Unlike the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technology we usually see on Makerbots and repraps, new generation of hobbyist printer uses light-curing resin and a DLP projector to build 3D objects. These printers use Digital Light Projection technology which produces objects with incredibly fine detail.
How does it work? A DLP 3D printer utilize powerful DLP projector to shine onto a thin section of photo-initiated polymer resin. The result is a quick solid cure of the entire layer in one operation and each time a layer is cured a moveable bed is raised up in the Z Axis.
DLP is a much faster printing process that is capable of printing very high resolution models - each 0.1 mm thick needs about 8 seconds to cure.
Here are some DIY DLP 3D printers being developed by enthusiasts for early adopters.
Price: Starting at US$2,375(Kit), US$3,375 fully assembled
- Build Size: 77 x 102 x 203 mm (X-Y 0.1mm)/38 x 51 x 203 mm ((X-Y 0.05mm)
- Resolution: X-Y 0.05~0.1mm Z 0.1mm
- Build Speed: 12-20 mm per hour
- resin cost: US$100 per kg
Price: Starting at US$2,119
MiiCraft High Resolution 3D Printer from Taiwan features an automatic Resin Supply System that detects resin level and pump resin into the reaction tank. The MiiCraft uses a Pico DLP projector for the light source.
- Build Size: 43 mm x 27 mm x 180 mm
- Resolution: X-Y 0.056mm Z 0.1mm
- Build Speed: 2 cm per hour
- resin cost: US$250 per kg
Price: US$495 (DLP projector not included)
Sedgwick is developed by Ron Light of Kansas City. It uses a regular DLP projector but it is not included in the standard kit. This design uses a top down approach which requires more resin but the mechanics of the printer are simpler.
- Resolution: 0.1mm
- Build size: 77 x 102 x 125mm
- Build speed: up to 3 cm per hour
- Resin: US$77-96 per kg
This is an open source high resolution DIY DLP 3D printer kit with RepRap technologies. A projector with native XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) resolution and a normal lamp (NOT LED) is required separately.
US$980 (DLP projector not included)
- Resolution: X-Y 0.1mm Z 0.1mm
- Build area: 102.4mm x 76.8mm (Normal mode) or 102.4mm x 153.6mm (X2 mode)
- speed: Still testing
- Resin: US$139 per kg
3D Home Made from Junior Veloso
One of pioneers in the development of a DIY DLP 3D printer is Junior Veloso (Singapore). He launched a project on the crowd funding platform indiegogo to raise money to mass produce this kit. However we haven't heard from him anymore since May.
- Price: US$3,999 for the full kit
- Building Area: 150 mm x 112 mm x 200 mm
- Resin: US$150 per kg
Are we there yet? Will DLP 3D printers take over the market of FFF machines? DLP has the speed and resolution advantage however this systems has its downsides. Price of DLP 3D printers is much higher than other DIY 3D printer, and the cost of UV resins is much more expensive than plastic filament used in FFF 3D printers. At the moment it is still out of the range of most DIY 3D Printer folks.
Posted in 3D Printers
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Almteq.com wrote at 12/9/2012 1:54:13 PM:
DLP 3D printers are becoming cheaper (also the assembled ones), I hope more and more companies will jump in to develop more resins/materials and make these wonderful techniques available to everyone.
Robert Eastwood wrote at 10/8/2012 4:50:21 AM:
The cost of the Resin removes the functionality of the printer as a 'distributed manufacturing system' One of the requirements for 'home printing' is for output object to be less or equal expensive as ordering and shipping, some part from some large manufacture, hence why working on cheaper filament for 3d extruder printers has been something many are working on. For use as models in something like aluminum casting, those devices would be practical, if multiple items were being made, but the high resin cost removes its practicality of replacing centralized production with 3d home printing. The resin price would have to come down dramatically for that to have a practical application in expanding 3d printing. The quality is nice though, even if not practical, until resin price comes down.