All Dimensional Continuous Fabrication

SUMMARY

Three-dimensional printers currently in the market generally operate in a top-down

additive process in which a printer head, constrained to move in a flat plane (by a

two-dimensional stage), dispenses a plastic material onto a build surface. To enable

three-dimensional formation of the plastic material, the building surface traverses in

a direction perpendicular to the printer plane, enabling the plastic material to be

deposited in a layer-by-layer manner. This process is time-consuming and limited by

the size of the printer heads and building surface.

Lehigh University has developed an alternative approach to top-down threedimensional

printing that overcomes the limitations of current approaches. The

approach utilizes a semi-permeable film and mechanical assembly to enable high

speed and high-resolution three-dimensional printing. The thin-film membrane,

under tension, is used to retain a photo-curable resin in a reservoir. The membrane is

optically transparent, but enables the permeation of oxygen to inhibit the photocuring

process of the resin and enable the part to easily separate from the film. Light

from a source on an optional movable stage, is passed through the thin-film

membrane, enabling the curing of an entire layer according to a pre-determined

shape or design. As the resin is cured, the part is moved up vertically through the

resin, enabling another layer to be formed.

Competitive Advantages

! Utilizes cost-effective, semi-permeable film to enable oxygen penetration

to create a thin anti-polymerization layer between the solidified layer and

the film

 1. Capable of generating high-resolution three-dimensional objects up to 100

times faster than traditional three-dimensional printing methods

 2. Provides a bottom-up three dimensional printing process to create printed

parts over a larger area

3. Does not require additional processing time and mechanical complexity

4.  Enhances printing efficiency through a continuous fabrication process

Opportunity

The three-dimensional printing market is an attractive market that has revolutionized

the prototype development process. Improved printing speeds and new forms of

additive manufacturing methods will contribute to additional growth in the threedimensional

printing market. The worldwide market for three-dimensional printers,

associated materials, and services was estimated at over $3 billion in 2014 and is

expected to increase to over $20 billion by 2019 providing significant opportunities

for novel printing methods.

Lehigh Tech ID # 041015-01

Lehigh University is looking for a partner for further development and

commercialization of this technology through a license.  The inventor is available to collaborate with interested companies.

App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional [PR] United States 62/147,821 4/15/2015    
For Information, Contact:
Thomas Meischeid
Interim Director
Lehigh University
tjm5@lehigh.edu
Inventors:
Yaling Liu
Ran He
Wentao Shi
Keywords: