Almost anyone who has ever been to a Disney-themed amusement park or grew up on their imaginative animated films can attest to that magical feeling Disney gives to their fanbase. Well, the Disney Research division has been working on some magic things of their own, having just filed a patent application for what could someday end up being the fastest 3D printing process on the market. Coming off a year where the company Carbon3D has released the details of their ultra-fast M1 3D printer, Disney Research is now vying for a patent that seems to use a relatively similar process.

The method includes an enclosed print chamber and a liquid resin, which is photo-cured by an optical assembly that focuses light into the print chamber. According to their patent application, Disney Research’s 3D printing process essentially acts as a “high-speed 3D copying machine”, using the optical assembly to relay a volumetric real image, projecting the 3D object into the vat of resin and causing the 3D model to cure almost instantaneously. The technology seems to be in the early stages of development, but there are a couple of obvious benefits that this 3D printing process would have over others.


The most obvious advantage would be speed. In an industry where 3D printed objects are typically created layer by layer, they can oftentimes take hours upon hours to finish printing. According to the patent application, their technology would overcome this issue by creating the entire 3D object from the photo-cured resin all in one shot. Another benefit would be the absence of additional support structures. With Disney’s proposed process, the 3D object would be supported by the surrounding resin instead of supports, which will help conserve material and increase print speed. According to the patent application, Disney claims the several testing operations have proven to generate 3D objects in several minutes or less, and if all goes according to plan, their process could rival Carbon 3D’s claims of having the fastest 3D printing technology.


So why exactly is Disney so interested in pursing this ultra-fast 3D printing technology? Well, for starters, this isn’t their first dance with additive manufacturing techniques, Disney Research was recently been awarded for patents relating to printing objects with reflective properties and specialized process using high-resolution 3D scanning from low-cost scanners. It seems obvious that Disney hopes to utilize their voyages into 3D printing to create merchandise at a quick and affordable rate, but some assume that they could venture out even further. Media speculation has already risen about Disney possible creating 3D printing booths that essentially function a Disney figurine vending machines, allowing customers to 3D print the toy of their choice at the click of a button.

Source: IBT/ US Patent & Trademark Office
Main photo: [1]

Tyler Koslow
Tyler is a Brooklyn-based freelancer, and has produced content for a wide variety of publications and companies, including, 3D Printing Industry, Dell, Brooklyn Magazine, and Equity Arcade. His content is focused on a wide range of topics including emerging technologies, gaming, music, and culture.

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