Azul 3D, a leading-edge 3D printing startup, has launched its first commercial product: the LAKE printer. The new system leveraging HARP high-speed photopolymerization technology, promises to support unparalleled throughput speeds and a vast array of materials, representing a new paradigm that will allow manufacturers of industrial, consumer, and automotive goods to consider 3D printing in a whole new light.
Powered by Azul 3D’s high-area rapid printing (HARP) technology, a proprietary version of stereolithographic printing that converts liquid plastic into solid objects using ultraviolet light, LAKE prints complex geometries at rapid speeds, using proprietary materials suited for a wide range of products.
With a print area of 10” by 12” by 24”, the printer’s unique interface dissipates heat, enabling continuous high-speed printing over large areas. LAKE is powered by a custom, high-intensity LED light engine that allows users to address 16 million independent pixels without the need for “pixel shifting” used by other projectors.
“The LAKE printer will be game-changing for 3D printing,” said Chad Mirkin, Azul 3D Co-founder and Chair. “For the first time, we are combining throughput and materials at a price point that enables 3D printing to revolutionize manufacturing. We have raised the value of the art, and this is just the beginning.”
Azul 3D and its HARP technology were spun out of the Northwestern University lab of Mirkin, an internationally renowned expert in materials science and nanoscience. The LAKE printer is bolstered by Azul 3D’s chemistry group, which designs proprietary resins that are strong, durable, and customizable.
LAKE has already brought a new level of speed and customization to the industry. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Azul 3D used the LAKE printer to print 5,000 face shields in 60 hours for healthcare workers. That meant every 6 minutes, Azul 3D was able to get 8 face shields off the printer and begin starting the next round of printing.
Azul 3D also partnered with Wilson Sporting Goods to use LAKE to print new pickleball paddles that are completely customizable. This partnership unlocked new features – including removing dead spots, increasing punch, and silencing ball hits – that could help the game grow even more popular.
For manufacturers interested in incorporating 3D printing, Azul 3D offers a full-stack solution, partnering with them on design, materials, printing, and post-processing to ensure the process is optimized for their factory floor.
“In the past year, manufacturers have been throttled by supply chain disruptions,” said Cody Petersen, CEO of Azul 3D. “At the same time, everyone is demanding more highly engineered solutions immediately. The LAKE printer offers a revolutionary solution to both problems and is the first step in industrializing additive manufacturing at scale.”
The LAKE printer is the first in a series of printers that Azul 3D will unveil in the coming years. The next-generation printer, called the SEA, will offer four times the print area, allowing manufacturers to print even bigger parts or products.
Azul 3D is actively taking orders for LAKE, with delivery expected in 2022. SEA will be ready for pre-sales in the fourth quarter of 2022.