Breakthrough could help you 3D print OLED screens at home

You may not have to feed the device in (or buy replacement parts) if the monitor is broken – you can make a new screen yourself.Researchers at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities developed What they are talking about is the first fully 3D printed flexible OLED display. In theory, you wouldn’t have to rely on panels made in a far-flung mega-factory to build or repair your gadget.

The new method combines two 3D printing methods to print the six layers needed for a functional display. The team used extrusion printing to fabricate electrodes, encapsulation, insulation and interconnects, while spraying the active layer at room temperature. Past attempts by different teams have either had issues with light uniformity (consistency across the panel) or have relied on techniques other than 3D printing to place some components, such as spin coating or thermal evaporation.

The prototype is only 1.5 inches wide and uses only 64 pixels. Any practical use would require a higher resolution (a 1080p display would require more than 2 million pixels), and the scientists also wanted to increase the brightness. It may also take a while to adapt to the technology for home use.The university used a custom 3D printer that cost as much as Tesla Model S — This method can take a while to be feasible on off-the-shelf printers, even high-end models like this one $4,850 3B+ from FormLabs.

However, the very nature of the technology makes these goals relatively achievable and opens the door to numerous possibilities if home-printed OLED displays are feasible. In addition to do-it-yourself repairs, this can also help you build homemade gadgets with custom screens. While the effort doesn’t quite represent the democratization of tech manufacturing (there are far more parts than displays, after all), it could reduce your reliance on a company’s pre-assembled components.

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