Developing high-resolution resins for 3D printers

Polymer maven Jemmel Belkacem has over 10 years R&D experiences in UV curing polymer, 3D printing and material characterizations. Currently, Belkacem is working to develop high-resolution resins for 3D printers using UV curing technology known as stereolotography (laser and DLP systems).

“[Over] the last [few] years I developed a new photo-polymer resins for 3D printing,” Belkacem explained in a recent Indiegogo post. “I succeeded [in] creating the first photo-polymer resins formulation, [with] the [goal] to make 3D-resins for everyone. I want to [market] an affordable resins with high-resolution and good mechanical properties.”

Belkacem says he focused on producing acrylate resins, which he prefers due to its polymerization characteristics (curing-speed), mechanical properties (tough and flexible) and post-processing ease (iso-propanol cleaning and short UV post-curing).

“For this, it is important that the spectral emission profiles of the UV-Visible light curing unit match with the absorption characteristics of the photoinitiator. We will adapt the photoinitiator to the wavelength emitted by UV light source of all 3D-printers on the market using Laser & DLP systems,” he continued.

“Our resins will have an optimal deep penetration with the lowest energy to avoid the stress polymerization and reduce the shrinkage of the parts. From my experience in the 3D printing field, it seems that a good viscosity is less than 700 cPs to avoid losses and problems processing. Therefore, I plan to start with a low viscosity resins around 400 cPs.”

Interested in learning more? Belkacem’s next-gen resin project is on Indiegogo where he is seeking crowd-sourced funds to complete the initiative.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has used Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing recently entered a new and exciting stage in a number of spaces including the medical sphere, architectural arena, science lab and even on the battlefield.

Be sure to join us at the 2013 World Maker Faire in NYC, where Makerbot’s 3D printers will be showcased in Atmel’s official booth along the Arduino pavilion. Additional demos and exhibits in the Atmel booth include Hexbug, Pensa (DIWire), Infinity Aersospace (Ardu Lab), Fuzzbot, Evil Mad Scientist and Colorado Micro Devices.

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