3D Systems New Figure 4 3D Printing Tech How Does It Compare to HPs and Carbons Techs?

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3D Systems New Figure 4 3D Printing Tech: How Does It Compare to HPs and Carbons Techs?

Up to 50 times faster than conventional SLS 3D printing tech and capable of being automated, Figure 4 will be a key component of 3D Systems push into manufacturing.

3D Systems(NYSE:DDD)kicked off the International Manufacturing Trade Show (IMTS) in Chicago this week with a presentation outlining how it is positioning itself to capitalize as 3D printing shifts from being a primarily prototyping technology to one thats used in a wider range of manufacturing applications.

A key component of 3D Systems strategy is its new technology, Figure 4, which the company claims is up to 50 times faster than conventional stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing systems. Figure 4 is a robotic, modular, SLA 3D printing system designed for the production of plastic parts.

A 3D-printed object rising from a vat of photopolymer (a liquid polymer that solidifies upon exposure to  light). Image source: 3D Systems.

Figure 4, unveiled earlier this year and recently updated, gets its name from the Fig. 4 illustration in 3D Systems founder Chuck Hulls original patent filing for SLA in 1984.

SLA is a photopolymerization 3D printing technology, meaning it uses light to harden polymers (a materials class that includes plastics). RivalStratasys(NASDAQ:SSYS)also has a well-established photopolymerization technology — its proprietary PolyJet — but doesnt offer a super-fast process, like Figure 4.

Figure 4 sports four key features that 3D Systems believes will enable it to succeed as a manufacturing technology thats a viable and intelligent alternative to injection molding:

Ability to be incorporated into an automated production process

In-line parts inspection capabilities

Vastly increased materials capabilities

Speed, materials capabilities, automation, in-line inspection, and surface quality are widely considered to be the main hurdles holding 3D printing back from making greater inroads into manufacturing applications beyond very short-run ones.

3D Systems has housed this technology in discrete modules, enabling it to be placed into automated assembly lines, and integrated with secondary processes, including material recovery, washing, curing, and various finishing procedures.

Robotic arms lifting 3D-printed objects (circled in red) from vats. Image source: 3D Systems.

The latest Figure 4 development involves the incorporation of automatic, in-line 3D inspection of parts for closed-loop manufacturing.

3D Systems claims that it has made materials breakthroughs with Figure 4 tech, primarily stemming from the fact that a greatly accelerated photopolymerization process means that liquid polymers are not sitting in vats for nearly as long as they do in the standard SLA process. This opens up the possibilities of using material chemistries that dont have to be nearly as stable.

Start-up Carbons Continuous Liquid Interface Production 3D printing technology also uses a super-speedy photopolymerization process — in fact, 3D Systems Figure 4 sounds extremely similar to CLIP.

In May,HP lnc.(NYSE:HPQ)launched the Jet Fusion 3D 3200, powered by its proprietary Multi Jet Fusion technology, and in April, Carbon launched the M1, powered by its proprietary CLIP.

HP claims its 3D printer is up to 10 times faster than printers powered by fused deposition modeling (FDM) and selective laser sintering (SLS). Carbon couldnt provide relative speed claims regarding its M1 because it uses proprietary resins. However, we know CLIP was about 25 to 100 times faster than PolyJet, SLS, and SLA to produce the same object when tested last year. Here are the results of third-party tests commissioned by Carbon, which involved producing the same 51-millimeter-diameter complex part made of an elastomeric material:

CLIPs exact relative speed advantages in the above comparison are:

3D Systems claims that Figure 4 is up to 50 times faster than conventional SLA. The up to makes true comparisons impossible. Well be liberal and use the maximum rate. This would mean that Figure 4 would be able to produce that same comparison object in 13.8 minutes (SLAs time/50).This makes Figure 4 very speedy, but only about half as fast as CLIP.

Now lets bring HP into the mix. HP uses FDM and SLS as its speed benchmarks. We can assume that the higher end of HPs up to 10 times faster claim refers to SLS, the slower of the two benchmark techs. Again, well be generous and use the maximum rate This would mean that HPs tech would be able to produce that same object in 21 minutes (SLSs time/10).This makes HPs tech slower than Figure 4 and slower yet than CLIP.

The caveats are considerable. We only compared the speeds at which the various new techs can likely produce one specific object. Relative speeds will vary depending upon factors such as part complexity and material. Moreover, factors other than speed matter considerably for companies when choosing a 3D printer.

3D Systems Figure 4 appears to be an impressive, speedy new technology that could enable the company to capitalize as 3D printing makes inroads into a wider range of manufacturing applications. While Figure 4 doesnt appear to have a speed advantage over Carbons CLIP, it does sport other features — ability to be incorporated into an automated production process and in-line parts inspection capabilities — that appear to be unique among the super-fast 3D printing techs at this point.

The proof will be in the pudding: Investors should watch to see if any notable companies partner with 3D Systems on its Figure 4 initiative.

On its end, Carbon justannouncedthat it raised $81 million in an extended series C funding round, which included new strategic investors and partners GE Ventures –General Electricsventure capital arm — andBMW.This brings Carbons total raise to $222 million.

Beth McKennahas no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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iBox Nano, The Worlds Cheapest, Smallest SLA 3D Printer Launches on Kickstarter for $189

byEddie KrassensteinOct 16, 20143D Printers3D Printing

Several months ago we had an all out price war between several companies which launched on Kickstarter trying to become the worlds cheapest 3D printer on the market. While many of these companies, likeNew Matterare working diligently to meet their budgets and follow through with promises made to their backers, many also failed before they ever got started. Since that time, the race to the bottom (in terms of price) slowed down, and quality, as well as innovative features became the selling points of new printers entering the market.

All of the machines we are talking about used the cheaper, less accurate fused filament fabrication technology. Thats because the superior technology of stereolithography (SLA), which uses UV light to cure a photosensitive resin, can be an entire order of magnitude more expensive. Thats until today

This afternoon a company based out of Melbourne, Florida, callediBox Printersmay have just ignited an all out war within the desktop 3D printing space. Theyve just launched aKickstarter crowdfunding campaignfor theiriBox Nano 3D printer. Touted as the worlds smallest and most affordable resin-based 3D printer to ever hit the market, the printer is being made available to early bird backers for just $189.00, in their drive to raise $300,000 for full scale production.

The machine which has a laundry list of minimalistic features including size, weight, energy consumption, and most importantly price, measures just 4 x 3 x 8, and is only 3 pounds.

As the worlds first LCD based UV resin printer, the iBox Nano is able to fabricate objects quietly, with the option to plug it in, or use its 10 hour capacity battery for portable 3D printing. Any device with a web browser will be able to send data to the Nano and have it fabricated. This means that if you are in the other room with your iPhone, iPad, Android device or laptop you can initiate a print, without any requirement to download complicated software. Below you will findsome of the key specifications of this new machine:

This printer is not for someone looking to 3D print large objects, as you can tell from the build envelope listed above. The main goal of iBox Printers in the development of this machine was to create aportable, affordable, quiet, and small machine, capable of being used anywhere in the home, or even on the go. The iBox Nano will retail for $299 once launched. The first 100 backers of theirKickstarter campaignwill lock in a price of just $189, while the next 500 and 1,000 backers can pre-order this machine for $229 and $269 respectively. The company expects to ship their first units as early as January f next year, with the first mass production run beginning in March.

Let us know if you intend to, or already have backed this project. Discuss in theiBox Nano forumthread on .  Check out the Kickstarter pitch video provide below.

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How to Choose Between FDM and SLA Desktop 3D Printers

In 3D printing, there are many kinds of printers. Two of the most common are FDM and SLA printers. FDM, or Fused Deposition Molding, printers are the most popular. They use a variety of filaments, most often thermoplastics, that are melted and then deposited layer by layer to create the final print. SLA, or Stereolithography, printers use a liquid resin that is a curable photopolymer. Essentially, the print base is dipped into the resin, and a laser or UV light draws the print layer by layer by curing the resin, which hardens into a solid plastic.

Looking specifically at FDM printers, there are a few reasons why they are the more popular option.

The greatest advantage of FDM printers is pricing. FDM printers are relatively cheap compared to most other 3D printers. They can range in price from $200 to $4,000 for non-industrial printers. In addition to the lower cost of the printer, the running costs of an FDM printer are low. The filament is the only part that needs to be replaced often and is relatively cheap. For example, a spool of standard PLA from 3D-Fuel costs around $30 for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of filament.

In addition to cost, FDM boasts a wide filament selection. While the most common filament used in FDM printing is PLA (Polylactic Acid) plastic, there are several other kinds, as well as a wide selection of colors.

For example, 3D-Fuel has a variety of different filaments including Wound Up (a coffee filament made from waste by-products of coffee), Buzzed (beer), Entwined (hemp), and Landfillament, a material made from incinerated landfill contents. There are also other types of exotic filaments like carbon fiber, wood-fill, metal-fill, cork-fill, magnetic filament, and filaments that can conduct electricity.

Although there are clear advantages with FDM, there are disadvantages as well. For one, FDM printing produces prints with a finish that is not as smooth or precise as other types of printing, especially SLA. And, while objects printed with FDM are structurally sound in the X and Y dimensions, they tend to be weak in the Z dimension due to the layering of the printed material. This can cause the print to delaminate or break when under pressure.

In addition to FDM, SLA is another 3D printing option that has its own advantages and disadvantages.

One of the best advantages of an SLA printer is the overall quality of the print. SLA printers are more accurate and print with a smoother finish. In fact, theForm 2SLA printer can print with a layer height from 25 to 100 microns while common FDM printers can only print with a layer height of 100 to 300 microns. The better resolution that SLA printers provide give their prints a finer surface finish.

In addition, SLA prints do not have the same weakness in the Z dimension that FDM prints have, but SLA prints still do not have the same overall strength of an FDM print.

However, this quality comes at a cost. While there are SLA printers available for as low as $500, these lower priced printers are not as reliable and user friendly as higher quality desktop printers. A decent desktop SLA printer can cost as much as $4,000 while high-end industrial SLA printers easily price above $100,000.

SLA printers also have high running costs. The resin that is used must be bought from the printer companies as there are no third-party producers for higher end printers. This resin can cost anywhere from $150 to $250 per liter. The tank that holds the resin in the printer will also have to be replaced every three to four liters and can cost upwards of $60.

SLA printers tend to print slower than FDM printers. For example, a FDM printer will print a part in half the time it takes a SLA printer to print the same part. Prints completed on an SLA printer also must go through additional processing after completion, including immersion in isopropyl alcohol to remove any leftover resin. In addition, SLA printers are limited in the sizes of their prints. Considering the higher costs of the printers, the desktop versions tend to be smaller, with less variety in build area sizes compared to FDM.

There are several other factors to consider for both printers. For example, if SLA prints are exposed to sunlight for extended periods, the print will weaken.

Some factors for FDM printers include nozzle blockages, missing layers, and warping. One particular factor is the size of the extruder nozzle, which influences the resolution and quality of the print.

These, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type of printer should be considered before purchasing a 3D printer or deciding which technology to use in making your 3D part.

Quality comparison of an FDM print (left) and an SLA print (right).

Both FDM and SLA printers are excellent options. The question isnt which printer is better, but what you need to accomplish with your printer. FDM printers are much better for rapid prototyping, experimenting, and creating low-cost models, especially when precision and finish quality are not important to your project.

On the other hand, SLA printers are better for projects where surface finish and precision are important, such as when creating molds, especially when printer price and the strength of the print are not as important.

Logan Jorgenson is currently a senior at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where he is studying English Writing. He has been previously published in The Odyssey Online, The Blue Route Literary Magazine, and 30 North. In his free time, Logan enjoys reading and writing science-fiction and fantasy.

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SLA 3D Printing Difference in Laser and DLP Light Generation

What is SLA 3D printing? SLA stands for stereolithography. In this method of additive manufacturing, a 3D printed object is built layer-by-layer using a liquid resin (photopolymer) that is cured using UV light. What differentiates the Titan 1 from other SLA printers, is that the Titan 1 uses Digital Light Processing (DLP) to shine UV light via a projector. Many SLA 3D printers use laser stereolithography to cure resin.

Heres a quick guide to everything you need to know about DLP and laser 3D printing.

A high resolution projector, pattern powered by DLP technology, sits beneath the resin container and projects image slices to cure each layer. The projected image is just black and white as seen below. Since the resin is UV sensitive, the white areas of the projected image will direct UV and near-UV light to the areas which need curing.

This method is quite simple when compared to the stunning resolution and detail that it produces. The projector remains completely stationary during printing (and it is important that it doesnt move or else the layers wont align properly), which means there are few moving parts and little machine maintenance required. The only moving part is the stepper motor that lifts the build platform as the model grows after each layer is cured.

A sliced layer that will be projected onto the resin container. From Pranav Panchas model of the Eiffel Tower (

Laser 3D printing uses a laser to trace out the cross-sections of the model. Similar to fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing, where each layer is deposited in a continuous stream of filament, the laser essentially draws the layer to be cured. The laser is focused using a set of lenses and then reflected off of a motorized scanning mirror (galvanometer). The scanning mirror directs the precise laser beam at the reservoir of UV sensitive resin to cure the layer. Alternatively, some laser 3D printers move the laser directly using an XY stepper motor arrangement similar to those used in filament based printer.

Now that we know how each method works, lets do a comparison.

DLP printing is very fast because it projects the profile of an entire layer at one time, turning 2-dimensional images into a 3D object. In comparison, lasers have to trace out the entire sliced profile line by line which takes time. Small inaccuracies are also likely to occur and can affect the structural strength and surface smoothness of the print.

The projector makes DLP 3D printing versatile. Depending on the resolution and size of the 3D print desired, the projector can be easily moved up or down to adjust for your customized settings. DLP printers can produce much higher detail when set to high resolutions than laser printers. However, resolution is dependent on the focal length of the projector. This means that higher resolutions are limited to smaller build volumes.

Laser 3D printing generally has a fixed laser spot size of about 300 um, while the DLP projector in the Titan 1 can be customized to print from 37 to 100 um. On the other hand, since lasers sweep a continuous path, theyre less likely to show surface pixelation artifacts the way a DLP print will. The pixelation is usually more noticeable for large prints.

Laser 3D printers require a number of moving parts in their design. XY motion is achieved via the use of two stepper motors to move the laser itself, or a galvanometer

which rotates a mirror assembly to reflect a stationary lasers light to the desired location. DLP based printers do not require any mechanical XY motion for photopolymer curing since projector illuminates the entire XY plane at once.

The Titan 1, with its passive self-peeling technology, further reduces motor use down to a single Z-axis linear stage, eliminating the need for sliding or rotating tray mechanisms. This minimizes assembly complexity, maintenance, and wear on the machine.

Perspective on 3D printing of separation membranes and comparison to related unconventional fabrication techniques

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Perspective on 3D printing of separation membranes and comparison to related unconventional fabrication techniques

Additive manufacturing, likewise known as 3-dimensional (3D) printing and rapid prototyping, has the ability to create almost any geometrically complex shape or feature in a range of materials across different scales. It has found its applications in various areas, such as medicine (bioprinting), art, manufacturing and engineering. On the other hand, its use in separation membrane engineering is relatively new. The use of additive manufacturing techniques could provide more control towards the design of separation membrane systems and offers novel membrane preparation techniques that are able to produce membranes of different shapes, types and designs which cannot be made using conventional techniques such as phase inversion or sintering. Here we provide key background information on 3D printing technologies and applications in membrane engineering; a discussion of the potential and limitations of current 3D printing technologies for membrane engineering and future aspects of the technology. Due to the potential benefits of 3D printing in membrane manufacturing, in particular the unprecedented control over membrane architecture the technique could allow, the use of 3D printing in membrane systems should see significant growth in the near future.

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Computexis the largest ICT trade show in Asia and the second largest in the world. It attracts visitors from all over the globe, and exhibits the latest and greatest from tech companies around the world.XYZPrintingtook this exceptional opportunity to roll out its new line of3D printers/scanners. With the average cost of a 3D printer still too expensive for most consumers, XYZPrinting definitely garners a lot of attention from those looking for anaffordable 3d printing solution.

The company didnt stop there. Early Tuesday morning, representatives revealed an additional3D printer, which differs from their usual FFF based models. Theda Vinci Nobelis the companys first 3D printer that relies onstereolithography (SLA)technology. Many3D printing devicesareFused Filament Fabrication (FFF)based models that rely on a heated hot end extruder to melt a plastic filament and create objects with a fixed cross-sectional profile. The da Vinci Nobel differs in that it uses a laser to shape photosensitive resin, which makes for a better final resolution of the printed object.

This is a big deal for 3D printing. FFF became commercialized in 1990 and is the leading cause to the drastic price drop in3D printing technology. Objects created by FFF are produced by extruding small thermoplastic filament that harden immediately and form layers. Thesoftwareof the printer directs the nozzle that controls the heated filament and forms the desired object. SLA technology produces the same results with a better resolution, due to its particular process. Instead of using heat to form the filament, the machine utilizes light in this case a laser to harden liquid resin and shape an object. The liquid resin is exposed to lighting under conditions similar to that of a darkroom. The exposed resin hardens and the process is repeated until the model has been built. Each layer is cured with laser UV light.

XYZPrintings da Vinci Nobel release comes just in time. Several companies are now capitalizing on this technology and releasing SLA printers, including theTitan 1 by Kudo3Dand theSpark by AutodeskXYZPrintinghas stated that the Nobel 1.0 will cost under $2,500 USD. This makes it a very affordable option in comparison to other SLA printers on the market and those slated for release. You can expect to see the da Vinci Nobel available for purchase later this year. In the meantime, see whataffordable 3d printersare available now at .

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SLA 3D Printer Buying Guide

Buying an SLA 3D Printer is easy when you know what to look for. Lets take a look at what an SLA 3D Printer is, what to look for when buying and SLA 3D Printer, and see some of the best SLA 3D Printers on the market today. This in depth buying guide will give you all you need to choose the right SLA 3D Printer for you and your builds.

An SLA 3D printer uses light to harden resin and create physical objects. SLA 3D printing is relatively fast and the printing speeds of these printers is getting faster. SLA 3D Printers are perfect forrapid prototypingand making detailed prints. Speed is not the only factor to consider when choosing your Printer. Lets take a look at some of the factors to consider when buying your new 3D Printer.

Many people reading this will already have a good idea if the specs and features they are looking for. For those starting out, knowing what to look for in a SLA 3D Printer can be a bit overwhelming. Here is a short guide for choosing the best SLA 3D Printer.

This type of 3D Printer prints using light and resin. So all of your prints will consume, at least, some amount of resin. How this resin is refiled is key because the process can be bothersome if you need to refil in the middle of a print. some printers offer automatic refiling systems which avoids this issue.

As with other types of 3D Printers, resolution matters. Print resolution is especially important with SLA because resolution is one of the advantages that SLA has overFDM 3D Printingor other types of 3D printing. When you think SLA 3D printing think resolution.

Another important question to ask when buying an SLA 3D Printer is does it require proprietary resin. Proprietary resin does have its advantages. One being that you will be sure that the resin works with your printer. On the other hand, you will be required to purchase all of your resin from the printer manufacture.

This will not be in issue for most, but some my prefer non-proprietary resin options.

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CTCs Low-Cost SLA 3D Printer Soon Available Around the World

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CTCs Low-Cost SLA 3D Printer Soon Available Around the World

Once Chinese electronics manufacturerZhuhai CTC Electronic Co., Ltddecided to get into the 3D printing space, they decided to take that space by storm, releasing a popular desktop FFF 3D printer, then an SLA printer, anda larger FFF 3D printer.  Theyve also openeda large manufacturing plantand even claim to be working ona full-color 3D printerto be unveiled next year. Now, their SLA machine is just about ready to ship worldwide, starting this July.

The Riverside Photocuring 3D printer is meant to be a low-cost method for introducing desktop SLA machines to the public.  To be unveiled at the China (Qingdao) International Software Convergence & Innovation Expo 2015 next month, CTC describes the  $1,480 Riverside as havinga resin plate with the longest longevity to date. Such a claim is made based on the use of a special thin film that separates the resin and the base,extend[ing] the plates service life from a mere dozen or so days to several months, greatly reducing the printing cost.

In order to achieve the printers low price point, the company has sacrificed a bit on layer detail, with the Riverside capable of 0.1mm layer thicknesses, instead of the .025 achieved with other SLA machines.  Still, the CTC printer, which has a build volume of 135mm x 135mm x 180mm, relies on similar technology, curing resin sensitive to the 405nm UV wavelength.  The manufacturer also argues that less fine layer detail speeds up the printing process and improves the success rate of prints from 40% to 95%.  The Riverside will be equipped with its own proprietary firmware, for control of the laser and galvanometer mirror positioning system, but its software and operating system have been developed based on Cura and Repetier Host.

Head of Public Relations at CTC Electronic,He Siyi, said of the printers release,Our goal is to allow the designer to have access to an affordable and reliable tool and provide an all-new product-verification solution.The companys press release goes a bit further, attempting a take down of other popular printers in the process of describing their new machine.  CTC writes,The commonly used resin plate of existing equipment, such as the Form 1, is extremely vulnerable and the molding efficiency is low, which, to a large degree, have ruined user experience and held back buying.Of another popular brand, they state,It will be the worlds first high resolution 3D printer that is truly affordable for the ordinary user, with the price point set at USD1,480 in the U.S. and RMB13,800 in China, a price point quite a bit lower than that of MakerBot.All of this without even disclosing whether these statements are T or shade!

The Riverside will be available for purchase in the U.S., China, the E.U. and Australia beginning July through the companys own site, as well as through eBay and Amazon. And the complete printer specs are below:

Printing supplies: liquid light-sensitive resin

Print layer thickness: 100micrometers (minimum)

Printer overall dimensions: 35 x 38 x 55cm

The Riverside is an interesting addition to the world of low-cost SLA, especially given the fact thatFormlabs recently began selling the Form 1+ 3D printer in Chinaand XYZprinting is anticipating the worldwide release ofits own SLA-style printer in the near future.  How will it all play out? You tell me!

Michael Molitch-Hou previously served as Editor-in-Chief of 3D Printing Industry, he is now the Editor of Engineering . coms 3D printing section. He has covered additive manufacturing technology day in and day out since 2012 and has hundreds of article to his credit. He is the founder of The Reality Institute.

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Personal SLA DLP 3D Printers

LumiPocket Miniature DLP 3D Printer / Resin $

3D Systems ProJet 1200 $4,900 / Resin $

DWS Lab $5,000 , mini $2,500 / Resin $

Print Technique: Stereolithography Apparatus, SLA

Connectivity of Device: USB 2.0 , Host / Client , WIFI

Print Resolution: X/Y : 300microns Z: 25 microns

Printing Material: Photopolymer Resin

T-Black DLP 3D printer from Trimaker

Hardware can support up to 0.005mm (5 micron)

Build size (footprint): 43 x 27 x 180mm

Hardware can support up to 0.005mm (5 micron)

Build size (footprint): 43 x 27 x 180mm

The Peachy Printer SLA $100 / Resin $60

Nautilus DLP $1,099 / Resin $39 , High Resin: $129

Printer Size & Weight: 20cm*30cm*55cm , DIY kit is about 6 pounds (2.7 kg)

High Solidity Resin: 129 USD/KG , Normal Resin: 39 USD/KG

Whole Printer: 1099 USD/KG (include projector)

DIY kit without projector: FREE (after purchasing 3kg High Resin)

Resolution: 0.1mm-0.08mm for the x and y.

Acer X1240 1024×768 2700 Lumen DLP Projector

Small vat (build area is 75mm x 75mm x 50mm deep)

Medium vat (build area is 75mm x 75mm x 120mm deep)

1L of 3D Ink brand UV cured acrylic resin.

Lunavast XG2 (DIY) $980 / Resin $139

Build area: 102.4mm x 76.8mm (Normal mode) or 102.4mm x 153.6mm (X2 mode)

Robot Factory 3DLPrinter $8050 / Resin $

Build Volume:125 x 125 x 165 mm 4.9 x 4.9 x 6.5 in

Min Feature Size: 300 microns* (0.012 inches)*

Building Area: 150 mm x 112 mm x 200 mm

Build Volume: 280x210x200 mm (11.02x 8,26×7,87)

Number of Voxels in Build Volume: More than 1.5 Billion Voxels

Typical layer height: 100 microns (0.00393)

Minimal layer height depends on the material used.

The Z-Motor is able to go down to 10 microns layers.

We currently support down to 30 microns with the solidator resin.

Pegasus Touch SLA $2000 / Resin $100

3D Technology: 405nm scanning galvo laser liquid resin stereolithography

Build area: up to 7x7x9 (177x177x228mm)

Case Footprint: 11x14x22.5 (280x360x571mm)

Build Size: 77 x 102 x 203 mm (X-Y 0.1mm)/38 x 51 x 203 mm ((X-Y 0.05mm)

SLA 3D Printing Difference in Laser and DLP Light Pattern Generation

SLA 3D Printing: Difference in Laser and DLP Light Pattern Generation

SLA 3D Printing: Difference in Laser and DLP Light Pattern Generation

What makes the Titan 1 different from other SLA 3D printers?

But first, what is SLA 3D printing? SLA stands for stereolithography. In this method of additive manufacturing, a 3D printed object is built layer-by-layer using a liquid resin (photopolymer) that is cured using UV or visible light. What differentiates the Titan 1 from other SLA 3D printers, is that the Titan 1 uses Digital Light Processing (DLP) to shine light patterns via a projector. Many SLA 3D printers use a laser galvanometer to generate patterns.

Heres a quick guide to everything you need to know about DLP and laser 3D printing.

A high resolution projector, light pattern powered by DLP technology, sits beneath the resin container and projects image slices to cure each layer. The projected image is just black and white as seen below. Since the resin is UV sensitive, the white areas of the projected image will direct UV and purple light to the areas require curing.

This method is quite simple when compared to the stunning resolution and details that it produces. The projector remains completely stationary during printing (and it is important that it doesnt move or else the layers wont align properly), which means there are few moving parts and little machine maintenance required. For Kudo3Ds Titan 1 and Titan 2, the only moving part is the stepper motor that lifts the build platform as the model grows after each layer is cured.

A sliced layer that will be projected onto the resin container. From Pranav Panchas model of the Eiffel Tower (

Laser based SLA 3D printing uses a laser to trace out the cross-sections of the model. Similar to fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing, where each layer is deposited in a continuous stream of filament, the laser essentially draws the layer to be cured. The laser is focused using a set of lenses and then reflected off of two motorized scanning mirrors (galvanometer). The scanning mirror directs the precise laser beam at the reservoir of UV sensitive resin to cure the layer. Alternatively, some laser based SLA 3D printers move the laser directly using a XY stepper motor arrangement similar to those used in filament based printer.

Now that we know how each method works, lets do a comparison.

DLP 3D printing is very fast because it projects the profile of an entire layer at one time, turning 2-dimensional images into a 3D object. In comparison, lasers have to trace out the entire sliced profile line by line which takes a lot more time. Small inaccuracies are also likely to occur and can affect the structural strength and surface smoothness of the print.

The projector makes DLP 3D printing versatile. Depending on the resolution and size of the 3D model desired, DLP can be easily moved up or down to adjust for your customized settings. DLP 3D printers can produce details with much higher resolution than laser based SLA 3D printers. However, resolution depends on the projected pixel size. This means that higher resolutions are limited to smaller XY build area.

Laser 3D printing generally has a fixed laser spot size of about 300 um, while the DLP projector in the Titan 1 can be customized to print from 37 to 100 um. Tuning the laser spot size smaller will make the printing speed extremely slow. On the other hand, since lasers sweep a continuous path, theyre less likely to show surface pixelization artifacts the way a DLP 3D printer printed model will. The pixelization is usually more noticeable for large prints. Pixelization can be removed with anti-aliasing or pixel shifting.

Laser based SLA 3D printers require a number of moving parts in their design. XY motion is achieved via the use of two stepper motors to move the laser itself, or a galvanometer which rotates a mirror assembly to reflect a stationary lasers light to the desired location. DLP 3D printers do not require any mechanical XY motion for photopolymer curing since projector illuminates the entire XY plane at once.

The Titan 1 and Titan2, with patented passive self-peeling technology, only require one stepping motor for Z-axis linear stage, eliminating the need for sliding or rotating tray mechanisms. This minimizes assembly complexity, maintenance, and wear on the machine.

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Why Cured Layers Could Stick to the Resin Container

Why Cured Layers Could Stick to the Resin Container

What makes Kudo3Ds SLA 3D printers so unique?

What makes Kudo3Ds SLA 3D printers so unique?

Titan 1 was featured on an article on Stereolithography by Eaglemoss Publications!

Titan 1 was featured on an article on Stereolithography by Eaglemoss Publications!

In the last line of the table you suggest DLP with PSP is a higher cost than Laser based mechanism? Please explain.

Under Maintenance shouldnt it mention replacement of the PSP container as the surface wears out? After how many layers of printing approximately will a given part of the container wear out?

It looks as though the laser system requires a deep bath of (expensive) Resin. Does that only impact up front investment or also running costs due to wastage?

Will the DLP with PSP solution be scaleable over time? For example do we expect more pixels? (I guess a laser can cover any area.)

These are great questions and here are the answers.

1) DLP is a very sophisticated projection system developed by Texus Instrument. It consists of a lamp, optics, a DMD chip and controlling circuits. DMD stands for Digital Micromirror Device. For a HD DMD chip, there are 1920 times 1080 (2073600) tiny mirrors (pixels) with a size about 10 um. All these tiny mirros can be switched on and off swiftly by the controlling circuits. DLP technology is widely used in commercial mass-produced DLP projectors so it is very reliable. Compared with LCD projectors, DLP projectors have a higher contrast ratio which is important for the SLA application. In a laser SLA system, a laser galvanometer system is used to create light patterns by drawing. It consists of two 405nm laser diodes, two focusing lens, two mirrors, two motors and a controlling circuit. The cost to acquire a DLP projector is about 3 times the cost to acquire a low cost laser galvanometer system. Kudo3Ds technical team had 12 years of experience in laser diodes and we decided to use the native 19201080 HD DLP because of higher resolution, higher printing speed, higher reliability and lower future cost to maintain. On the other hand, the galvo system is very small and can be fit into a small case. The advantage of galvo is simply cheaper and easy to design the looks of a small desktop 3D printer. Here are some reality for the cheap laser galvo system. The lifetime distribution of laser diodes is a broader bell curve compared with the light bulb of a projector. The laser diode lifetime is very sensitive to the laser chip temperature when emitting light.

The chip temperature depends on both how the heat is taken away from the chip and the ambient temperature. The lifetime also depends on the quality of the two cleaved cavity mirrors and the coating covering the cleavages. The chance of a premature failure is higher than a light bulb. If you search laser failure for those popular SLA printers, you will find many discussions. Other than the lifetime of the lasers, there are also moving parts that could fail in a galvo system. This system must be well calibrated before using. For a layman, replacing a part means that you have to send the printer back to the manufacturer for a sophisticated calibration. Otherwise, the laser beam may not be focused tightly or the beam shape may not be optimized. It is also difficult for a cheap laser galvo system to have a resolution comparable with the DLP because of the limitation imposed by the focusing distance between the lens and the vat and the quality of lens. People who want performance and reliability will find Titan1 more preferable than those little SLAs.

2) We did not mention the replacement of the PSP container under maintenance because PSP container is a consumable. This is true for all SLA printers. It is just like the cartridge of a 2D printer. If you are a DIYer, you can replace the Teflon film before it wears out. The number of layers that can be printed for a film depends on the cumulative separation force, the hardness of silicone and the model tolerance of the warpage. There is no absolute answer for the lifetime. Tiny models such as miniatures have small separation force and higher tolerance on the warpage. For this application, the vat can last above 500 hours with a small build platform. Estimated number of layers is 100000 on the same printing spot with few repeated patterns.

We encourage the users to understand the separation force explained in the printing guide. It will help increase the life time of the Teflon film. If the model needs a very flat surface, harder silicone tends to keep the film flat for a longer time. We will start producing v2 with harder silicone next week.

3) The desktop laser system usually has a bottom up configuration like Titan1. The resin price is about the same as that for DLP. However, the resins for laser SLAs are not formulated for very high resolution.

4) PSP is indeed scalable. We believe with DLP this is the only low cost high resolution scalable solution now. All we need is a 4K projector to increase the printing area. If the resolution is not a key concern for large models, we can also use a laser galvo to generate large patterns on a PSP.

Hi there so from what I understand, the projector can be moved up and down to adjust focal length? So say I printing multiple mode Pyramids for example, my focal length should be adjusted so that it over the largest layer (base of Pyramid)? How much room would I have to move the projector up and down?

1. The cost of a laser galvo is below $100 and the cost of a HD DLP is above $550. The preformance and reliability are very different. We are telling that with the same price range we are using a much more sophisticated part to generate light patterns.

2. Consumable is not part of the maintenance for the printer. Number of layers to print depends on many variables, such as exposed area, exposed pattern geometry, lifting speed, resin adhesion to the film and silicone hardness. We have customers using a vat for over 500 hours printing tiny models.

3. Laser could be bottom up too. It is just a way to generate patterns. Some people use LCD to generate patterns too. By nature, the laser spot size is larger than the tunable DLP pixel size, laser galvo has more moving parts, laser diode is more sensitive to temperature. Degradation of a laser diode involves spot size and beam shape changing. In addition, if the calibration is gone, you need to send the whole printer back for beam calibration. Bottom up has less front investment and the machine is simpler.

4. Yes. Actually, there are 2K projectors available but the price is equivalent to 3 or more printers. Laser can not cover any area unless the galvo has a dynamic beam shape correction mechanism which is very expensive. Alternatively, you can put the laser far away from the vat to reduce the angle but the spot size increases. The more angle away from the vertical, the more elliptical the laser spot becomes. Therefore, outer region has less resolution than the central region of the vat.

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