Innovations at Yokohama National University Reduce Time Needed for 3D Printing
From：Taiwan Trade Center Chicago
3-D printing has notoriously been known for its lengthy process, specifically when creating ceramic or glass pieces through a type of 3-D printing called stereolithography. These projects can take days, and yet a new innovation from Yokohama National University in Japan has brought that time down to 5 hours or less.
The process of 3-D printing involves printing CAD files and creating the object by lasering the horizontal layers on with a powder suspended in a liquid. As particles join and slowly form the object, the result hardens, which is called “curing.” 3-D printing, though time consuming, allows products to have extremely intricate structures than is possible in traditional manufacturing. Since the structures can be more precise and complicated, manufacturing has been able to innovate since 3-D printing was introduced. Not only does 3-D printing take time, but it also is expensive. The machine itself is expensive in addition to the processes that a finished object needs to undergo all add up.
Members at Yokohama National University have taken this on as a challenge to reduce the time and expenses. The University focuses on practical education in order to give their students opportunities to network and collaborate with people all over the world. Yokohama is particularly strong in academic research, specifically international scientific research, which is where this project originated.
Thus, the team at Yokohama was set up to succeed, and they proved their success through a demonstration of printing transparent glass, which is known for taking a very long time to make due to the chemicals used. The team discovered that the large particles were the cause of the slow-binding process, and if they could use smaller amounts of those particles then it would pare down the time. Thus, they reduced the time to less than 5 hours. Now, they hope to transfer this strategy to making any type of ceramic or glass structure, hopefully lessening the time for those as well.