Carbon3D’s 3D Printing Said to be up to 100-Times Faster than Conventional 3D Printing

Carbon3D_harness_light+oxygenMarch 18, 2015 – Silicon Valley company Carbon3D unveiled new polymer-based 3D printing that it says is up to 25- to 100-times faster than conventional 3D printing, which creates objects layer-by-layer. The new Carbon3D 3D-printing technology is based on new Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP) that uses light and oxygen to continuously grow objects from a pool of resin instead of printing them layer-by-layer.

Carbon CLIP 3D Printing

Carbon CLIP 3D Printing

Carbon3D says its CLIP technology raises the state-of-the-art in 3D printing in three ways:

  • Game-Changing Speed: 25-100 times faster than conventional 3D printing.
  • Commercial Quality: Produces objects with consistent mechanical properties
  • Material Choice: Enables a broad range of polymeric materials.

How CLIP Works

Carbon3D says that existing 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, technology is really just 2D printing, over and over again. As a result, 3D printed parts take many hours, even days, to produce and are mechanically weak due to their shale-like layers. Using a tunable photochemical process instead of the traditional mechanical approach, Carbon3D says its layer-less continuous liquid interface production technology (CLIP) eliminates these shortcomings to rapidly transform 3D models into physical objects. By carefully balancing the interaction of UV light, which triggers photo polymerization, and oxygen, which inhibits the reaction, CLIP continuously grows objects from a pool of resin at speeds 25-100 times faster than traditional 3D printing.

At the heart of the CLIP process is a special window that is transparent to light and permeable to oxygen, much like a contact lens. By controlling the oxygen flux through the window, CLIP creates a “dead zone” in the resin pool just 10s of microns thick (about 2-3 diameters of a red blood cell) where photopolymerization cannot occur. As a series of cross-sectional images of a 3D model is played like a movie into the resin pool from underneath, the physical object emerges continuously from just above the dead zone.

According to Carbon3D, conventionally made 3D printed parts are notorious for having mechanical properties that vary depending on the direction the parts were printed because of the layer-by-layer approach. Much more like injection-molded parts, however, CLIP produces consistent and predictable mechanical properties, smooth on the outside and solid on the inside.

Venture Backing

Carbon3D also announced it had partnered with Sequoia Capital to lead the company’s Series A round of financing in 2013 along with Northgate Partners, Piedmont Capital Partners and Wakefield Group. Silver Lake led the Series B round of financing in 2014 with Northgate Capital and Sequoia Capital, for a total raise of $40 million to commercialize the technology.

“If 3D printing hopes to break out of the prototyping niche it has been trapped in for decades, we need to find a disruptive technology that attacks the problem from a fresh perspective and addresses 3D printing’s fundamental weaknesses,” said Jim Goetz, Carbon3D board member and Sequoia partner. “When we met Joe and saw what his team had invented, it was immediately clear to us that 3D printing would never be the same.”

Visit Youtube here to see a demonstration of Carbon3D 3D printing.

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