Under the name "TwoCure", the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has succeeded in developing a new 3D printing process using resin, which makes both the planning of additional support structures and their manual removal after printing superfluous. Similar to stereolithography, photolithographic exposure is used to cure layered resins. The new process involves a combination of liquid and solid material.
An exposure unit projects the layer geometry into the warm, liquid-applied resin, which then hardens at the appropriate points. In addition, a cooling system ensures that the remaining resin hardens in the cold and so functions as a support structure – but then liquefies again at room temperature and drains off. The post-processing is limited to the washing and post-curing of the finished workpieces, which can also be automated if necessary. The process is intended to be especially suitable for the production of single parts and small batches. Other research institutes are also working to avoid supporting structures: The Cologne University of Applied Sciences is concentrating on an approach that has the system shift the objects to be manufactured freely around the printhead.