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MIT Creates Laser 3D Printer

Designboom reports on a startling new additive manufacturing breakthrough, which has occurred in labs at MIT.  Engineers there have successfully created a new super fast desktop 3D printer.  Apparently, this desktop 3D printer is capable of performing “ten times faster than existing commercial counterparts.”

Other desktop 3D printers may be capable of fabricating “a few LEGO-sized bricks in one hour, whereas [MIT’s new desktop 3D printer design] can print similarly sized objects in just a few minutes.”

How can this be possible, you may ask?

Well, MIT’s new desktop 3D printer features a compact printhead boasting “two speed-enhancing components: a screw mechanism feeding polymer material through a nozzle at high force; and a laser…rapidly heating and melting the material, enabling it to flow faster through the nozzle.”

In order to demonstrate their new technological breakthrough, the MIT engineers had their high-speed laser desktop 3D printer fabricate “various detailed, handheld 3D objects, including small eyeglass frames, and a bevel gear – each, from start to finish, within several minutes.”

MIT’s Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Anastosios John Hart concluded his team’s breakthrough 3D printer shines a light on the “potential for 3D printing to become a more viable production technique.”

In Professor Hart’s own words, “if I can get a prototype part, maybe a bracket or a gear, in five to ten minutes rather than the next day, I can engineer, build, and test faster.  If I’m a repair technician and I could have a fast 3D printer in my vehicle, I could 3D print a repair part on-demand after I figure out what’s broken.  I don’t have to go to a warehouse and take it out of inventory.”

Truly, this 3D printer will speed up the entire manufacturing chain.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Designboom

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