in­spired 3D printer turns liq­uids into per­son­alised pros­thet­ics

Focus-Science and Technology - - Discoveries -

THE SHAPE-SHIFT­ING T-1000 was one of the most iconic vil­lains in SF movie his­tory. Now, a team from the Uni­ver­sity of North Carolina has used the char­ac­ter as the in­spi­ra­tion to cre­ate a 3D printer that cre­ates fully formed ob­jects from a pool of liq­uid.

Stan­dard 3D print­ing tech­nol­ogy works by build­ing up ma­te­ri­als layer by layer, fus­ing them to­gether as it goes. But this new tech­nique – dubbed CLIP, or Con­tin­u­ous Liq­uid In­ter­face Pro­duc­tion – works by us­ing light and oxy­gen to so­lid­ify a liq­uid resin. It can cre­ate ob­jects with a level of de­tail just 20 mi­crons across: that’s less than one-quar­ter the thick­ness of a piece of pa­per. It is also 25 to 100 times faster than con­ven­tional meth­ods, say its in­ven­tors. CLIP en­ables a wide range of ma­te­ri­als to be used to make 3D parts with novel prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing ny­lon­like, ce­ramic and biodegrad­able ma­te­ri­als, ex­pand­ing 3D print­ing’s range of po­ten­tial ap­pli­ca­tions.

Biodegrad­able coro­nary stents are one item which CLIP is ide­ally suited to pro­duc­ing

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