BREAKTHROUGH: World’s Darkest Material, Vantablack, Successfully Applied to a 3D Print

The world's first 3D print coated with Vantablack, the darkest material known

The world's first 3D print coated with Vantablack, the darkest material known

Surrey Nanosystems, producers of the amazing Vantablack dark material informed Fabbaloo they have successfully coated a 3D printed object with the world’s darkest material. 

But first a catchup: Vantablack is a very unusual material composed of extremely long nanofibres, all aligned in a single direction. 

These fibers tend to trap photons when projected toward a Vantablack surface. Well, the photons are absorbed at a rate of 99.965%, making Vantablack the darkest substance produced by humans. 

Two identical metal sculptures, one coated with Vantablack, the world's darkest material

Two identical metal sculptures, one coated with Vantablack, the world's darkest material

It’s a very eerie experience to see a Vantablack object, as there is literally no reflected light. The object is effectively invisible as you can see here. No, this image is NOT altered. The object on the left is the same as the item on the right, except that it’s coated with Vantablack.

It’s like there’s a hole in 3D space in front of your eyes. 

Some months ago I wrote a piece speculating on the use of the amazing Vantablack as a specialized coating for 3D prints, which had not been done to my knowledge. 

Well, we received a message from Surrey Nanosystems, producers of Vantablack, indicating this has now been done! 

At top you can see an image of a 3D printed polymer/ceramic composite that’s been coated with Vantablack S-VIS material. The ceramic print was produced by Graphite Additive Manufacturing in the UK, and is a simple test object. We’re told the image was taken under “Bright Flash”, but even so you can see there is no light reflected. 

Ben Jensen of Surrey Nanosystems explained that their company has been receiving many requests to coat 3D printed objects, but had not attempted to do so until now. He explains: 

We ran this as a simple internal test to see if it was possible as we have had many requests from designers wanting to coat 3D printed parts. We weren’t sure if it would be effective, but it came out within spec on the first attempt.

So it seems that Surrey Nanosystems may indeed offer a Vantablack coating service for 3D printed objects in the future. 

However, some caveats: 

Surrey Nanosystems more than likely has some significant constraints on the type of materials usable in this process. Plastic parts may not be suitable, for example. 

The price of Vantablack is extremely high, said to be higher than its weight in gold. In other words, you’d better have a really good reason for requesting this material. 

Via Surrey Nanosystems

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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