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High Resolution 3D DLP Printer Idea Notebook

 

Let's start with a quick rundown of available 3D High Resolution Printers:

B9Creator

B9Creator

Robot B9 was, of course, the robot from Lost in Space. I wonder if the name comes from there? The B9's are very slick looking units in any case.

B9Creator was a Kickstarter project that set out to raise $50,000 and had raised $513,000 when it closed June 12, 2012. Lots of interest in Hi Res 3D, and it's no wonder when you see what it can do:

 

3D Eiffel Tower

Some interesting details:

The layer thickness is typically 100 microns but your model can be sliced even thinner if you need even higher resolution.  Note that 100 microns is .1 mm or about 0.004"

How about speed?  Anywhere from 12-20 mm per hour and that's independent of the object's x-y density (unlike FDM which slows down as the x-y fill density increases).

"But how much does that resin cost?" The Eiffel Tower model pictured here weighs about 12 grams.  Our resin costs about 10 cents per gram, making the material costs to print the Eiffel Tower just $1.20!

The resin cost issue is a real one as many of the light-sensitive resins are quite expensive. They were selling 2kg of resin for $183 to US customers. A kit for the machine itself was $2375.

Pulling a 3D print out of the resin bath

The 3D print is pulled almost magically from the resin bath, layer by layer...

 

FormLabs Form 1

Most of these high resolution 3D printers use the light from a DLP projector to activate the photo-sensitive resin. The Form 1 relies on Stereolithography, which is a light-based technology that uses a laser to activate the resin.

With 29 days still to go, they’ve raised $366,000 against a goal of $100,000 over on Kickstarter ( The Formlabs Form 1 ) showing there is a lot of interest in a high quality 3D printer.  Here is a shot of the machine:

Form 1 3D Printer

It’s a very slick looking machine, and as you’d expect from a high resolution 3D printer, it’s capable of some very impressive parts:

High resolution 3D printing

High Resolution 3D Printing

The Kickstarter price of $2699 is very tempting, but from all I have seen, resin cost is the Achille’s Heel of the high-resolution 3D world. The resin for this printer will sell for $129 a liter, but they say Kickstarter buyers will get a guaranteed that low price for life.  They also claim SLA (Stereolithography) resins for “pro” machines typically cost $300 to $800 per liter and their machine can print just as fast and with just as much resolution.  

There’s a lot more information about the printer over on the main Formlabs web site.

 

MiiCraft

Like B9Creator, MiiCraft started out as a crowdsource-funded project. They used Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter. They were not as successful, having only raised about $25,000, which was short of their original goal. However, they're continuing development and have a website. The printer itself looks quite impressive:

And the results are also impressive:

3D print of leaning tower of Pisa

Check out the detail on this 3D print of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Veloso 3D

Junior Veloso's efforts where what first got my attention onto the 3D DLP Printer scene. He has gone on to create 3D printers that look like high-end home Hi Fi equipment:

Veloso 3D

Junior hangs his hat on his blog, but there's not a lot of detail about availability of this machine yet. Presumably there are some teething problems to be sorted through.

 

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