Micro 3D printingThermoplastic Polymers

Microlight 3D re-gifts Statue of Liberty on Inauguration Day

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Amtrak Joe is coming to Washington and Microlight 3D has gifted yet another Statue of Liberty from France to the United States. The original statue remains firmly planted on Liberty Island; Microlight’s newer, smaller model sits atop a one-cent piece. Measuring 1.8 mm high by 0.6 mm wide, Microlight’s replica is smaller than an ant.

Microlight3D’s technique is based on two-photon polymerization, consisting of a green pulsed laser (operating at 532 nanometers wavelength), which combined with ultra-precise moving stages creates 3D objects in a photoresist with sub-micron resolution. A simple solvent bath removes the un-polymerized resin.

Two innovations brought this tiny Libertas to life. Microlight used a proprietary polymer doped with silica nanoparticles called OrmoGreen to give the object physical form. The company also deployed Long-range Z, a feature that allows Microlight’s µFAB3D-Advanced micro-printer to go beyond earlier models’s microprinting height limit of 0.3 mm. The printer can now produce objects up to 10 mm in height while maintaining micro-metric resolution.

Microlight’s feat comes after it printed a 100-micron-wide model of the Millennium Falcon to celebrate Disney’s launching season two of The Mandalorian.

The achievement shows that that Microlight3D’s technology is compatible with very different printing substrates, notably metallic and opaque substrates. The company claims that scientists and researchers are looking to work on metallic or silicon wafers.

Taking a wider view of the moment and Microlight’s creation, this Presidential Inauguration is like no other. A reminder of the difficulties suffered to maintain republican liberty, the actual Statue commemorates the two republics’ close historical association.

The difference today, however, is that the great republics are being distilled to republics of one. The assertion of individual liberty places the collective spirit in jeopardy. Microlight’s model, printed as it is on the one-cent coin, is suggestive of this event; additive manufacturing is yet another. The promise of a 3D printer on every desktop also promises greater individual creations.

But remember also the motto on every American penny: e pluribus unum, out of many, one. A lesson that Lady Liberty would have us remember, and one that Microlight’s latest technical achievement helps demonstrate.

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Adam Strömbergsson

Adam is a legal researcher and writer with a background in law and literature. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has spent the last decade in Ottawa, Canada, where he has worked in legislative affairs, law, and academia. Adam specializes in his pursuits, most recently in additive manufacturing. He is particularly interested in the coming international and national regulation of additive manufacturing. His past projects include a history of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa. He has also specialized in equity law and its relationship to judicial review. Adam’s current interest in additive manufacturing pairs with his knowledge of historical developments in higher education, copyright and intellectual property protections.

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