Jul 27, 2016 | By Andre

The DIY market is jam packed when it comes plastic filament based 3D printers for purchase. 3D printing with lasers (SLA) or projector based (DLP) technology has also become more marketable and there's no shortage of crowdfunding efforts within that realm. But fully open-source 3D printer options for the latter technologies are far and few between so a recent project started by 3D printer enthusiast Sébastien Mischler should help fill that void.

Sébastien has been in the open-source 3D printer game for some time with many contributions to the RepRap development community in recent years. He’s also active (as we recently reported) on the software side through his cloud-based SLA 3D printing tools. His most recent project is taking himself out of the virtual world and back into the physical with an LCD and UV LED based SLA 3D Printer he's called the uTopiaPrinter.

While the timeline for the project isn't crysal clear, it almost seems as though Sébastien built his cloud based slicing software before realizing he in fact needed a SLA 3D printer to make use of it; so he went ahead and built one. After figuring the SLA based solution best for him (in this case a LCD/UV LED combo due to a lower price point and the ability to reuse old equipment) he went ahead and let the maker spirit run wild and started putting together his 3D printer.

As with many DIY kits, the end-result does look a little rough around the edges but the arduino based board, Grbl firmware, his own slicer (naturally), a github based controller and free-to-download work files ensure everything remains open for all. I should make a quick mention that the necessary schematics are released as an SKP (Sketchup) file so it’s best to make sure your units are correctly defined when exporting anything for either laser cutting, CNC or 3D printing or the scale might be off due to sketchup conversion issues.

I should emphasize that while this project is open and seems to be promoting a functional SLA 3D printer, documentation remains scarce. The component list has a LCD Panel, 50 W UV LED, Teflon Film, Nema 17 Stepper motor, Arduino Nano, Pololu steppers and uTopia Board listed but nothing beyond that. The electronics instructions portion even admits that he is “limited with electronics.” and that he “needs help to do a better controller board and schematics.”

In the end, this is still a work in project but the use of of LCD and LED based panels to lower cost without having to repurpose expensive technology (such as a projector with DLP printing) is great news for the DIY explorer with a budget. Also, the discussion section is getting a little bit busy so it might be worth checking back every so often to see how Sébastien progresses in combining his love for SLA slicing on the virtual side and SLA 3D printing on the physical end.



Posted in 3D Printer



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