3D printing can sometimes prove to be a tedious project with many models taking hours upon hours to complete, but now, a new 3D printer is using some new and innovative technology in order for it to be the fastest device ever when it comes to printing speeds for larger objects.
Known as the HARP printer, which stands for ‘high-area rapid printing’, is a 3d printing device which has a print bed with a gobsmacking size of 2.5 square-foot and is 13-feet tall, and it can easily print a model the size of a grown adult in under an hour.
The HARP 3D printer is capable of printing objects so fast that it is able to print half a yard in an hour. This is pretty impressive in all honesty.
HARP has been developed by researchers at Northwestern University (Illinois), and one of them who goes by the name David Walker, stated: “Obviously there are many types of 3D printers out there – you see printers making buildings, bridges and car bodies, and conversely you see printers that can make small parts at very high resolutions. We’re excited because this is the largest and highest throughput printer in its class.”
It’s particularly useful for speedily printing large parts or a whole bunch of different small parts simultaneously. This would be great for the automotive industry.
HARP uses a new version of stereolithography, which is a 3D printing process where liquid resin is cured and hardened into a solid object.
The main problem with standard printing methods is that resin-based 3D printers generate a lot of heat. The faster the device prints – and the bigger the object is – the harder it is that it has to work. which lead to a rise in temperatures becoming increasingly difficult to manage, leading to the printed object being potentially ruined.
The scientists at Northwestern University found a fix to the temperature issues by using a non-stick liquid which has been named ‘Liquid Teflon’. Essentially, the HARP printer sends ultraviolet light through a window to harden the resin on a vertically moving plate, and the non-stick ‘Liquid Teflon’ flows over that window which then removes heat and circulates it through a cooling unit.
To put it simply: a ton of heat is still generated but an efficient way of dealing with it has been found.
James Hedrick, who is another researcher on the project, also had this to say: “The interface is also nonstick, which keeps the resin from adhering to the printer itself. This increases the printer’s speed by a hundredfold because the parts do not have to be repeatedly cleaved from the bottom of the print-vat.”
This Could Be a GameChanger
HARP has the potential to revolutionize and change the game of large-scale manufacturing because existing big 3D printers are obviously able to print large parts, but they must also be machined for the final finishing process. HARP, however, can make ready-to-go large parts without having to do any extensive post-processing, this is because it uses high-resolution light-pattern to achieve a finer finish in the first place.
Chad A. Mirkin, who led HARP’s development, enthused: “When you can print fast and large, it can really change the way we think about manufacturing. With HARP, you can build anything you want without molds and without a warehouse full of parts. You can print anything you can imagine on-demand.”
What do you think about the HARP 3D printer? Let us know in the comment section below!