Microlight3D, a French manufacturer of ultra high resolution micro 3D printing systems, has unveiled its latest product: Altraspin, a compact, turnkey 3D printer developed for the production of complex micro-scale parts with sub-micron resolution. Like most of Microlight3D’s other products, the 3D printer is suitable for a range of industrial and scientific applications.
The new Altraspin 3D printer is reportedly capable of achieving print resolutions up to 100 times smaller than the width of a strand of hair (as low as 0.2µm), making it ideal for manufacturing tiny components that require high levels of precision and surface finish quality. According to Microlight3D, the new 3D printer can be used for printing micro-optics, micro-sensors, parts for microfluidic devices, as well as metamaterials, cell culture, tissue engineering, microrobotics, micromechanics and surface structuration.
The sub-micron resolution is largely owed to the Altraspin’s two-photon polymerization direct laser writing technique as well as Microlight3D’s proprietary continuous print flow process. This method enables the printing of sub-micron resolutions and ultra smooth finishes by going beyond the more standard layer-by-layer printing method used in other AM technologies that limits resolution to 25µm. In fact, the Altraspin’s print finish is so smooth that parts do not even require post processing.
“Microlight3D designed Altraspin to respond to manufacturing demands for more customization and the rapid prototyping of sub-micron parts that are not constrained by their geometric or organic shape,” commented Denis Barbier, CEO of Microlight3D. “We removed another constraint by extending user choice in the materials available for 3D microprinting.
“Altraspin is compatible with a wide range of polymers and biomaterials, including those of our customers. Without a doubt, the sub-micron resolution our technology obtains has been key to our growing success within the scientific community. We anticipate that industrial companies will also benefit from the advantages of our 3D printer for micro-parts, geared to helping them overcome limitations and reduce time-to-market.”
The 3D printer also introduces a new TPP slicing tool, high-writing resolution and precision and high-writing speeds to facilitate the production of complex 3D structures. The printer’s compact size and shape (suited to laminar flow cabinets) were designed so it could be easily integrated into clean-room and sterile environments.
Notably, the 3D printer also integrates a number of features to improve usability. As the company explains, a user simply has to upload a CAD model and choose the desired print material and Microlight3D’s software will calculate the optimal print path for the given object. From there, the printer emits a laser pulse which writes directly inside the resin material, solidifying the resin where it passes with extreme precision. Because the laser moves freely and continuously, is is capable of printing complex structures without the challenges of layer-by-layer printing. Once the print is complete, the excess monomer is simply removed using a solvent, resulting in the final part.
Altraspin will be presented by Microlight3D at the upcoming BIOS event in San Francisco from February 2 to 3, 2019. The new 3D printer follows the company’s first micro 3D printing system, the µFAB-3D.