Over the past few years, we have seen some interesting innovations in the 3D printing industry. It now appears a Lithuanian company has managed to develop an ultrasonic 3D printer. This is quite an intriguing development, as the printer would play as soon as an ultrasonic sound is played. Using ultrasonic waves to trap and move small particles for 3D printing purposes is something unheard of, until now.
Ultrasonic Manipulation for 3D Printing Purposes
It is evident researchers around the world are looking for ways to harness existing technologies and use them for innovative purposes. The Ultrasound Research Group in Lithuania has certainly been making some waves in this regard, as their new creation is quite revolutionary. More specifically, the group has come up with a way to manipulate ultrasonic waves to enable 3D printing and assembly. It also appears this new method is not limited to specific materials and components, which is quite significant.
This revolutionary technology can shake up the world of 3D printing as we know it. More specifically, being able to use different types of components and materials will certainly introduce some interesting concepts in the future. By manipulating sound waves, it is possible to handle components in the submillimeter range. More importantly, this method can handle sensitive components without damaging them, which is definitely something the research team will look into further.
As one would expect, the research team put together as a prototype printer to illustrate how this new technology works in a real environment. In the test, the printer was capable of assembling a printed circuit board with relative ease. The video below this article goes into detail as to how this technology works. It is evident there is some great science to this method, and it will be interesting to see what else this technology is capable of.
Ultrasonic manipulation is an area very few scientists have successfully explored so far. Even though it provides many advantages – such as handling different materials and components – it is hard to come up with a viable project. In Ultrasound Research Group’s case, preliminary tests indicate the custom printer can handle materials including metals, plastics, and liquids. This is quite a step compared to how 3D printing works in this day and age.
Ultrasonic 3D printing has been on the agenda for the Ultrasound Research Group since early 2014. So far, those efforts were not exactly successful, until they stumbled across this method to shake up the 3D printing industry altogether. It is even possible to move materials into a specific position, assuming the printer uses ultrasonic transducers positioned in a square formation. In doing so, the team can adjust the sound waves to ensure they are on the same frequency.
Although this is only a proof of concept right now, it is evident this technology can be quite significant in the next few years. Ensuring electronics are properly positioned on a PCB without any human involvement will certainly be beneficial to the consumer electronics industry. It is interesting to think of the possibilities which lie ahead, as manipulating ultrasonic waves can lead to some very intriguing results moving forward. For now, the research group will continue exploring the possibilities of this technology and fine-tune the process.
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