Assessing The Micromirror Device From A DLP Printer For Maskless Lithography Duty

Inspired by the idea of creating a maskless lithography system using a digital micromirror device (DMD), [Nemo Andrea] tore into an Anycubic Photon Ultra, DLP & resin-based 3D printer to take a look at its projector system. Here Anycubic isn’t the maker of what is called the ‘optical engine’, which would be eViewTek’s D2 projector and its siblings. This projector assembly itself is based around the Ti DLP300s, which we covered a while back when it was brand new. Since that time Anycubic has released the Photon Ultra and Photon D2 3D printers based around these optical engines.

Using DMD for lithography isn’t a new thing, as [Nemo] points out, referencing the μMLA system by Heidelberg Systems. What would be new is using a freely available and rather affordable DMD (even if it requires sacrificing a 3D printer) to obtain its optical engine in order to create an open and more affordable lithography platform than commercial ‘contact us for a quote’ option.

No doubt it’s a challenging project, but perhaps the nice side effect of having affordable DLP 3D printers out and about is that their DMDs are now also significantly more accessible than they were previously.  We wish [Nemo] all the best in this endeavor, as a maskless lithography machine would be just that addition to any hobbyist’s toolset that we are no doubt waiting for.

(Thanks to Jerry for the tip)

Make PCBs With DLP, OMG!

There’s so many ways to skin the home-fabrication-of-PCBs cat! Here’s yet another. [Nuri Erginer] had a DLP projector on hand, and with the addition of some reducing optics, managed to turn it into a one-shot PCB exposer.

If you’ve ever used photo-resist PCB material before, you know the drill: print out your circuit onto transparency film, layer the transparency with the sensitized PCB, expose with a UV light for a while, dissolve away the unexposed resist, and then etch. Here, [Nuri] combines the first three steps in one by exposing the board directly from a DLP projector.

The catch is that the projector’s resolution limits the size of the board that you can make. To fab a board that’s 10cm x 10cm, at XGA resolution (1024×768), you’ll end up with a feature size of around 0.004″ in the good direction and 0.005″ in the other.

For DIP parts, that’s marginal, but for fine-pitch or small SMT parts, that won’t do. On the other hand, for a smaller board, optimally one in the same 4:3 ratio, it could work. And because it exposes in one shot, you can’t beat the speed. Cool hack, [Nuri]!

When you need more precision, strapping a UV laser to an accurate 2D robot is a good way to go, but it’s gonna take a while longer.

LittleRP, The Latest Of The Resin Printers

LitleRP Over the last few years, a few resin / stereolithography printers have been made a few headlines due to print quality that cannot be matched by the usual RepRap style filament printers. These used to be extremely expensive machines, but lately there have been a few newcomers to the field. The latest is the LittleRP, an affordable DLP projector-based resin printer that can be put together for under a kilobuck.

Instead of proprietary resins, the LittleRP is designed to use as many different formulations of UV curing resin as possible, including those from MadeSolid and MakerJuice. These resins are cured with a DLP projector, providing a print area of 60x40x100mm with the recommended 1024×768 projector, or 72x40x100mm with the alternative 1080p projector.

This isn’t the only resin printer that’s come out recently; SeeMeCNC recently announced their cleverly named DropLit resin printer kit, going with the same ‘bring your own projector’ idea as the LittleRP. With the price of the printer, both of these kits should cost less than $1000 USD. With the price of UV resin dropping over the last few years, it might be just the time to get in the resin printer game.

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.

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3D Printer With Insane Accuracy Uses A DLP Projector

After years of work, [Junior Veloso] is finally getting his 3D printer project out to the public. Unlike the Makerbots and repraps we usually see, [Junior]’s printer uses light-curing resin and a DLP projector to build objects with incredibly fine detail.

One highlight of [Junior]’s project is the development of low-cost resins. Normally, light curing resins are extremely expensive, but [Junior] is actively trying to get the price of resin down to $150 USD per kilogram. A quick back-of-the-wolfram calculation tells us you should be able to print about 7-800 cubic centimeters with a kilogram of resin. It’s much more expensive than plastic filament used in other 3D printers, but that’s the price you pay for quality.

There’s a very popular Indiegogo campaign that is trying to raise money to mass produce the resin and some components of this kit. We’re not impressed with the rewards for this campaign – $59 for a .PDF description of the printer without any dimensions, $159 for a BOM, dimensions and the formula to make your own resin, and $400 for the closed-source software [Junior] devleoped – but hopefully this Indiegogo gets cheap resin out onto the market. There’s a short FAQ about this printer, so we’ll leave our readers to tactfully discuss the merits of this printer in the comments below.

You can check out the process of printing a remarkably detailed alien skull in the video after the break.

Continue reading “3D Printer With Insane Accuracy Uses A DLP Projector”