MRRF 17: Laser Resin Printers

The Midwest RepRap Festival is the best 3D printer con on the planet. In the middle of Indiana, you’ll find the latest advances for CNC hot glue guns and the processes that make squirting filament machines better, more accurate, and more efficient. There’s more to 3D printing than just filament-based machines, though, and for the last few MRRFs we’ve been taking a look at resin-based machines.

While most of the current crop of resin printers use either DLP projectors or LCDs and a big, bright backlight [Mark Peng]’s Moai printer uses a 150 mW laser diode and galvos. This is somewhat rare in the world of desktop 3D printers, thanks in no small part to the ugliness between Formlabs and 3D Systems. Still, it’s a printer that looks fantastic and produces prints that are far beyond what’s possible with a filament-based machine.

With the side panels off, the Moai printer looks very simple. The enclosure is made from aluminum extrusion, the electronics are what you would expect in any RepRap, and apart from the laser galvo setup, this looks like something that could be knocked out in a well-equipped shop in a weekend.

The simple construction of the Moai stands in stark contrast to the prints coming out of this thing. These prints are the best you could ever expect from a 3D printer; they’re difficult to photograph even with a macro lens (note to other resin printer builders: don’t use transparent green resin if you want the media to take pictures of your prints). As far as specs go, the build volume is 130 mm x 130 mm x 180 mm, it prints via G-code and Cura, and can use Open resins.

[Mark] launched a Kickstarter for this printer last week, with the standard reward of a printer kit going for $1,000. According to [Mark], the kit only takes four hours to assemble, making the Moai a very interesting printer for anyone who wants to get into resin printing.

Like every Kickstarter campaign, we must remind you caveat emptor does not apply because ēmptor translates to ‘buyer’. You’re not buying anything on Kickstarter.

19 thoughts on “MRRF 17: Laser Resin Printers

      1. Or $98 USD litre + shipping for Makerjuice, which also contains a higher volume of filler agents that are not resin.
        That price also excludes currency conversions for duty, taxes, and fees.
        Which by some strange occurrence will still end up very close to $200 per litre.

        At least use a search engine if you are too cheap to own an actual form1.
        People getting angry that they can’t get a sweet slice of the inkjet loss-leader market are funnier than most clowns…

        1. Oops – typo. I meant $55/liter.

          Yeah, pigment is a “filler” – it determines depth of cure, among other things.

          As far as common denominator fees and costs, and the fact that you’re tied in to a barely-working Kickstarter dinosaur to use their proprietary cartridges, can’t help you there. And if you’re going to get attitude, don’t see you on a Stratasys, so you’re right in there with the rest of the Kickstarter “crap” owners/owners-to-be.

    1. Hi LOL, I am the founder of Peopoly. Moai resin sells for $70 / liter and is designed for laser SLA printer (more polymer and less photoinitiator and monomer). Moai uses a 405nm laser with 150mw power and 70nm spot. Moai does not have any mirrors (other than galvos) which mean less distortion and power loss. Those are different design approaches and specs than Formlabs products.

    1. Beats a 1 hour 25 rambling discourse of taking it out of the box and printing something straight off of Thingiverse, Three machines were sent out – one to Oz, one to Germany (I wonder to whom?), and one to USA. We’re still waiting to see that one and the other.

  1. I am getting a bit concerned about the low level of laser safety (and classification) a lot of these home-brew SLA printers and laser cutters/engravers exhibit. Especially when they proceed to be available to “consumers”, such as through Kickstarter. The risks are not negligible or benign.

      1. Good safety work is done in advance, not after the fact. And I think that sites such as Hackaday would be excellent places to rise awareness and teach people about the hazards and good safety practices. What happens otherwise we have already seen with laser pointers, with new legislation in som places which makes them increasingly hard to buy and use for hobbyists. If laser modules would be controlled in the same way we would have no home-made SLA printers at all.

        And it is good to know the regulations around a “product”, which is what you have with a Kickstarter, and the related costs before you set the price and time schedule. Will make it more plausible that you will actually deliver something on time without going bankrupt.

    1. The machine was shown, running, at MRRF17. This is one of several (I hope…) MRRF pieces, covering interesting machinery there. How is the title deceptive? How is the fact that it’s ALSO on Kickstarter make it any less credible than some of the Rube Goldberg contraptions that were being shown at MRRF?

    2. Hey, Rodney. I am Mark, founder of Peopoly. I understand there are a lot of cynicism about 3D printer projects on Kickstarter. That’s why I went to MRRF to build one on site in a few hours and showed that it could print fine. I don’t expect to convince everyone or right any past wrongs from other projects. I just want to show the backers that Moai is real and I appreciate their trust in me.

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