3D printing allows engineers to custom build intricate structures impossible with traditional manufacturing, but the layer-by-layer approach can be slow and limits the shapes that can be built. A new technique can now fabricate entire 3D shapes in seconds using holographic light fields.
The technique, developed by researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, uses special resins that solidify when they are exposed to light. By shining three laser beams at a vat filled with the resin to create a 3D pattern of light, they were able to fabricate 3D structures in one go in just 10 seconds.
Most 3D printing approaches build structures layer-by-layer by depositing either individual dots of material, filaments, or entire layers at once. This means the 3D structures created are actually stacks of 2D layers, says LLNL engineer Maxim Shusteff, who led the research, which can introduce artifacts at the points where they join that result in …