3D printing is now all the rage with the production of 3D homes, 3D devices and virtually almost anything they can get their hands on. However, the problem with 3D printing is that the printed parts may still have some quality problems especially with inconsistent mechanical properties. According to CAD phototooling software experts, a new type of technology has just reached the market, which has the potential of improving the quality of 3D products.
The new technology making waves in the 3D world is called CLIP which stands for “continuous liquid interface production,” it is basically a photochemical process that actually pulls a complete solid product from a melt of plastic material, with mechanical properties, resolution, and surface finishes that are quite similar to injection-molded parts.
According to phototooling design software specialists, CLIP is a variant of the stereolithography process, which calls for using light and oxygen in order to quickly produce objects from a pool of resin. What it does essentially is it grows solid structures out of a liquid bath. According to researchers involved with the technology they have been able to demonstrate continuous generation of monolithic polymeric parts up to ten centimeters in size with feature resolution below 100 micrometers.
The heart of the process calls for the creation of what is called an oxygen-containing “dead zone” between the solid part and the liquid precursor so that solidification does not happen. This dead zone is only about a few tens of a micrometer thick. What happens is that a continuous sequence of UV pictures is fired from a digital light-processing imaging unit in a precise pattern as commanded by the 3D file of the object in question.
What it can do
As a result, engineers can now begin to redesign parts from the ground up without having to be limited by the design rules that are usually associated with traditional manufacturing technologies. Engineers can now make use of lighter parts in terms of weight by utilizing internal mesh structures and single assembly parts that addresses sealing requirements which also reduces the overall complexity of the product assembly. The result is a huge reduction in part and product failure as the new design allows engineers more freedom to be able to do what they want.