Carbon 3D, the 3D Printer that uses UV light

Carbon 3D, the 3D Printer that uses UV light

29th Nov 2017

Launched last year to critical acclaim, CLIP is a new 3D printing technology that grows production quality parts by carefully balancing oxygen and light in a chemical process.

Unlike traditional 3D printers that create parts by printing them layer by layer, CLIP works by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable window into a reservoir of UV curable resin. The special window is permeable to oxygen and transparent to light, much like a contact lens. UV light triggers photopolymerization and oxygen inhibits it. By controlling the oxygen flux through the window using sophisticated software, CLIP creates a ‘dead zone’, which is essentially a thin layer of uncured resin between the window and the object. It’s a process that makes it possible to grow without stopping. As a continuous sequence of UV images are projected, the object grows without stopping while at the same time being drawn from the resin bath on a platform.

Smooth on the outside and solid on the inside, the resulting parts are mechanically strong with a quality comparable to those produced through injection-molding. In addition they can be printed 25 to 100 times faster than parts made using a traditional 3D printer and a wider choice of materials.

The team behind CLIP claim that this new process will change the future of 3D printing, which they say ‘has struggled to deliver on its promise to transform manufacturing’.

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