3D printing is a technological advancement one once dreamed of by mankind and one part of sci-fi fantasy like in the Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy. As 3D printing becomes a norm, we realize it was the future but not the future because, awful amount of time had to be spent printing a product. Then, some researchers from University of California Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory came up with a new 3D printing method that literally takes a page from a sci-fi screenplay. How so? By materializing an object in a vat of liquid almost instantaneously.
“Taking inspiration from computed tomography, the Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) 3D printing method uses projected photons to illuminate a syrup-like resin, creating a continuously shifting video of projections as the vial rotates. Like a CT scan done in reverse, the projections combine to form a 3D object that is suspended in the resin. Here, a CAL system projects light into a photosensitive resin to produce a component.”
Within minutes, a part is form inside the liquid seemingly out of nowhere. Once the 3D printing is completed, the liquid is the purged, leaving behind a fully formed object. Frankly, I wasn’t prepared for this technological advancement. As I watched in bewilderment a solid object appear out of nowhere in mere minutes, I thought to myself: this is too surreal to be real, right? But as out of this world as it may sound, this is very, very real.
Granted, the final result was a little rough around the edges, but hey, wasn’t that the case when 3D printing first started? So, I guess you know where this is going already don’t you? If you so desire, you can dive into the technicality of this crazy 3D printing tech posted on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of quick clips that will guaranteed to leave in awe.