Carbon’s 3D Printing Technology Could Change How Everything Is Made – Here is Why

The hypothetical picture we currently have on our future life may sound like a good sci-fi series on Netflix where it would be impossible to differentiate between lifelike robots and humans at some point in time. While the hype around virtual creations and virtual reality is growing, Carbon is committed to placing things from virtual space into physical space in a completely new, never-before-seen state. Our reality doesn’t seem that exciting but the steps and advances being made in 3D printing right now definitely.

Silicon Valley Startup Presents Their Great Achievements

In 3D Printing’s past, some companies have laid crucial foundations for an automated future that we can expect sooner or later. In fact, the dream of giving everything imaginable a physical space in which to exist is pretty much here already.

A Silicon Valley startup called Carbon figured out a 3D printing method that promises a new class of innovative gear in its own uniqueness. From California, they have developed a unique technology patented named Digital Light Synthesis™ which allows them among many other things print unique geometries in a continuous way, obtaining isotropic properties and smooth surfaces on the final parts. Polyurethane materials can be fundamentally rigid or flexible to meet individual application requirements for high-impact components.

Partnering up their in-house team of designers with a medical manufacturing company in Minnesota, laboratory and nursing staff at Stanford and an assistant professor of pathology at Harvard to build a strategy on creating new, printable nasal swabs that reach the general requirements. It didn’t even take them five days to create an FDA-approved design while high production of it started in less than three weeks. How was this possible so quickly when only two companies in the world had previously attempted it during the entire COVID 19 pandemic, but they failed due to demand and requirements? Their one of a kind process is the answer.

Design Marvel …

… that’s what Fast Company, the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, and design, said about Carbon on the occasion of its 2020 Innovation by Design awards. And the story behind Carbon makes it clear why. Joseph DeSimone is a materials scientist, chemist and inventor with more than 200 issued patents that made the technology Carbon’s printers are built on even possible – 8 years ago, back in 2013. It was purely by chance that someone came into his office in 2010 and introduced him to what was then MakerBot. Three years later, he co-founded Carbon, a company that, under his leadership, combines the intricacies of molecular science with hardware and software technologies to advance the 3D printing industry beyond simple prototyping towards 3D manufacturing. 

The technology behind the unique way the carbon 3D printers work is very impressive, especially when you look at, for example, a batch of Lattice Swabs coming out of one of these printers. An inverted stage hovers over a pool of liquid material. The stage rises slowly and pulls the blobs out of the pool as if they had always been there. Joe DeSimone then came up with CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production) in a 2015 TED talk, which should revolutionize 3D printing from there on: Based on the idea that in UV-curable chemistry light can cause the transformation of a liquid into a solid and oxygen can prevent this transformation, Carbon developed a system that uses both at the same time. In CLIP, a projector beams UV images through a window into a pool of material. The material that is hit by the light hardens. But oxygen can also enter through the window, creating a dead zone directly above where the material cannot cure. It’s only a third as thick as a human hair but it’s enough for the liquid material to refill as the hardened object rises above the dead zone, enabling the continuous production of a 3D object.

Carbon itself has an astounding $680 million in publicly announced funding and a $2.4 billion valuation, and it remains to be seen what other amazing inventions in 3D printing will come to mankind by them – or anyone else using the technology they invented.

Creativity Has No Limits

The endless possibilities that Carbon’s 3D printing brings seems to be applicable in any field. Whether it’s parts for a car built by Audi, bicycle saddles for brands such as Specialized, accessoires, soles for Adidas shoes, custom helmet inserts for professional athletes or something completely different. DeSimone himself proudly says that they power around fifty percent of the largest providers of dentures.

The world we have created in the last decades is a completely different one than before. The ball was rolling, the era of the slow, bottom-up, layer-by-layer version of 3D printing of the early 2000s was to reach a new level from here on. 

Manufacturers can use digital technologies to make their production processes by far more efficient. “The digital manufacturing future” is what Phil DeSimone, Joe Desimone’s son, calls it. Manufacturers can use this technology for planning, scheduling, quality management, cost control, material flow and manufacturing operations. 

All in all, it can be said that Carbon has taken the world a big step further when it comes to efficient and millimeter-precise production. One can definitely be excited about what can continue to be achieved through this technology.

What do you expect 3D printing to achieve over the next few decades? Is it unrealistic to believe that our imagination of the future becomes reality one day? Let us know in the comments or discuss it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn! 

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