Rapid, large-volume, thermally controlled 3D printing using a mobile liquid interface

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Science  18 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6463, pp. 360-364
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax1562

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Large-scale, continuous 3D printing

Many three-dimensional (3D) printing methods build up structures layer by layer, which causes a lamination layer between each discrete step. Continuous printing can be done from a fluid bed if a so-called dead layer is used to buffer between the solidified structure and pool of resin. However, printing speeds are limited by the heat buildup from the exothermic polymerization process, thus limiting the ultimate size of the printed object. Walker et al. use a pumped, nonreactive fluorinated oil to act as the dead layer that removes heat during polymerization. This approach allows for both speedup and scale-up of the printing process.

Science, this issue p. 360


We report a stereolithographic three-dimensional printing approach for polymeric components that uses a mobile liquid interface (a fluorinated oil) to reduce the adhesive forces between the interface and the printed object, thereby allowing for a continuous and rapid print process, regardless of polymeric precursor. The bed area is not size-restricted by thermal limitations because the flowing oil enables direct cooling across the entire print area. Continuous vertical print rates exceeding 430 millimeters per hour with a volumetric throughput of 100 liters per hour have been demonstrated, and proof-of-concept structures made from hard plastics, ceramic precursors, and elastomers have been printed.

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