Volumetric printing replaces layering with a process that creates the entire object simultaneously(Credit: LLNL) How do you create complex 3D-printed objects in seconds, instead of hours or days? A team of scientists and engineers led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has developed a process that uses hologram-like lasers to make complete objects in seconds inside a tank of liquid resin.
Called volumetric 3D printing, the process overcomes many of the limitations of conventional additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D-printing, promises to revolutionize prototyping and manufacturing, but it’s a process that, for all its promise, has its limitations. Conventional 3D-printing works by printing an object in layers. Plastic objects can be built up by squirting molten plastic in a three-dimensional pattern and metal objects by laying down layers of fine metallic dust, which is fused into a pattern using a laser or electron beam.