Nanoscale Racing Car 3D Printed Within Minutes

A Formula One-style racing car just four times the width of a human hair has been created in just four minutes and 8 seconds thanks to a world record-breaking high-precision 3D printing technique. Developed by Jan Torgersen and colleagues from the Vienna University of Technology, the technology is capable of building such supremely detailed, intricate models at an all-impressive speed of 5 m/s.

Working in tandem with traditional 3D printing techniques that has seen everything from Minecraft creations be realised in real-world 3D models, to making specialised body parts to be used in transplant surgery, the team used a technique which involved layering liquid resin and focussing a laser beam at precise spots on the model in order to harden specific parts of the model. A series of continuously-moving mirrors guided the laser around the material. The material itself was custom-designed for the purpose of the ultra-quick 3D printing technique developed by Torgersen, with a team of chemists incorporating light-sensitive molecules into the resin to allow any part of the printed model to harden – typical 3D printing methods only allow the top-most layer of structures to be directly worked on.

Quite why you'd need a nanoscale-sized model of a racing car (imagine trying to find that when you lose it!), the precision heralded by the technique is nothing short of remarkable. Having set the world record for high-precision printing with the build, the team is now looking to take the technique to larger object 3D printing, proposing to set a new bar in the level of detail delivered through 3D printing technology.