If you’ve ever been interested in what goes on inside a (roughly) $6000 DLP stereolithography printer, you might want to check out the recent announcement from Autodesk that open sources their electronics and firmware for their Ember 3D printer. The package includes the design files and code for their controller (which is more or less a BeagleBone black with a USB hub, and more memory. It also has two AVR controllers for motor and light control.
The mechanical design has been open since May. Autodesk point’s out that many of the parts are injection molded and might be hard to duplicate by other means (although apparently their prototype machines used 3D printed parts). The DLP projector, too, is something you’d probably source and not duplicate from these files. Autodesk says, “Our thought is not that you would duplicate Ember, but extend it.”
That may be true, but our guess is someone is going to build one, perhaps making the design cheaper and easier to build in the process. Autodesk seems to be very committed to openness given that they also make their resin formulation open source, as well.
Not that there aren’t other stereolithography designs out there. The Peachy, for example, is famous for using a water drip to control layer height. If you are an accomplished scrounger, you might even be able to build one for under $100. However, Ember is a professional product and having its internals exposed makes it very educational, even if you won’t build an exact duplicate of it. Whatever you do end up building from this info, we’d like to hear about it!