Oct. 14, 2014 | By Alec

Fortunately, the prices of 3D printers have been steadily dropping recently, enabling many to purchase their very own desktop 3D printer without spending a fortune. However, although FDM printers are excellent for tinkering and prototyping, they don't offer all the perks that other 3D printing technologies provide.

Russian engineer and graduate from Tomsk Polytechnic University Mikhail Shevchenko decided to build his very own SLA 3D printer.

For those of you know don't know, SLA or stereolithography 3D printing don't extrude molten plastic like the commonly-used FDM printers. Instead, they print in a special type of resin. Typical SLA printers fill a basin with this liquid resin, and depending on the object you seek to print, these printers use a UV laser to harden the filament into a particular shape. This technology allows for much more precise and thinner layering, which obviously helps you to create far smoother and more detailed objects. While very cool, you quite literally pay the price for this technology as printers can easily cost up to tens of thousands of dollars.

This makes Shevchenko's DIY creation all the more impressive, as it only cost him a few hundred dollars to develop it. Starting the project in December 2013, it only took him some three months to successfully construct his SLA printer using a number of optical drives, colloquially known as CD or DVD drives. He named it the RAR Print 3D printer.

And that's not all: in the spirit of open-source innovation, he has shared his designs on Thingiverse so everyone can profit from his cool invention. As he said on the Russian technology website habrahabr.ru, 'And in my opinion, that is exactly what the basic idea of 3D printing is all about'.

As he went on to explain, he was inspired by an online tutorial for making your very own laser cutter from a CD-ROM drive. While not exactly intended for solidifying resin in any way, he decided to use the same principle for a SLA printing project. To create a useable laser, he simply replaced the typical laser diode of the CD-ROM drive with an ultraviolet LED light, making it capable of curing photopolymer resign like a typical SLA printer.

Combining this laser principle with an X and Y axis set-up, a container to fill with liquid photpolymer and some open-source software and hardware (Repetier Host and Arduino), he was able to recreate all the basic elements of an SLA 3D printer. The finished RAR Print 3D printer is capable of using regular STL printable files and transforming them into actual objects.


Shevchenko's first printed results: not quite up to the standard of industrial printers, but very cool and promising nonetheless.

Obviously, the results aren't quite up to the standards of an industrially made SLA printer, but the concept is exactly the same. Perhaps further refining and tinkering could truly bring SLA technology to the 3D printing masses.

And what's more, you can build your own. Shevchenko's design is absolutely free, but you'll need to spend a few hundred dollars on the various necessary parts. You'll need the following: a 300 x 400 mm sheet of organic glass, one DVD ROM optic system and UV led, numerous wires, some PLA filament for printing the casing, an Arduino Mega 2560 computer board, five or 10 CD/DVD – ROMs, and a glass or plastic container for the Photopolymer resin. The total cost is just around 10000 Russian rubles ($245 / €195).

To build the RAR 3D printer, you will need:

  • 2 kg of PLA plastic
  • 300x400 mm - organic glass (orange)
  • 5 or 10 CD/DVD - ROMs
  • 1 DVD ROM optic system + 1 UV LED
  • Arduino Mega 2560
  • Shield for CD|DVD ROM drives
  • Wires and bus
  • Glass or plastic reservour
  • Customized Marlin

Specifications of the RAR 3D printer:

  • Printer size (LxWxH): 290 mm X 190 mm X 200 mm
  • Build Volume (LxWxH): 80 mm x 80 mm x 80 mm
  • Minimum Layer-height: 10 Microns (0.01 mm)
  • Board: Arduino Mega 2560

With his Thingiverse files, you can print all the necessary parts for the casing, though you will need to assemble the whole device yourself. This does make it a project for people with a bit of engineering experience who also have a healthy helping of common sense, though you could also see it as a wonderfully challenging project. Good luck!


Posted in 3D Printers

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sfaniks wrote at 8/31/2016 11:09:18 AM:

dont understand how it works? need some video

Daniel wrote at 10/26/2014 5:43:33 AM:

@Craig Shame on you, Craig.

Dpcd wrote at 10/16/2014 2:36:43 AM:

Dope idea. Russians are smart

alvaro wrote at 10/15/2014 7:02:15 PM:

From trash to treasure ! An amazing engineer!

Craig wrote at 10/15/2014 7:01:11 PM:

I have to admit that I love the Europeans. They do all the R&D for us Americans. Keep it up guys and gals.

mikhashev wrote at 10/15/2014 4:30:54 PM:

cheap UV diode ( ~400 nm lightwave and 100-500 mV power)

Julio wrote at 10/14/2014 11:46:10 PM:

"UV laser to harden the filament"?? Sorry, no filament here.



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