Photocentric founder Paul Holt with one of the company's 3D printers.

Manufacturer taking inspiration from the devices in our pockets to develop the future of 3D printing.

3D printing is used across various industries, from small-scale prototyping to larger-scale manufacture – but according to Photocentric, its cost is still too high.

The specialist chemical manufacturer is working to transform 3D printing by taking inspiration from devices we use every day such as mobile phones, tablets and televisions.

How 3D printing works

3D printing is a process through which three-dimensional objects are created under the control of a computer. Currently, the material used in the making of the object is ‘cured’ and hardened using either a laser or digital light projector.

Although this process works, Photocentric’s methods are designed to reduce the cost of 3D printing to enable wider application.

It has done this by designing a range of 3D printers – first introduced in 2016 – that use LCD screens to cure the resin used in 3D printers at a higher resolution, and at a much lower cost.

Photocentric founder Paul Holt said:

Today it seems obvious that the highest resolution, largest format and lowest cost digital light source available is the visual display screen we all use in our pockets or on our walls.

But it can only work in 3D printing because our photopolymers can harden in light within the visible spectrum.

Photocentric research scientist Sarah Karmel
Photocentric research scientist Sarah Karmel.

From researcher to manufacturer

Since 2002, Photocentric’s research into photopolymers has been supported by Innovate UK grants and private industry.

The company’s research initially revolved around its idea to package light-sensitive liquids in sachets to make stamps for office and craft applications. Photocentric then created the small-scale equipment to process these packs to create the stamps. This innovation won a Queen’s award in 2016, and another in 2018 for outstanding growth in overseas sales.

By then, Photocentric was already focusing on 3D printing driven by illumination from LCD screens, predominantly in the visible part of the spectrum, which is necessary when using visual display screens.

Paul believes this will open up the future of industrial 3D printing:

We are now doing research into all formats of 3D printers with LCD screens from the nano – using tiny screens from near-eye virtual reality headsets – through to mobiles, tablets, right up to the largest TV screens.

In fact, we just won a grant to manufacture what will be the largest 3D printer in the world, based on a 98-inch HDTV screen.

Our goal is to change world manufacturing, not just 3D printing, by making 3D printing low cost, large scale and functional.

Next steps: metal

Next for Photocentric is moving towards 3D printing metal, which could have a dramatic impact on the approach to manufacturing materials.

Paul continued:

This time we are using light and a binder to fix the shape of a metal rich formulation using light from LCD screens.

The object will then be slowly heated to remove the binder and sinter (fuse together) the metal. This technology can then be applied to all small-volume manufacturing of metal parts.

Company expansion

By the end of the year, Photocentric will have sales of over £7 million in the UK, where it employs 90 people. Its US subsidiary, which employs a further 35, is on course for sales of a further £3 million.

Paul said:

Our aim is to hit £100 million in 5 years and be the largest manufacturer of photopolymer for 3D printing in the world.

Photocentric received funding through Innovate UK’s open funding programme. Search and apply for opportunities through the open programme.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page