Disney has filed a patent for a new 3D printing technique that uses high-intensity light to harden resin into a shape in a single process, unlike traditional 3D printing that uses a layer-by-layer approach.
Two years ago Disney had the great idea to bring additive manufacturing into "The Greatest Place on Earth". The idea was simple, utilize 3D printing to craft personalized and on demand plush toys for visitors to the Disney locations. There were obvious benefits for increasing interaction via apps that allowed a child to use their parent's phone to design a plush toy and while the family moved around the Magic Kingdom their plush toy would be printed and waiting in a the gift shop.
This technology would be created by a Layered Fabric 3D Printer. This machine was less of a "3D printer" and more of fused layered concept which was unlike additive manufacturing in that it created a lot of waste because the 'printed' item needed to be trimmed after being fused. The last thing Disney needed was to create waste at The Greatest Place on Earth.
3DShoes.com understands the benefits of additive manufacturing and we understand the reason for creating a new 3D printing process by Disney. Right now additive manufacturing has just reached the point where it can produce 'rigid' materials for items used in engineering. 3D printing has to yet to create a softer option for apparel and for Disney, plush toys. This technology patent that Disney created has shown some maturation.
When they first updated the world on their first 3D patent, they created small "toys" that also had the ability to be interactive (Star, cnet) Since the release of this information in 2015, the company extended the development of their patent to" 3D printing technology that uses high-intensity light to harden photo-sensitive resin in a single process, removing the need for layer-by-layer printing." (Computerworld) The initial fused concept for the layered plush toy has been updated to this new light sensitive resin manufacturing.
Disney added an additional patent to protect their manufacturing processes, but since 2016 there haven't been any updates on where Disney is in the process of launching their instantaneous printing solution. This is definitely and interesting discussion and of serious importance to the 3D printing world.