The light-based 3D printing methods of Stereolithography (SL) and digital light processing (DLP) — the former uses a laser, the latter a projector — cure liquid resin layer by layer. And both are beginning to appear more and more frequently amidst the orgy of FDM / FFF 3D printers that have emerged since the liberation of the FDM patent that spurred the RepRap project. Gigaom speculates that 2014 could be the year of the light based 3D printer. While this author doesn’t believe that SL and DLP will experience the boom FDM / FFF did, it is a pertinent observation and one under-pinned by the emergence of Uncia.
The Uncia 3D printer crowd funding campaign, currently on Indiegogo, is colourful and laden with informative images (like someone has an addiction to a high resolution camera in fact!). But let’s reduce that wonderfully myriad information down to the printer’s specifications first, for those who are in a hurry:
- Footprint: 310 x 210 x 670 mm (12.20 x 8.27 x 26.38 in)
- Speed: 5-10 seconds per Layer
- Build Volume: 102x77x180 mm (4.02x 3.03×7.09 in)
- Z-Motor resolution: 100 microns (0.004 in)
- Typical layer height: 100 microns (0.004 in)
- Minimal Feature Size / XY-resolution: 100 microns within a 102x77x180 mm build area (Makers could achieve 50 microns when they adjust the projector, even the Z axis can be adjusted, please notice that is not our official initial set.)
So, while I do not believe they will proliferate, DLP 3D printers are certainly gaining traction at the entry-level end of the 3D printing industry. Other recent announcements in this vein include the new Solidator and the NOVA DLP printer. Now China’s QSQM Corporation is joining the growing crowd seeking to bring DLP technology to a wider market.
The company produces UV resins for their printer available in a range of colours – yellow, red, green, blue, gray and more. According to the company, the Pl-1 resin has been designed to have a high forming speed, and is capable of creating high precision transparent parts. Pl-1 is also suitable for a post spraying painting processing, and has been created to have a good chemical and physical stability. The company’s PL- 2 resin reportedly has good strength and toughness, which is suitable for processing the products used for practical purposes.