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Carbon3D, a startup founded in 2013 out of Redwood City, California, is developing 3-D printing technology that creates valuable objects that emerge from puddles of resin. This process may remind you of a sci-fi figure arising from a formless blob, however, Carbon3D calls this break-through technology – ”Continuous Liquid Interface Production,” or CLIP.

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Photo: CLIP Production

CEO and Founder Joseph DeSimone claims CLIP will be 10 to 100 times faster than the traditional 3-D printing process. He states, “3-D printing as it’s been done so far is about printing an object layer by layer. That’s slow and the quality of the final part can be inconsistent.” CLIP is a chemical process that carefully balances light and oxygen to eliminate the mechanical steps and the layers.

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Photo: Acrylate Resin

According to Forbes, “The technology is getting investors excited enough to pump $100 million into Carbon3D’s Series C round. And the company’s latest round brings its valuation to $1 billion, according to filings reviewed by research firm PitchBook.” The round was led by Google Ventures and brings on new investors Reinet Investments S.C.A. and billionaire Yuri Milner (Facebook/Twitter fame). All of Carbon3D’s existing investors also participated including Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Kraftwerk and Northgate Capital.

Carbon3D’s total funding now stands at $141 million. Not bad at all.

How Does CLIP Work?

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Photo: Engineering Resin

It’s a little mind blowing, but it’s worth trying to wrap your brain around the process. According to their website, Carbon3D’s machine creates objects by harnessing light and oxygen. A puddle of resin sits in a tray, and underneath the puddle is a clear window that lets in light and oxygen. The two work as opposites, but in careful balance. Light solidifies the resin. Oxygen keeps it from solidifying. While carefully controlling the light and oxygen, an object starts to arise from the puddle.

DeSimone makes a comparison, “Chemists like to think about growing crystals. There’s some analogy in that to what we’re doing – we can grow parts that have any kind of property.” The website also goes on to say that the Carbon3D team draws from the whole polymer family to meet highly specific application requirements. Elastomers, for example, cover a range of needs, from the high elasticity needed for athletic shoes to the strength and temperature resistance needed for quality automotive parts. True 3D manufacturing is the ultimate goal.

And just like the human imagination, the possibilities of this revolutionary Carbon 3D technology are endless. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

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