Digital Light Synthesis

Carbon Digital Light Synthesis (Carbon DLS) process is a breakthrough technology that uses digital light projection, oxygen permeable optics, and programmable liquid resins to produce parts with exceptional mechanical properties, resolution, and surface finish. The Carbon DLS process allows engineers and designers to iterate faster, deliver projects with less risk, and radically reimagine their products by introducing consolidated parts, impossible geometries, and programmable lattices.

The Process

The Digital Light Synthesis process is driven by Carbon’s groundbreaking Continuous Liquid Interface Production, or CLIP, and programmable liquid resins. CLIP uses digital light projection in combination with oxygen permeable optics, and was described in a groundbreaking article in the journal Science.

Traditional resin-based 3D printing processes produce weak, brittle parts. Carbon overcomes this by embedding a second heat-activated programmable chemistry in our materials. This produces high-resolution parts with engineering-grade mechanical properties.

Light Shapes the Part

CLIP is a photochemical process that cures liquid plastic resin into solid parts using ultraviolet light. It works by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable window into a reservoir of UV-curable resin. As a sequence of UV images are projected, the part solidifies and the build platform rises.

  1. Build platform
  2. Resin
  3. Oxygen permeable window
  4. Dead zone
  5. Light engine

The Dead Zone

The heart of the CLIP process is the “dead zone” — a thin, liquid interface of uncured resin between the window and the printing part. Light passes through the dead zone, curing the resin above it to form a solid part without curing the part onto the window. Resin flows beneath the curing part as the print progresses, maintaining the “continuous liquid interface” that powers CLIP and avoiding the slow and forceful peeling process that is inherent to many other resin-based printers.

Heat Sets the Mechanical Properties

Once a part is printed on a Carbon printer, it’s baked in an oven. Heat sets off a secondary chemical reaction that causes the materials to adapt and strengthen, taking on exceptionally strong characteristics.

Isotropic Parts with Exceptional Surface Finish

Conventional 3D printed materials often exhibit variable strength and mechanical properties depending on the direction in which they were printed. Digital Light Synthesis parts behave consistently in all directions. The resolution and gentleness of our process — where parts aren’t harshly repositioned with every slice — make it possible to exploit a range of materials that have surface finish and detail needed for end–use parts.

Traditional 3D Printing

3D printed parts are notoriously inconsistent. Their mechanical properties vary depending on the direction the parts were printed due to the layer-by-layer approach.

Digital Light Synthesis

Carbon DLS produces consistent and predictable isotropic mechanical properties, creating parts that are solid on the inside like injection molded parts.

Product Design, Perfected

Digital manufacturing sends modern design soaring, giving designers and engineers the freedom to bring their most inspired ideas to life without the constraints of molding or machining.

Learn about how the Carbon DLS process unlocks a new world of design.

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Hardware

The L and M Series printers and Smart Part Washer offer versatility and enable scalable manufacturing.

Materials

Find the right material for your project, from consumer product elastomers to high-temperature automotive materials.

Software

Optimize your part and production process with Carbon software.