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

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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.

It's over a year now and we made a lot of progress in 3D DLP printing, check out our new printer at ATUM3D!

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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Hippo_CZ13 days ago

Great project and in my opinion SLA printing is the future. Do you think that something like Acer X110P could work (2700 ANSI/800x600)? How the lower resolution will effect the printing process? Lower resolution = lower details + lower quality? Thanks in advance

TristramBudel (author)  Hippo_CZ12 days ago

I think the Acer X110P is a viable option, the lower resolution will result in a smaller build area. So if you set up your printer at 100microns x,y you will have a build area of 80x60mm, at 50 microns this will be 40x30mm x,y.

How were you able to get your projector to focus? Unless it is a short throw projector, most cannot project a clear image from that short of distance?

I am using a Mitsubishi XD221U, and in order for it to focus on a wall, it must be about three feet away from the wall.

maxtellar1 month ago

I have seen a few people already trying (I am going to try it as well hopefully soon) a top down design when resin layer flows on top of salted water. Most of the resins are non-polar fluids, so they don't mix with highly polar salty water. Probably other polar - and non reacting with resins - fluids would do as well.
That way the only major flaw of top town design (huge amount of resin needed) is eliminated. And I don't really see any major pluses of bottom up - go for simplicity!

TristramBudel (author)  maxtellar1 month ago

Ok, I'm not putting you off here. Top down printing is awesome. But just for your consideration:

Well not only, I found top down printing over all a bit more difficult. Not every resin accepts the saltwater float method. But our main problem was the surface of the resin. Most resins are quite viscous, so every time you move you need to wait quit long for the resin surface to level out. Also your layer thickness is dependent on how well you control your liquid surface.
On top of that the large container does make a large mess every time you want to change resin or clean out the solids that can be created during printing.

Bottom up printing does have the VAT complexity. But we managed to fully overcome this.

All in all, just sharing my learnings, I hope this helps and helps you anticipate any future difficulty. If you have any questions regarding top down or bottom up printing please feel free to message me.

Thanks for pointing out other issues of top-down projection!

I plan to overcome the top surface leveling with these means:

- warm up the resin slightly to lower its viscosity,

- aim for continuous printing (similar to what does) and with top down it is a bit easier than with bottom up, as you don't need an Oxygen permeable bottom of the VAT. When printing in continuous mode you don't go down-up-down with platform, so you don't disturb the top surface that much - and you go much faster ;-)

- if needed use a wiper of some kind. I also think about either an acoustic wave or a side edge air blower to clear the surface.

Of course this is just a conceptual analysis, that needs to be verified in practice - which I hope will happen soon!

Very inspiring Tristram! Because of your post to Instructables, I am well on my way with my version. Just want to say thanks for the inspiration! I've been at it since last June. I'll add a picture when done. I probably have 1 or 2 more weekends.

巧文曾2 months ago


DannyR43 months ago

If you are in the Netherlands, you have missed FunToDo resins. We have no VOC's in our resins. We have various blends: Castable, Industrial and Standard. starts at €45,- p/kg. We have distributors all over the world where you can order at local shipping costs and no import duties.

CB.jpgFTD Dragon Logo .jpgIB.jpgSB.jpg
jaehwa.han3 months ago

is it needed to replace lamp of projector with uv lamp? Or that Acer projector has the uv lamp in it?

phys125 months ago

Congratulation on the project.

It might be a non-sense question but why dlp printers move up and down is there any reason ? Anyone can answer, i would be glad

Also did you finish V.2.

Thank you

fenix910 phys123 months ago

because the layers of solidified material are deing added at the bottom of the resin bucket, since that's the place where the light hits the resin and solidifies it.

Great project!!! There's actually a TED Talk regarding this procces:

smartmiltoys4 months ago

I think DLP 3D printers are becoming cheaper (also the assembled ones), I hope
more and more companies will jump in to develop more resins/materials
and make these wonderful techniques available to everyone.

TimSwift5 months ago
TristramBudel (author)  TimSwift5 months ago
I believe so, nice bargain
dandrews11386 months ago

Is there a single list somewhere of all the materials needed? I found a lot of sub-lists, but not one comprehensive list of all materials.

The rapid prototyping industry uses this technology, FDM and SLA for master pattern when building a mold for plastic injection.
Brecher Prototyping helps people & companies innovate, grow and bring new ideas to market.

Hi ,anybody know where to download firmware for Ramps1.4 board,I want DIY a DLP-SLA 3D Printer

First off, your instructable is great! I love this concept. I wonder if you have any information on doing this using an LCD instead of DLP?

I want to downsize this for a smaller build platform and reduce costs from the DLP and overall mass of the printer as well. Pretty much I'd like an iBox Nano that isn't quite so nano. Any thoughts or useful links? I tried to find an existing instructable but came up empty.

en2oh8 months ago

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 en2oh8 months ago

en2oh8 months ago

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?

en2oh8 months ago

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?

madaeon8 months 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

Viction10 months ago
are those kits still available?
MichaelD3310 months ago

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

archy58711 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??

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

Has anyone else found better projector options to use?

clai41 year 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!

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


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.
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.

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!
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