Affordable DLP SLA Printer

 

INTRODUCTION

Additive Manufacturing(AM)is revolutionizing the conventional manufacturing practices, in being, easy, diverse & more precise. Having an application for different material types, from soft to flex too hard.AM application is limitless. Early use of AM in the form of Rapid Prototyping focused on pre-production visualization models. More recently, AM is being used to fabricate end-use products in aircraft, dental restorations, medical implants, automobiles, and even fashion products.
The commonly used AM techniques include

 

SLA(Stereolithography):

It is the process of a layer by layer optical fabrication of a part using light(UV or LED) whereby light causes the chains of molecules to bond forming polymers of different density, strength & elasticity.

FDM(Fused Deposition Modeling):

It is the process of heating an engineering grade thermoplastic to its melting temperature & oozing out this molten plastic in a layer by layer fashion using a nozzle extruding material onto a build platform.

CLIP(Continuous Liquid Interface Printing):

It is the process of projecting a continuous sequence of UV images, generated by a digital light projector, through an oxygen-permeable, UV-transparent window below a liquid resin bath. The dead zone created above the window maintains a liquid interface below the part. Above the dead zone, the curing part is drawn out of the resin bath.

The challenge has been to manufacture an affordable resin printer utilizing the strengths of the above mentioned AM techniques & also have an ease of use.

This DIY kit details on the most basic Desktop SLA 3D printer that can be made & assembled at home following the simple set of instructions listed here. Making an SLA 3D printer is not rocket science. It needs a little bit of hard work & motivation to be able to print your dreams & make them a reality!

This document has been made after thorough research & my experiential knowledge in 3D printing potential biomedical stent as part of my master’s thesis. I’ll try my best to help 🙂

BASIC COMPONENTS:

3Ducate is a simple Digital Light Projection(DLP) based SLA printer utilizing the minimum possible hardware & software in the maximum possible capacity. A little overview:

a. Projector(UV light source):

We have a prototype projection source developed specifically for the printer

b. Resin Tank:

This is the most critical part of the project. A non-leaking, robust & anti-stick resin bed is the first step to obtaining a great print. There are 2 choices, for experimental use, we can either build a resin tank out of glass walls by sticking together glass plates with epoxy resin, allowing suitable time to cure & harden, or have a readily available metal tray, cut it’s bottom out & then stick glass to it using epoxy. Please ensure a leak test with water after the resin tank is fully cured & ready to use.

  1. Moving build plate Assembly:

As we all know that stereolithography is a layer by layer fabrication process, it is very important to ensure that our moving build plate to which the finished resin adheres, has smooth surface finish & adhesion good enough to hold the finished product. We can use metal, smooth plastic or 3D printed PLA plastic plate(personal preference). It should be thick(half an inch) & have a mechanism to allow easy resin removal(pyramid structure) as it moves up vertically. The build platform is 9”X7” with a vertical Z height of 8.5”.

3D printed “Moving build plate”

  1. Mechanical Support Frame

The basic components need to be integrated into one single unit, considering the resin bed at the focal length of the projector. The motor needs mounting support preferably at the top. A shaft coupler was 3D printed to attach the motor to the linear side guide, allowing smooth rotation & no slipping. The linear side guide is supported on an 80-20 rod. The resin tank is supported on 2 of the 80-20 rods.

 

BUILD FRAME

  1. Resin

For all my test/experimentation purposes, an affordable vendor for purchasing high-quality resins was Makerjuice labs. You can visit their website & explore the variety here, https://makerjuice.com/

HARD MULTIPURPOSE RESIN @MAKERJUICE LABS

The one shown in the picture is hard multipurpose resin. One thing to remember, do not expose the used resin in a sunlit area. Also, do not mix the used & the new resin, have them marked in separate boxes!
Apart from that, I used my own chemicals to make polymers with photocuring capability & desired flexibility. Details coming soon!

 

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hello@3ducators.org

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