'HARP': Rapid 3D Printing of Large Parts for Automotive and Aerospace Manufacturing

Northwestern University researchers have developed a new 3D printer called HARP that can print an object the size of a person in just a couple hours. HARP, or high-area rapid printing, can manufacture products on demand. The prototype HARP technology is 13 feet tall, with a 2.5-square-foot print bed. It can print about half a yard in an hour, which Northwestern says is a record throughput for the 3D printing field. HARP can print single, large parts or many different small parts at once. It uses a new version of stereolithography, a type of 3D printing that converts liquid plastic into solid objects. HARP prints vertically and uses projected ultraviolet light to cure the liquid resins into hardened plastic. The process can print pieces that are hard, elastic, and ceramic. These continually printed parts are mechanically robust and can be used as parts for cars, airplanes, orthotics, and more.