Computed Axial Lithography

Definition of Computed Axial Lithography

Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) is an advanced 3D printing technology that uses digital light projection and controlled rotations to create 3D objects. Utilizing a distribution of light-sensitive material and finely-tuned light patterns, CAL rapidly solidifies the material into the desired shape. This technique boasts speed and precision, allowing it to create complex structures that may be difficult or time-consuming with traditional 3D printing methods.


The phonetic transcription of “Computed Axial Lithography” is:/kəmˈpjuːtɪd ˈæksiəl ˌlɪθˈɒɡrəfi/

Key Takeaways

  1. Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) is a three-dimensional (3D) printing technique that employs volumetric projection of light patterns to rapidly fabricate complex geometries with high resolution and surface quality.
  2. CAL overcomes limitations of traditional 3D printing technologies, such as slow printing speeds and limited feature sizes, by using synchronized photo-absorbers and photo-curable materials to create intricate, solid shapes in a single exposure step.
  3. This breakthrough technology has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including medical, aerospace, and automotive. It allows for reduced production times, increased customization, and the creation of structures not possible with other 3D printing methods.

Importance of Computed Axial Lithography

Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) is an important technology term because it represents a breakthrough in the field of 3D printing and rapid manufacturing.

CAL significantly enhances the speed, precision, and flexibility of the additive manufacturing process by utilizing photosensitive resins and volumetric projections.

Instead of constructing objects layer by layer, as in traditional 3D printing methods, CAL facilitates the simultaneous solidification of an entire three-dimensional structure exposed to a cylindrical light beam.

This innovative approach not only accelerates the production process but also enables the creation of highly intricate and delicate geometries, which were previously unattainable.

Consequently, Computed Axial Lithography has the potential to revolutionize various industries such as aerospace, automotive, healthcare, and consumer goods by expediting product development and reducing manufacturing costs.


Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) is an emerging technology that has greatly advanced the field of additive manufacturing, commonly referred to as 3D printing. The primary purpose of CAL is to allow for the efficient and precise creation of complex structures and geometries that are often difficult or time-consuming to achieve through traditional 3D printing methods. By utilizing volumetric fabrication techniques, CAL has the ability to simultaneously project light patterns throughout a liquid resin, effectively solidifying the desired shape in one continuous process.

This innovative approach to 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize numerous industries, including healthcare, aerospace, and automotive, as it offers reduced manufacturing times, minimizes waste, and encourages the development of intricate and customized designs. In practical applications, CAL offers a wealth of benefits for designers, engineers, and researchers alike. For instance, in the medical field, CAL can be used to create patient-specific implants or prosthetics with high precision and efficiency, improving the overall effectiveness of treatment and patient outcomes.

In aerospace and automotive industries, the technology allows for the fabrication of lighter and more durable components, which are crucial for improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Additionally, the ability of CAL to generate lattice structures and other complex geometries — previously unattainable through conventional manufacturing methods — opens the door to new possibilities in terms of material properties and functional performance. Overall, Computed Axial Lithography is an exciting and groundbreaking technology that promises to greatly expand the capabilities and applications of 3D printing across various industries and sectors.

Examples of Computed Axial Lithography

Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) is a groundbreaking 3D printing technology that uses light-based volumetric printing instead of the traditional layer-by-layer approach. Here are three real-world examples illustrating its applications and potential:

Medical and Dental Applications: CAL can be used to create detailed 3D-printed medical and dental devices, implants, and prosthetics. For example, researchers can develop patient-specific orthopedic implants or biocompatible surgical tools that are more time-efficient, accurate, and bespoke in nature than their traditional counterparts. The ability of CAL to utilize biocompatible materials and produce complex geometries has great potential for improving patient outcomes.

Consumer Electronics and Small Components: CAL’s speed and precision can be incredibly valuable for the production of small components and intricate parts for consumer electronics. Its volumetric process lends accuracy to parts like circuit boards, microprocessors, and camera lenses. CAL’s high-resolution printing can also produce miniaturized parts and components that might be too difficult or costly to manufacture using traditional techniques.

Art, Sculpture, and Design: Artists and designers also benefit from the versatility of CAL technology. They can create complicated and intricate sculptures that would otherwise be challenging to produce. The speed of CAL allows for rapid prototyping and the creation of multiple iterations, enabling artists to quickly bring their unique visions to life. This 3D printing technique can also be employed for architectural modeling and design, generating detailed model representations of future buildings and monuments.

FAQ – Computed Axial Lithography

What is Computed Axial Lithography?

Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) is an advanced 3D printing technique that uses a combination of computer algorithms and specialized light projection systems to create complex 3D structures. The process involves projecting light patterns onto a photosensitive material, which solidifies in response to the light exposure, ultimately forming the desired 3D object.

How does Computed Axial Lithography (CAL) work?

CAL works by projecting a series of 2D images, or “slices,” onto a rotating cylinder containing a photosensitive resin. As the cylinder rotates, the light patterns solidify the resin layer by layer, creating a 3D object in the process. Advanced algorithms are used to calculate the precise light patterns required to form each layer of the object accurately. This is an innovative approach to 3D printing, allowing for the creation of highly detailed and intricate structures.

What are the advantages of Computed Axial Lithography?

Some advantages of CAL include faster printing times, greater precision, and the ability to create complex designs that would be difficult or impossible with other 3D printing methods. CAL can produce objects with smooth, high-resolution surfaces, and it’s capable of printing structures with overhangs and intricate internal geometries without the need for support materials.

What materials can be used in Computed Axial Lithography?

CAL primarily uses photosensitive resins, which are specially formulated to react to specific wavelengths of light. When exposed to the appropriate light pattern, these resins solidify to create the desired 3D structure. There’s a wide range of materials available, including those that simulate properties of plastic, rubber, ceramic, and even biocompatible materials for medical applications.

What are some applications of Computed Axial Lithography?

CAL has a broad range of potential applications, including in the fields of healthcare, aerospace, automotive, and consumer goods industries. Some examples include creating customized medical implants, prototyping and producing intricate parts for various industries, and manufacturing detailed and complex art pieces or sculptures.

Related Technology Terms

  • Volumetric 3D Printing
  • Tomographic Reconstruction
  • Computer-aided Design (CAD)
  • Photopolymer Resin
  • Holographic Display

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents