“If you look at the current conventional 3D printing technologies, first you’ll notice that most of them are 20 to 30 years old,” said Robert Swartz, founder of Impossible Objects. “One of the things you might like to improve upon would be the ability to make things faster, to have better mechanical properties so that you can make functional parts, and the ability to use a wider range of materials. If you think about 3D printing for very long, you quickly realize that these issues are largely a materials science problem.”
Swartz’s company, based in Northbrook, Ill., has been developing a new 3D printing technology that is almost ready for beta purchase. The process, dubbed the composite-based additive manufacturing method (CBAM), is meant to address all of the issues and problems that Swartz mentioned in his interview with ENGINEERING.com. Not quite like any other 3D printing technology on the market, CBAM is able to produce multimaterial, carbon fiber–reinforced parts at potentially unprecedented rates.