World's largest laser 3D printer developed

June 17, 2013
Dalian U. of Technology and Unit Science and Technology Development have developed a 3D printer with a reported processing size of 1.8 m (max.).

Beijing, China - The Dalian Economic & Information Commission last week announced that a laser 3D printer with a maximum processing size of 1.8 m (~5.9 feet), jointly developed by Dalian University of Technology and Unit Science and Technology Development Co. Ltd., is in its debugging stage in Dalian, Lianoning, China.

It is repoted to be the largest laser 3D printer in the world that can make a casting mold for large industrial samples with complex structures. Because of its unique "contour scanning" technique, this 3D printer will shorten processing time by 35% and reduce manufacturing costs by 40% compared to other types of laser 3D printers.

The 3D printer is now one of the hottest technologies in the world and has become known as a pioneer of the "Third Industrial Revolution" because it has completely upended traditional industrial processing methods. It is said that although small desktop 3D printers have been commercialized in Western countries, the problems in manufacturing large industrial parts, such as long printing time, expensive material costs, and physical deformation of large-sized parts, have remained unsolved.

Professor Yao Shan and his team from the Dalian University of Technology have finally, after more than a decade, produced a new type of the printer, making a tremendous breakthrough in the field by tackling numerous difficulties and challenges.

Professor Yao Shan said that most 3D printers make parts by gradually accumulating the supplies in "point-line-plane-style" according to the graphic data programmed in advance. However, the new printer only prints an outline of each part layer, making the carbide of resin-coated sand on the contour ineffective, then puts the printed sand into a 180C furnace in the normal way for curing and stripping to get a prototype or mold.

The processing time of this printing method is proportional to the unit of surface area of the part, while the processing time of traditional 3D printing is proportional to the volume of the part. This new type of 3D printing has greatly improved print efficiency, speeding it up to ~5 to 15 times that of the general 3D printers. The material for this printer is common coated sand for industrial use, less than 1,000 yuan (US$163) per ton, which can increase efficiency dramatically and reduce cost exponentially.

This new 3D printing, relying on making the outline ineffective, has won two national invention patents.


(Image via Shutterstock)

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