24 August 2022
NUBURU awarded USAF SBIR Phase II contract to develop blue laser-based area printing additive manufacturing system
NUBURU Inc (which was founded in 2015 and specializes in high-power, high-brightness blue lasers for 3D printing and industrial applications) has been awarded an AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract by the US Air Force (USAF) to develop a blue laser-based 3D printing solution with area printing technology.
Established in 2017, AFWERX is the US Air Force’s team of innovators who encourage and facilitate connections across industry, academia and the military to create transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation. Its mission is to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the service by enabling thoughtful, deliberate, ground-up innovation.
The goal of the new one-year project is to demonstrate improved speed and accuracy of a metal 3D printer based on NUBURU’s blue laser technology. This new class of 3D printers will aim to offer micron-level resolution, increased part size and metal density, up to 100x build speed, with minimal to zero post-processing and part shrinkage.
“We are honored to bring the power of blue laser technology and next-generation 3D printing capabilities to the United States military through this contract,” says CEO & co-founder Mark Zediker PhD. “By combining the absorption advantages of blue lasers with area printing technology, we aim to create larger-scale 3D printers that can offer up to 100x the printing speed of an infrared laser-based printer with full metal density. If we are successful, this could allow the military to build replacement parts for older aircraft that have been obsoleted by the original suppliers and can otherwise take months to procure. This would greatly diminish the time required to build and replace critical components and would allow aircraft to return to operational readiness more quickly,” he adds.
“NUBURU has already pioneered metal welding applications within batteries, e-mobility and consumer electronics, and we are excited to continue expanding our capabilities into metal 3D printing, all with the same powerful blue laser technology,” says executive chairman Ron Nicol. “This project will help to bring area printing, with its high-throughput capabilities and cost advantages, to key markets such as aerospace, automotive and more.”