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Micro-precision 3D printing combines ultra-high resolution, accuracy, and precision allowing for more intricate, exact, and replicable parts. Micro-3D printing, an additive manufacturing technology that enables the miniaturization of parts and components, could be applied for military purposes. According to the US Army, the technology can help the DoD in numerous areas.
These include enhancing capabilities to existing systems, volume optimization to reduce the size and weight of equipment troops must carry, and allowing for new technology solutions that were previously unavailable, said James Zunino III, senior scientific technical manager for munitions at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s advanced materials and manufacturing division.
Boston Micro Fabrication is conducting pioneering work with micro-3D printing techniques to meet the growing demand, such as in the field of miniaturizing lenses or sensors.
Traditional manufacturing techniques that have historically been used to make the parts don’t scale well and have other limitations. To address this, the company developed a process it calls projection micro stereolithography. The technique allows for the rapid photopolymerization of a layer of resin with ultraviolet light at micro-scale resolution, allowing the company to achieve ultra-high accuracy precision and resolution that cannot be achieved with other technologies.
The new process can help with creating prototypes for micro-scale parts. The technology is particularly useful for manufacturing aids, jigs, fixtures, molding and casting tools and cavities, component parts, spare parts, and personalized parts, as reported by nationaldefensemagazine.org.