Carbon has been granted a patent for an apparatus and method for producing three-dimensional objects using additive manufacturing. The technology, known as continuous liquid interface production (CLIP), involves vertically reciprocating a carrier to enhance the refilling of the build region with a polymerizable liquid. The apparatus includes a support, an optically transparent member with a build surface, a radiation source, and a controller for controlling the movement of the carrier and the polymerization process. The patent also covers the maintenance of a dead zone of liquid and a gradient of polymerization zone during the object formation process. GlobalData’s report on Carbon gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Carbon, Spacecraft 3D Printing was a key innovation area identified from patents. Carbon's grant share as of September 2023 was 43%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Apparatus for 3d printing with enhanced liquid refilling

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Carbon Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11772324B2) describes an apparatus for forming three-dimensional objects from a polymerizable liquid. The apparatus includes a support, a carrier on which the object is formed, and an optically transparent member with a build surface. A circumferential wall is positioned above the transparent member, creating a build chamber that can be filled with the liquid. A radiation source, such as a light or ultraviolet light source, is used to irradiate the build region through the transparent member, causing the liquid to solidify into a polymer.

The apparatus also includes a controller that is responsible for advancing the carrier away from the build surface to form the three-dimensional object. The controller can reciprocate the carrier vertically with multiple linked reciprocations to enhance or speed up the refilling of the build region with the liquid. The controller is designed to continuously maintain a dead zone of liquid in contact with the build surface and a gradient of polymerization zone between the dead zone and the solid polymer. This gradient zone consists of partially cured liquid.

In one embodiment, the optically transparent member is a semipermeable member made of a fluoropolymer. The radiation source can be a light source or an ultraviolet light source.

Another embodiment of the apparatus is described, which is similar to the previous one but with a fixed and stationary build surface in the lateral (X and Y) dimensions.

Overall, this patent describes an apparatus that utilizes a transparent member, a radiation source, and a controller to form three-dimensional objects from a polymerizable liquid. The apparatus allows for the continuous maintenance of a dead zone and a gradient of polymerization zone, enabling efficient and precise object formation. The use of a semipermeable member and different types of radiation sources provides flexibility in the manufacturing process.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.