DIY UV resin SLA 3d printer.

What ?

Well, as the title says , this blog will cover the (hopefully) creation of a do it yourself 3d printer based on the technology of stereolithography.

After successfully building a FDM 3d printer (although with lots of room for improvements) the time is right to try creating a resin based printer.

My basic reason for doing this is because I would like to print out high resolution parts, but quite small.

 

Resin based printers all work on the principle of a photo sensitive resin which hardens when (near)UV light hits it. This is not new technology. For a long time there were patents preventing hobbyists from creating machines like this, but chances are big you already came in contact with this kind of resin behavior. 

 

  • Dentists make use of UV resin now to fill holes in teeth.
  • Ever wondered why manicurists use UV light for the nail polish they use ?

 

There are actually a lot of possible setups to do this, so hereafter I'll discuss the 3 possible setups I will take to create this printer.

 

1) Printing using a laser and galvanometer.

By using a near UV laser beam and galvanometer mounted mirrors, it should be possible to project a tightly focused beam with high precision onto a bath of liquid resin.

2) Printing with a laser and an XY-stage.

A possible problem with galvanometers and laser is getting a very narrow focus point and acceptable focal depth, so this is a second possibility to create a 3D printer. Its advantaged are easier focusing of the laser and maybe also easier positioning. There is also a larger possible print surface, but at the cost of speed.

3) Printing with a DLP projector onto a resin bath.

This method is actually a method generally known to give quite good results, so if other methods seem to fail, this is a safe fallback. But let's be honest, laser are far cooler than a video projector.

 

All three of these methods can be used in a TOP-DOWN or in a BOTTOM-UP setup, which I will explain in my next blog post.