Idaho Patent of the Month – March 2023

Additive manufacturing has been a game-changer in the production of complex and intricate parts. However, the traditional layer-by-layer slicing technique has several limitations, including slow printing speed, weak joint between each slice, and homogeneous materials. Continuous Composites Inc, a pioneer in advanced manufacturing, has developed an innovative method called Continuous Composite Three-Dimensional Printing (CC3D) that aims to overcome these limitations and revolutionize additive manufacturing.

CC3D utilizes an alternative means of building parts, utilizing paths instead of slices. Instead of using a single material, it uses composite materials, incorporating at least one primary material and at least one secondary material. The primary material is a curable liquid, while the secondary material is a solid strand, such as carbon fiber, metal wire, or fiber optics. The composite material is extruded in a continuous path and cured using a UV light, resulting in stronger and lighter parts.

One of the significant advantages of CC3D is its ability to print parts with a three-dimensional path, resulting in parts with increased flexibility in structure, design, and functionality. The secondary material also allows for the creation of parts with electronic capabilities, such as fiber optics or conductive materials.

Moreover, CC3D allows for the efficient use of primary material by minimizing its use, resulting in lighter, less costly, and more flexible parts. The surface tension between the secondary and primary materials enables this efficiency.

The versatility of CC3D is not limited to the composite material; it is also flexible in design and function. It can accommodate different types of primary and secondary materials, including combinations of materials. CC3D is compatible with any liquid material that can be extruded and cured, and any material in the form of a strand.

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