And so the deluge of resin-based 3D printers begins

It looks like 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the resin-based 3D printer. The latest comes from [Michael Joyce] and is called the B9Creator.  Like other resin printers, [Michael] used a DLP projector to cure the print one layer at a time. The layer height is on the order of 100 microns – crazy for a kit-based printer.

There is a  Kickstarter for the B9Creator where kits are available for $2400 USD. Everything is included in this kit, including the DLP projector and a kilogram of resin. $2400 is much more expensive than even the fanciest melted-plastic 3D printer such as a Makerbot or RepRap, but that’s the price you pay for high-quality prints.

Of course this project comes a month after an earlier, similar, and shadier project called the Veloso 3D printer. The B9Creator promises to be open source once all the Kickstarter machines are shipped out, and [Michael] is very open about his designs and his resin formula – an admirable quality in a maker.

You can check out a load of videos of the B9Creater we found after the break.


Comments

  1. svofski says:

    Hmm i missed quite a bit about these printers I guess. Why the result is upside down and how the projector exposes the resin if the model is in the way?

  2. jndetlefsen says:

    Open Source UV Photopolymer DLP 3D Printer

    http://code.google.com/p/lemoncurry/wiki/main

  3. PlastBox says:

    Might be a naive question, but why the steep price tag? I get that the photocuring resing is a bit expensive, it’s not like it’s something most people buy and use.

    But the printer itself? Is the projector insanely high resolution or something? A few fairly basic parts to form the vat, the z-axis and the plate the model is printed on. A stepper-motor and the needed electronics. It would seem, hardware-wize, that this should be around the same price range as the MakerBot and the RepRap, at least if you could get a “bring your own projector”-kit.

  4. Zee says:

    What about software? Efficient support structures and proper software are a big concern with resin DLP printers.

    • Bear Naff says:

      You need a piece of model-slicing software that can perform a decent infill on the resulting slices then export to any 2d image format. The support software burden for a resin printer is low enough that most of the work can be done by existing software for FDM printers, with the exception of the slicer.

      Right now there exist python programs that will handle very basic model slicing – and there exist programs to cross-convert python code into javascript. Since there also exist JS libraries to handle image synthesis, I can only assume that noone with the relevant skills has had a spare afternoon with the concurrent desire for internet-fame necessary to make an in-browser slicing program. I do not know why.

  5. Neckbeard says:

    It looks like the vision of the future in Cory Doctrow’s “Makers” is slowly unfolding before our very eyes. I remember when the hardware hacking scene was a small niche community, then the hipsters arrived to ravage the scene and then moved on to the next trend.

    The ones that have stayed behind have created some marvels and I’m really enjoying watching where the scene is going.

    • uC says:

      Just wait until you see all the DRM buried inside the modern professional printers out there.

      We’re closer to Cory Doctrow’s “Makers” than most people imagine.

    • Spacedog says:

      This is very true.

      Tri-colour Reprap = $1088.80
      Dual-colour Makerbot 2X = $2,799.00

      I recently saw a Glenn Beck interview with Cody Wilson. Glenn proudly announces his newly pruchased Replicator, and points to it displayed on a spotlit pedistol. He asks Cody, how much does the material cost for me to print an entire gun on this bad boy? Cody basically tells him be bought a lemon and a steriolithography process is needed to accurately reproduce the parts. LOL

  6. M4CGYV3R says:

    What does it cost just for the resin? I have a projector and some 2″x4″s…all I would need now is the resin, and I’m not about to pay $2400 for that.

  7. atomsoft says:

    This while awesome is expensive as hell!

    • Neckbeard says:

      Most things are until they become in more common use. They’ll be half the price they are by this time next year.

    • ccampbe says:

      Having just made a rather accurate wood 3 axis CNC for a college project for $250, the main cost to build one of these yourself would be the stepper motors, the precision threaded rods to move the platform, and the projector. If done right, this shouldn’t cost more than cost of projector+ 200$. In the end though, either you get what you pay for, or what you put the time in to design and build.

      • atomsoft says:

        Yeah im waiting on a Shapeoko CNC. But i will of course build another. I have quiet a few steppers on hand, even a DLP (projection) 50in TV. Im sure i could build this with less than $100 worth of bought items. Its just the time and effort part.. I dont have time to put effort into something like this.

        But as you said something like this wouldnt cost too much.

        I think Approx. $500-$600 would be enough to make one… With $1000 i would be able to make a nice High quality one. I tried to start a Kick-Starter project about 2 times and they shot me down. So i say screw them! perhaps its because im neither white or black :) (hispanic)

    • HAD says:

      Commercial machines are $50,000 to $200,000 and up.

  8. RobThePyro says:

    I really like the idea of resin printers, but TBH I still think they will be prohibitively expensive for a while yet.. AFAIK the Ultimaker (which IMHO is expensive, if you have time and DIY skills to build your own 3d Printer..) can print all the way down to 20 microns for less than half the price? whereas this can only do 100microns. or am I missing something?

    • techartisan says:

      This project currently has two focal positions 100 micron (xy) and 50 micron (xy) and the Z axis is software adjustable from 10 microns to 100 microns.
      Show me an fdm machine capable of depositing a volumetric pixel 50X50X10 microns.

      Better yet show me an FDM machine that can deposit two such volumetric pixels separated by only 50 microns.

      When you say a FDM (reprap, ultimaker etc) has done 20 microns you are only commenting on the thickness of the Z layer. Even if you lean on the xy step resolution…ultimaker claims 12.5 micron you must take into account the 400 micron (ultimaker) nozzle diameter.

      Additionally since the exposure is done layerwise your time per layer is significantly less than if you were tracing out the image from a single point, an advantage this technique has over FDM as well as traditional laser based SLA systems.

      Obviously the downsides to this technology are:

      total build area is limited by projector resolution/intended accuracy (ie 50 micron XY build accuracy is half the projected size of 100 micron XY)

      and

      Price…1024X768 DLP projectors are more expensive then some teflon, brass, and nichrome wire. 1920X1080 projectors will cost more than your reprap by themselves.

      Ultimately, if a reprap can produce parts the size and accuracy you require then there is no need for you to consider this technology. If you work in small scale high detail ie jewelry, dental, small scale modeling etc…this is for you….and an extremely good deal.

      The closest comparable commercial system has a build area of 60 x 45 X 100mm, 43 micron XY 25-35 micron Z and is only 20X the price.

  9. Prince says:

    I don’t have much use for models of Yoda or a Goldberg sphere, but I DO have use for functional mechanical components. Which 3D printer could I used to make good quality functional worm drives or planetary gears?

    I have seen some pictures of a pretty chunky herringbone gear on thingverse, but even so, I do wonder if anybody makes anything other than test prints and ornaments on these things.

    • Regulus says:

      The thingiverse is full of various mechanical things, but there are not a lot of designers working on engineering projects they are willing to post.
      That said, you can totally print pretty small gears, provided your printer is either well tuned or built for you. I’ve printed a pretty decent clock, and I’m happy with the quality of the workings.

    • Daid says:

      I’m working on one of the software packages for FDM printing (RepRap like printers).
      And while I do everything OpenSource, I do get requests on email for help. Usually these people are printing prototype cases and stuff that they don’t want to share. To help them I usually can get the model, and delete it afterwards. But people are doing pretty cool mechanical things.
      But as an example, printed lathe: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:9242

      The quality is also a bit “random” if you look online. Many older RapRap models are just outdated and do not get the quality that you see from other machines.
      I haven’t printed mechanical parts in a while, but these cube gears are always cool: http://daid.mine.nu/~daid/IMG_20120423_185903.jpg (they turn)
      As for quality… well, see for yourself: http://daid.mine.nu/~daid/IMG_20120418_213851.jpg

  10. ginsublade says:

    would it be possible to use a DLP or other types of projection TV for the projector….cheap and easy to find for next to nothing…

    • Bear Naff says:

      The short answer is “maybe”. The long answer is: Sure, but it’s an extra few layers of work while you design/develop the mountings for new lenses and whatnot. You’ll also need a new lamp, so it won’t be that much cheaper.

      However, if cash is in much lower supply than time and engineering experience, go for it!

  11. jaf says:

    so is this the resin equivalent to the reprap or is it another “please fund me” scam like the last resin printer post?

  12. ginsublade says:

    What about the UV cure clearcoat that is used at the nail salon?

  13. Mike says:

    I wonder if they have removed the colour wheel from the projector to increase output – that’s what I’d do, and may explain inclusion in package

  14. ginsublade says:

    Why not replace projector with X-Y scanning mirrors+UV or bluray laser? might be done with DC servos or microstepped steppers…just an idea…

    • squantmuts says:

      I am working on something similar but by reusing a polygon mirror assembly from a laser printer.

      http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/m2879.html

      I am going to replace the IR laser with a blueray 405nm laser and see how that works out. Resolution would be comparable but the working area would be a lot bigger.

    • macona says:

      Multiple reasons. For one moving parts wear and lose alignment. Also they cost more than what a projector will cost including the modifications to it.

      Closed loop galvos are what are normally used in a situation like this and is what is normally used in SLA machines.

      Then there is the issue of the laser. If they use a laser this machine will then have to meet FDA requirements for laser product.

      A projector is just so much simpler.

  15. Michael Lashinsky says:

    I want a 3D printer so I can manufacture an inkjet printer that doesn’t suck and doesn’t use expensive ink refills! That would be a prime use for a 3D printer!

    • macona says:

      They are called color laser printers.

    • macona says:

      “Of course this project comes a month after an earlier, similar, and shadier project called the Veloso 3D printer.”

      What is so shady about it?

      • smellarat says:

        “what is so shady about it?”
        1. Junior leaned heavily on others when he was developing under the guise of “open sourcing” the idea, until he got results.
        2. Junior has been promising updates in a week that either never come or arrive MONTHS later.
        3. This pattern of silence has continued through the indiegogo campaign.
        4. The indiegogo campaign, until today, only showed images of juniors prototype machine, and prints and videos from the same….Juniors prototype machine was printing @ 50 microns XY. The campaign is for a hypothetical machine with an XY of 147 microns. Larger build area sure but no where near the capability the images imply.
        5. Today feeling the pressure of the B9, they finally unveil their machine….or rather a computer rendering of what they think it might look like if somehow they raise another $200k

        Shady.

  16. To people complaining about the price, please bare in mind that this is made from laser cut aluminium which is then bent on a cnc press brake and anodised. The maker bots are just plywood. If you had this design made as a one off by a laser cutting company it would cost you a pretty penny. This is almost pro quality so expect a slightly more pro price. If you want the cost to be like a projector plus 200 bucks then wait a few years and you will see the ply wood versions.

    • yan says:

      nope..see http://www.solidoodle.com
      industrial product 3d printer type rerap for 500 $

      • holto says:

        Hardly the same thing. Jesus, are people not even looking at this thing?

        The solidoodle is made from some trimmed up angle iron. This has a fully custom, enclosed, UV light-blocking case made out of anodized aluminum. It’s not cheap.

        If you want 600 dollars, go buy the Solidoodle.

        I think people are missing the plot here.

        If you are the cheapest person on the planet and really love hacking things together just to print Yoda heads on, this printer isn’t for you.

        Mike has gone the extra mile and put the product placement where noone else has gone yet. The semi pro or hobbyist that wants a solid working product with very little tweaking.

        This isn’t for the robotics geek that just enjoys the thrill of making the CNC machine. It CAN be once Mike open-sources the specs and people start playing with bigger build platforms, etc, but it’s just not for the guy trying to get everything in life as cheap as humanly possible even if it’s made out of scrap cardboard.

        The resin model is also nice for folks craving higher detail, intricate features, overhangs and easier post finishing. So you can sand and tap this without worrying about pockets, etc and it winds up being a much cleaner model in general because there will be no stringing, etc and you can print complex overhangs, etc much easier.

        Cheers,
        Holt

      • Hitek146 says:

        Still, the Solidoodle looks like a good deal for the money, and I am willing to put up $550 to find out. Ordered mine this morning… :)

      • Graham Stabler says:

        Yeah Solid doodle looks fine for the money but far from an industrial product as it is just just a box spot welded from thin steel angle. The material costs alone would be much smaller as it’s tiny and steel not ali, plus no finish on it, just bare metal. The cube by 3D systems is $1200 and very professional obviously but I bet at it’s heart is some cheap folded steel sections then covered in plastic injection moulded parts (just like your inkjet printer), this is something they can do because of the numbers they will sell. This printer is closer to custom one-off type manufacture so the absolute cost is high however I think realistically it is good value.

  17. Roger says:

    There is a lot of talk about resolution, but hardly any about the actual material qualities. Veloso claims their 150USD/Kg resin to be “like ABS”. Whatever that means? Here I see no information for the structural qualities of the resin once cured. 40USD per pound for the resin sounds good, but what type of material is it actually? How does it really compare to the typical FDM materials ABS and PLA?

  18. macpod says:

    I’m impressed by the engineering and build quality :)

    I wonder if there is some means to get rid of the sliding shutter mechanisim? Seems like it would speed up the process.

    • macona says:

      It does look pretty good.

      The shutter is not the slow part here. The curing of the resin is.

      The other concern I have is the projector position. When dealing with something with fluid I would rather not have the projector below it where it could get into it. Second, most projectors are not designed for vertical operation. Some you might get away with if the lamp electrodes are parallel to the axis of rotation. If it is not and you are tilting the lamp it will kill the lamp life significantly. And at probably $300 a pop that will get expensive fast.

      I think I would also use at least a 1280×1024 projector or maybe even jump to a 1920×1080.

  19. macona says:

    After looking though the info on the Kickstarter I have found a huge issue. It used a Vivitek D535 which has the lamp in a position that will cause it to be outside its intended operating position, horizontal +/-15 degrees. What happens here is the heat from the arc is focused on one electrode and causes a temperature gradient on the lamp. Two things can result from this, one the electrode is slowly eroded away sputtering the gasses under the deposited metal causing the pressure in the lamp to drop and significantly reducing the lamp life. Second, the lamp can explode. Not pretty, I have seen it happen.

    • macona says:

      And the lamps are $134 a piece plus shipping.

    • Mike says:

      They should have used a 45 deg mirror at the bottom, so not only is the projector the right way up, the whole thing is also a lot less tall.

      • Graham Stabler says:

        It is possibly wrong to assume that the guidance in the manual is more trustworthy than his actual experience. It could be that the problem you mention goes away at 90 degrees but exists between 15 and 70 say. Adding a 45 degree mirror may seem to be the way to do it but it increases the projector mount overhang, widens the printer potentially and might increase the cost. When open-sourced you are free to show how he should have done it in more detail.

      • macona says:

        No, I am basing this off the lamp orientation itself primarily and the manual recommendations secondary. I have years of experience in the lighting field.

        The project being open source does not remove exclude himself from product liability. He is selling a product wether it be plans or a finished unit with serious flaw. If, in a worst case scenario, the lamp explodes and ruins the projector, who is going to replace it? The warranty will clearly be voided, not only has it been modified for a shorter focal length but it has been operating in the wrong position.

        • Graham Stabler says:

          I’ve suggested that he do some lamp lifetime tests to allay fears but he has obviously not run into any problems with his projector and he has been running it since November (not continously obviously.) I’m certainly not discounting what you are saying but would prefer to work from empirical evidence rather than claimed experience (of course for you it is not just claimed.)

    • Mike Joyce says:

      Just to be clear, we’ve checked this with Vivitek and we are OK. The Vivitek D535 bulb axis is parallel to the pitch axis and it does not care what angle it is pitched. The +/- 15 degree warning in the user manual is to prevent unmounted units from slipping and falling when on a desktop, etc. We are told to expect normal (~3000 hour) bulb life.
      Thanks!
      MikeJ

  20. Bubba Gump says:

    Just to be clear about this, understand that you can get touchy feely models but nothing useful. I work (sometimes fortunately, mostly unfortunately) with commercial 3d printers and autodesk inventor 2013 day in and out.

    When you are trying to do something like tweak a snap feature, if you are not printing in an acceptable medium your model can look cool, but it won’t work period.

    For example on some dimension printers, we now know after much trial and error how to model and print a part on that in ABS that will translate to an injection molded part in nylon 6/6 with a UL94VO rating.

    It’s cool and all, but does not translate to the real world. Print up as many 3D crescent wrenches as you like, but my injection molded 3D crescent wrench will outperform your repcrap day in and day out.

    • You seem to assume the world revolves around prototyping for injection moulding. Everything has limitations and pros and cons but to say you get nothing useful is short sighted. I’ll stick with my drop forged crescent wrenches thanks but will continue to use my 3d printer very effectively for prototyping. Oh and you might find it interesting to know that the parts produced on these dlp machines are higher res and more homogenous than the dimension stuff, you can also try different resins to get specific properties.

  21. Roy says:

    i am curious of cost per prints? I cant seem to find that anywhere. if someone wanted to make stuff to sell need cost calculators?

  22. nickrr says:

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