DIY high resolution 3D DLP printer (3D SLA printer)

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Picture of DIY high resolution 3D DLP printer (3D SLA printer)
Hello World (skip the first two pages to go directly to the build)
Please like my brand new facebook page to stay up to date of my new projects and progress on the 3D printer.
We are now selling Beta tester Kits, PM message me for details!

I have to admit that I have not been active on Instructables for quite a while now, this because we (yes it is we now :D) have been busy developing a 3D printer. A 3D dlp printer to be exact, an open source high resolution 3D DLP printer to be even more exact.
We have now finished version 1.0 and now it is time to share our learnings with the rest of the world. 

Why did we work on a 3D printer?
Well as you all know the world needs more 3D printers, more platforms for creation, more freedom. More possible ways to show your epic awesomeness in creation. And most of all the freedom to design and fabricate exactly what you need, when you need it without any barriers. In short 3D printers are awesome, you can never have enough 3D printers.

Why did we work on a 3D Direct Light Processing printer (DLP)?
3D printers come in many shapes, sizes and varieties. There is Fused Deposition Modelling, FDM for short this is the category the RepRap community largely falls in to. Your Makerbots and Ultimakers that use a heated nozzle through which a filament is heated and deposited on the desired location. There are various powder bed 3D print techniques, where the powder particles are selectively fused together with a laser or glued together with a printed adhesive. And there is a variety of photo lithography 3D printing methods.
In lithography light is used to cure a resin to become a solid, the nice thing with this process is that where the light does not shine on the resin it stays liquid.

We found that there are two main DIY 3D printer routes out there that are easily accessible, FDM and photo lithography.
When googleing the WWW we found that there are absolute tons and tons of FDM 3D printers out there all working on roughly the same principles all producing roughly the same results.

Next to that stereo photo lithography has until now only been made really accessible to the community only by one guy, Michael Joyce from the B9 Creator. This is an awesome achievement! For us this also means that the world needs more and different kinds of these projects to become really open source. Photo lithography is an very precise method of manufacturing, in the past feature sizes of 100nm where obtained. No idea how big this is in inches (sorry people from the USA) but I estimate that if you squeeze your fingers together the space between your fingers is slightly less than 100nm.
In other words amazingly small feature size. We would love to make very accurate 3d prints.
So we based our choice of what kind of printer to explore on the possible feature size, accessibility of materials, ease of manufacture and the fact that a relative few have walked this path before us.
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taskman10 days ago

Wow the guys in China have the same desk and printed parts :) Someone should probably talk to them about it

gluppinator2 months ago

I'll be building this soon, but I'm wondering if there's a way to create a host-free mechanism of this? Many FDM printers can be hosted by an LCD module with an SD card in it. I would love to be able to do this, because I'm building mine for my school, and we don't have an excess of computers available, but it would be simple to use a SD card.

Use a Raspberry PI.

raranjbar1 month ago

Can i use this projector???

ACER X1163

UHP lamp

gefatter2 months ago


What was your final conclusion for the material of the buildplate (the upper one) for Spot-A materials? I have tryed Aluminium and glass, but none of both stick good enough. With Makerjuice Material Aluminum is good!

dbeaven16 months ago
I just finished my 3D DLP Printer. I've always wanted to make one, but this DIY article you made got me inspired to actually do it. Thanks! I used a linear actuator from ebay for my Z axis with a Nema 23. Two threaded rods with little Nema 17 steppers for my Y axis to slide before rise. Arduino Mega and Ramps 1.4. An a whole bunch of aluminum 1" T-slot from 20/20. I printed the chess rook at 25% yesterday and it came out great! First print! Second print, my glass broke on the Z axis, need to find another material that can handle the suction... But I'm on my way.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this write up - it's been VERY helpful!
billytea dbeaven15 months ago
That s a very accomplished imitation you've made!
Have you added a y axis to enlarge the print footprint with 2 separate projections, or as your version of the "tilt and rise" approach to releasing between layers ?
A lot of difficulty seems to be associated with getting the resin to stick on the top "base plate" and release on the bottom "build plate".
Has anyone tried using an ultrasonic cleaning bath transducer on the build glass, and a hermetically profiled suction print at the top "base" ?

Excellent work, and I want to try one myself.
gefatter billytea2 months ago

did someone tryed this idea ? i had this idea too to minimize the suction. but there is not so much to find about in the net. suction + ultrasonic doesnt give much answers

TristramBudel (author)  dbeaven16 months ago
Awesome, congradulations on your build. Can I ask you for some pics of your build and your printed projects to put on our page. I would love to show of to the world that this is maybe not the easiest but definately a doable build.
Sure - not a problem. I only have the one build, once I get my anodized aluminum build plate on, I'll be making more. Almost 100% positive it'll stick better then the cheap picture glass im using now.

Thanks Again!
sambalbij4 months ago
Great project! I notice 10 x 10 cms is not really a lot. How large can you make the print size without losing detail?
TristramBudel (author)  sambalbij4 months ago
You can make it 10x19cm without losing detail
Ugifer5 months ago
This is a great build but if you are really getting any significant UV from you lamp and want to preserve it then borosilicate will not help much - other than being thin. The absorbance of 0.7mm borosilicate to UV can be seen here:
Nothing much below 350nm will get through.

Fused silica/quartz is your material of choice for UV transmission, although how you get hold of large pieces I'm not sure. You can get a 100mm diameter circle at 0.5mm here: but they only price them in multiples of 5 and there's no price for the larger ones.

When I win the lottery and don't need to spend my time going to work, this will be one of the first projects I build! It's fabulous!

TristramBudel (author)  Ugifer4 months ago
Thanks, that is a very helpful link.
dude try here. let the chinese do the dirty / clean work 4 u!!!
rednael4 months ago
Hi TristramBudel,
Excellent project. What worry me most in this whole setup is the projector!
I think with this nature of setup i.e. light source coming from a spot not far away from base plate and the base plate being 0.7mm thick makes light bend a little bit and due to this the model created is never 100% accurate. This accuracy deviation increases if the projector focus is set to be more close to base plate or if the vat / model area is scaled up .
I think if a laser is setup to work perpendicular to base plate being controlled in motion through X and Y axis resolves this issue. But build time may be then the problem as literally it would be curing the resin a pixel at a time.
What do you think?
TristramBudel (author)  rednael4 months ago
Yes good point, This was one of our worries too. But we did some extensive testing when we got our beamer. To our feeling now, we think it is acceptable. If you set it up right you can in fact get a deviation of about plus minus 0.1mm on a 100mm build.
As you said, lasers on an x,y axis are too slow.
astral_mage4 months ago
lab quality glass plates are great 4 making your own mirrors with. cause thier more true than window glass is.
TristramBudel (author)  astral_mage4 months ago
True, that's why I made my own. Plus it was convenient. Thanks for commenting
astral_mage4 months ago
try 4 yr alumuin parts.
theres the link . go there.
TristramBudel (author)  astral_mage4 months ago
wally716 months ago
hello tristram
thank you verry much for this informations. it is verry interresting:-)
i reed you are looking for mirrors.
i dont now you have found an adress for mirrors. look at this side
you can also change the language

there you can order your mirrors in a lot of dimensions and cost not so much.

TristramBudel (author)  wally714 months ago
Nice, thanks ill send them a mail
callen199 months ago
Does the mirror HAVE to be 150x150mm? What about modding the projector slightly to use a telescope diagonal mirror or even an overhead projector head? Admittedly, the telescope diagonal mirror would be a better choice but, potentially, cost prohibitive. However, if you use something like that you may be able to change the focal length slightly and create an insert for your projector.

It's an idea.

Thanks for posting. This was a great post.
here yr source 4 them.
TristramBudel (author)  callen199 months ago
No it can be a bit smaller. We explicitely chose not to madd the beamer so we have limited ourselfes to the placement of the beamer. I guess if you place the mirror very close to the beamer you can get away with a mirror that is a quarter of the size. But this will make your 3D printer a lot taller.
kwilliams388 months ago
I have a couple of suggestions (one is mirror related).
DLP and older rear projection televisions have a surface reflective mirror that the images are reflected from. My observations are that they are usually attached to a foam board. While I have not attempted to cut one of these it appears to be a possible source for the reflective mirror.
The other question or recommendation I have is related to the amount of UV being projected. I have read numerous instances of people using 3000 lumen projectors but they always tend to be keeping the color wheel intact. Has anyone measured to see if the color wheel reduces the UV being transmitted. In some DLP projects where lower lumen projectors are used (1500 or less) I have read the color wheel glass needed to be broken off.
As I start preparations to make a DLP based unit I started to list some of the questions that I need to answer to identify the best projector and mirror fit.
TristramBudel (author)  kwilliams388 months ago
That could be a good option for the mirror. Something I recently learned is that the US has different TV's than we do here in europe. I don't think the projector style TV ever got a hold here.
I still have not done any quantitative measurements on the light output, its on my list.
try they can be a life saver tho.
I recently picked up a couple of dead dlp tv's from salvage and was about to get two very large very nice front surface mirrors out of them for basically nothing. I set some aside hoping to use it later for a printer build, but normally I just cut the mirrors into 1 inch by 10 inch rectangles to make kaleidoscopes with. I have had no issues cutting the glass with a standard stained glad cutting wheel and breaking pliers. The only caveat I would add is that I have been cutting glass like that for years so what seems easy to me, may be hard for the first timer. A nice flat supporting surface and even moderate pressure and a lubricating cutter along with a stained glass breaking pliers. Watch the roadsides. A lot of people are throwing out their dead bulb based dlps as they start to age or can't repair them.
astral_mage4 months ago
try here 4 that bottom peice that u need.
drac52906 months ago
the "aluminum profiles" you mention, what exactly are they called and where did you get yours from, i am having great difficulty finding them

here the link 4 them, have fun.
TristramBudel (author)  drac52905 months ago
Soon you will be able to order them from us, we are setting up shop right now.
astral_mage4 months ago
true kids will copy wat the parent do.
astral_mage4 months ago
truie 240 euros is a bit too expensive but wi the recycling pump set up. uill be able to keep the resin fiuld an moving (mostly at night) when power is cheapest.
taskman5 months ago
What will happen if you put the projector on an X/Y arm like the Makerbot Replicator and then display the image until the resin hardens, go black, move to the next spot, display the rest of the part, move to the next spot and so on and so on. Will that work? I understand you will have to find a way to have the arm movements seperate from the vat so that the fluid never moves. I am wondering if you will then have lines between the halfs or quarters that you created using each projection. Maybe the parts will not even fit together. Maybe you need to overlap and since the resin is already hard in one spot it won't matter if you overlap an image, will it?
zcapitani5 months ago
I'am interested to build this 3D DLP and I should want to know if it is possible to use this electronics megatronicsv2.pdf as replacement for
Ramps 1.4 basic kit.

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