Smallest 3D Replicas Print Out in Four Minutes

Austrian researchers broke the world record for quickest printout of a three-dimensional object in the fast-evolving field of 3D printing.

Smaller than a grain of salt, 3D replicas of cathedrals, national landmarks and race cars were printed out layer by layer in about four minutes. Looking at the photo of the blown-up replicas (see video above), it’s hard to imagine these intricate details are on a nano-scale and not full-sized.

“Until now, this technique used to be quite slow,” said Professor Jürgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna). “The printing speed used to be measured in millimeters per second – our device can do five meters in one second.”

The researchers at TU Vienna used a process called two-photon-lithography. The technique utilizes plant resin that turns into a solid after being glazed over by a laser. The race car was made by placing 100 layers on top of one another.

The researchers say 3D printing is a product of mechanics and chemistry. A team of chemists at a lab developed the materials needed to activate the special resin.

The research team plans to take these innovations and hopefully use them in hospitals. Researchers want to apply the two-photon-lithography print process to make biological tissues.

Other 3D print-out innovations in recent months have included models of chocolate, a jawbone and miniature dinosaurs.

Would you use biological body parts or organs developed from 3D printing technologies? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of the Vienna University of Technology

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