Micro 3D printed needles and the market for μ-resolution 3D printing
Last month, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine demonstrated a 3D printed microneedle array platform capable of delivering vaccines directly into the skin, with the particular goal of improving COVID-19 vaccine delivery in the developing world. The study was conducted using micro-stereolithography PμSL 3D printing technology developed by Boston Micro Fabrication and is the latest effort in a race to the most precise 3D prints to produce objects used in our macroscopic world.
Leaving out for one second the technologies for nano 3D printing, which deserve a dedicated article and are capable of achieving nanometric (1/1,000,000th of a meter) resolution, for a large and growing number of technical applications, here we zoom in on companies using advanced and ultra-precise stereolithography to make parts with a resolution of just a few microns (1/1,000th of a meter).
For the Carnegie Mellon-led project, Professor Ozdoganlar’s team used stereolithography-based (PμSL) micro 3D printers from Bostom Micro Fabrication (BMF). Using polymer and composite additive manufacturing, BMF is able to produce high-precision/high-tolerance industrial parts (2μm printing resolution and +/- 10µm tolerance).