Advance in micro 3D printing enables rapid prototyping of objects smaller than a strand of hair

NZ innovators present on printing structures to meet market demand driven by the miniaturisation mega-trend at Rapid and TCT 2019 conference in US.

May 22, 2019, Wellington, NZ -- Micro 3D printing technology developed by a team of engineers and scientists at Callaghan Innovation is enabling the rapid prototyping of detailed objects smaller than a strand of human hair.

3D map of New Zealand

The technology represents a major advance in the 3D printing of micro structures and is being presented by Callaghan Innovation today at the  Rapid and TCT conference in Detroit, US – one of the biggest events of the 3D printing calendar.

Andrea Bubendorfer - MicroMaker3D co-inventor

MicroMaker3D additive manufacturing is powered by breakthrough Laminated Resin Printing (LRP) and has the potential to fuel innovation in the growing $US7bn miniaturisation market.

Cath Andrews

“We recognised the growing demand for miniaturised structures – the vital components in an increasing number of devices and manufacturing applications – and then we went about finding a way to produce these structures in a less costly way,” says Lead MicroMaker3D engineer Neil Glasson, who will deliver a presentation at Rapid TCT.

MicroMaker3D’s patent-pending LRP technology makes it fast, easy and more accessible for researchers, developers and manufacturers to create a wide range of submillimeter printed structures for applications such as electronics, wearables, sensors, IoT devices and more.  

Mr Glasson says since being  introduced in November last year, Micromaker3D has progressed at pace and the prototype is now printing much more complex micro structures relevant in high value applications such as micromachine components.

“When LRP, a new type of 3D printing, was introduced last year we knew it had the potential to be game changing,” says Mr Glasson.

“Now with specialised engineering this is becoming a reality – we are printing detailed objects smaller than a strand of human hair. For context, a human hair is about 100 microns and with MicroMaker3D we’re talking 5 microns.

“Prototyping progress has been swift, and we continue refining the level of precision on the tiny structures. The team has recently produced moving parts which is exciting.”

Cath Andrews, Senior Business Development Manager, says Callaghan Innovation is working to take the technology global, from development and demonstration phase to commercial reality.

“LRP was developed to address a growing market need to rapidly produce microscale structures in an efficient, convenient and cost-effective way,” says Ms Andrews.

“It could open up miniaturisation as a new high value application in additive manufacturing, an industry that already exceeded $US7B in 2018. So, it’s not surprising that with its development it’s attracting investor and end-user interest.”

Neil Glasson will present MicroMaker3D and elaborate on its progress with a few structures at the Rapid TCT event on Tuesday 21 May at 10:45am, Room 330 B. Neil and Cath will be taking the opportunity to talk with interested parties in Detroit over the next few days.

About Callaghan Innovation

Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency. It activates innovation and helps businesses grow faster for a better New Zealand. The government agency partners with ambitious businesses of all sizes, delivering a range of innovation and R&D services to suit each stage of their growth. Its staff – including more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading scientists and engineers – empower innovators by connecting people, opportunities and networks, and providing tailored technical solutions, skills and capability development programmes, and grants co-funding.


Commercial contact (currently in Detroit)
Cath Andrews
+64 21 550 797
Email Contact

Melanie Tuala
+64 27 609 4502

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