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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for those interested, thin sheet borosilicate is available from this source in the USA at a reasonable price per sheet but apart from the expansion coefficient and the strength, I don't think that the transmission of crown glass is much worse than borosilicate (but much cheaper). To really make a difference, you need to go Quartz glass (IMO, anyway)

en2oh en2ohyesterday


just a follow up to my question about Sylgaard print adheasive due to capillary action between the slice and the silicone layer. Since you use a 0.7mm borosilicate window, I wonder if the flexibility of this sheet allows the build plate to pull the print off the window. Did you carry this design forward into your Atum 3D printer?


great instructable I am not sure how you deal with adheason of the semi cured slice onto the Sylgaard? In some systems, a tilt mechanism is used but I don't think you are using anything beyond brute force to lift the build platform off the exposure window. Am I missing something?

madaeon6 days ago

Hi, if you want to support a Maker who decided to make this his job, have a look at LumiPocket, an affordable, easy to use portable 3d Dlp printer!


hello !!!it needs only clean ethanol and some time in the sun and then you can grab with bare hands the piece you print without causing no harm to ourselves? please if anyone knows that reply as fast as you can

Viction1 month ago
are those kits still available?
MichaelD331 month ago

Hmm, could you use 20x20mm aluminum extrusions? but just give the printer more support?

archy5873 months ago

Hey this is a really awesome project. I have several reprap style printers that produce ok prints. Definitely not possible to get the quality out of them that is possible here. I knew this when I started 3d printing, but I assumed the FDM style was the only open source style of 3d printing, that was not protected by IP or patents.

Im wondering, if you tried to build your own SLA printer and sell it, or sell parts that you printed using SLA technology, do you think you would run into some trouble from any companies owning patents to this technology??

Gnathion20003 months ago

I would like to find a projector that will allow a 12x12cm build envelope at 50 micron accuracy. Any suggestions?

Gnathion20003 months ago

Has anyone else found better projector options to use?

clai43 months ago

Hi ,anybody know where to download firmware for Ramps1.4 board,I want DIY a DLP-SLA 3D Printer (I am Chinese ,My English is very poor ,thanks everybody,thanks)


dbeaven11 year 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!
bencini dbeaven13 months ago

hi i'm going to build the printer like the one here do you have any advice for me? have you made lot of modification from this instructables ?
have you put a tilting mechanism on the printer? if yes how? do you have some photos? thx


dbeaven1 bencini3 months ago
I made a blog on my build. You can see it here:

I used a sliding mechanism instead of tilting. This works very well. I also increased the build height to 14 inches.
billytea dbeaven111 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 billytea8 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)  dbeaven11 year 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!
Drake4113 months ago

I love that DIY heat sink. Nice.

dgojanov4 months ago

yes, i would like to order your kit.

my email adress is

taskman6 months ago

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

gluppinator8 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.

sousa gluppinator6 months ago

Use a Raspberry PI.

raranjbar8 months ago

Can i use this projector???

ACER X1163

UHP lamp

gefatter8 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!

sambalbij10 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)  sambalbij10 months ago
You can make it 10x19cm without losing detail
Ugifer11 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)  Ugifer10 months ago
Thanks, that is a very helpful link.
astral_mage Ugifer10 months ago
dude try here. let the chinese do the dirty / clean work 4 u!!!
rednael10 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)  rednael10 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_mage10 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_mage10 months ago
True, that's why I made my own. Plus it was convenient. Thanks for commenting
astral_mage10 months ago
try 4 yr alumuin parts.
theres the link . go there.
TristramBudel (author)  astral_mage10 months ago
wally711 year 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)  wally7110 months ago
Nice, thanks ill send them a mail
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