Disney invents ultra-fast 3D printing technology

Disney has filed a patent on a new way of printing 3D objects.

While conventional printers melt and deposit filaments of resin on a platform, Disney’s invention starts with a pool a molten resin. The molten resin is a heat-curable fluid that solidifies when subjected to a certain temperature, such as thermosetting plastics.

The pool of molten resin is contained within an enclosure with transparent walls. This allows a user to view the 3D object while it’s being printed.

Before a 3D object is printed, the 3D model of the object is processed to generate a sequence of volumes that are to be solidified. Then, lasers are targeted at each volume in a sequence to solidify the resin. By controlling the orientation of the lasers, a point of intersection of the lasers is made to coincide with the volume where solidification is required. Sufficient heat is generated at the point where the lasers intersect which causes the resin to solidify. The lasers are then made to intersect at the next volume in the sequence to build the 3D object. Interestingly, the specific gravity of the resin in the molten state is almost same as that of the resin in the solidified state. Therefore, when a volume of resin is solidified it neither sinks nor rises within the fluid. It remains in the same position.
Once the printing is completed, the 3D object may simply be removed from the pool of molten resin and refilled for the next printing.

Instead of melting a solid resin at desired points in a layer, Disney’s invention solidifies an already molten resin at desired regions in space.

In conventional 3D printers, resin in the form of filaments is melted and deposited in a sequence of 2 dimensional layers.

One problem with existing 3D printers is that their speed of operation is very slow.

Another problem is that there is a need for printing a support structure for any overhanging components of a 3D object
such as a spout of a kettle. The printing and removal of the support structures makes the printing even more slower.

So with this invention, Disney has solved this problem by taking a completely opposite approach to printing.

Patent Information
Publication number: US20160067922 A1
Patent Title: Three dimensional (3d) printing by volumetric addition through selective curing of a fluid matrix
Application number: US 14/480,740
Publication date: 10 Mar 2016
Filing date 9 Sep 2014
Priority date 9 Sep 2014
Inventors: Jeffrey Voris, Benjamin Foster Christen, Jorge Alted, David W. Crawford
Original Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.