Hello World (skip the first two pages to go directly to the build)
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.
There are some pretty nice software packages out there. In the end we decided on Pacmanfan's software. His name is Steve Hernandez and he is a really cool guy.
Install his firmware on the arduino
And his software on your Windows
And you are now good to go.
Here you will find all the info you will need as well as the firmware and software:
I would like to thank every body for helping out.
I would like to thank the world and google for giving out all this information for free, the web community is awsome.
I would like to thank Chanil Budel for all the designs and endless CAD hours.
I would like to thank Steve Hernandez for the software.
I would like to thank Asahi Chemicals, Dow Corning and Dupond for helping out with the glass and coatings
I would like to thank the guys from Phillips to lend me access to some of their cool materials.
And I would like to thank my girlfriend for letting us turn the living room into a workshop for months, babe you are awsome too!!
I have entered this instructable for the Epilog contest because we could really user a laser engraver. We would make cool signs and labels, cut acrylics, do laser folding, make better parts out of plastic sheet, upgrade our 3D printer, make cookie cutters. The options are simply endless. And of course we would make endless amounts of Instructables!
Please vote for us!
I decided to put in a small FAQ since there are some questions that keep on returing
How much did the printer cost?
About 1750 euro's in materials.
How about a BOM?
Sorry no Bill Of Materials for this project. That is because for example I got the profiles a long time ago from a colleague of mine. No idea how much these cost so we made an estimate in the total cost. Same goes for the chip board, this came from the packaging material from our lathe. The glass windows I got from a friend that works at Phillips research lab. Aluminium sheet, we had some from an old project and got some more from a friend. Next to that we messed up a few times and used quite a bit more material than would be strictly necessary. On top of that the printer is not done yet, functional yes, perfect not yet. So the best I can do for you for now is estimate how much this build would cost.
How long did it take you to build it?
Somewhere between 1000 and 1500 hrs.
How much did the resin cost?
Check spot A materials for the latest prices, we spend about 90 euro's/L including shipping and handling.
I ordered 1 liter of maker juice, I got a really nice discount but normally it would be 45usd plus shipping and handling.
Is the project finished?
Nope not by far, we will keep on going until we have a product that is ready for every day home use.
Where can I stay up to date of all progress?
For now we use facebook as our central hub.
Where are the movies of the printer in action, I have been waiting for a week now?
I am working on it, I am working on it. I am really sorry to keep you all waiting. I am working on it. Actually I have been working on new coatings for the basin to later write an instructable about. This is a lot of trial and error and puts the printer out of commision for serious printing. So far I have tested a spray on PTFE coating (didn't work very nice), a PTFE laminate (awesome but does come of rather quickly and is a pain to apply), two types of silicone (both cool but after 3builds it sticks to the resin) and some other things.
I hope to be able to post a movie some where next week (today is 21-July-2013).
How skilled do I need to be to build this?
On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being you have trouble replacing a light bulb, 10 being you have sent something in to space. I would say 8.
if you read this Instructable very carefully maybe a skill level 7.
My first timelapse of a printing session.
Once I have managed to make a nicer video I will put it on the first page.
We spend a long time making up our minds, developing the printer to the next level. It took us years to refine and move on to the next step.
There was blood, tears, pain... We decided to see if we could make a business out of the 3D printer.
In April 2016, we went from a kitchen table invention that had the basic functionality to a full out company. We have spend a lot of time and effort optimizing the machine, updating the designs, software and firmware. Very cool, we have now reached a point where we have a professional product and are ready to start production. Right now we are even working on the financial backing to get this thing flying.
Check out Atum3D
May 2016, We are letting opensource go. I know this is painfull, trust me I feel your pain. But we had to take some measures. There are even some Chinese companies that have commercialized our instructables designs even though this is against the licence. We love the open source community, we love all the students that are building their own DLP system, we don't like Chinese manufacturers missusing our content.
Everything we have placed online we will leave online, but this hurts a bit.
I promise that if you are a student or hobbist and you contact me, I will be more than happy to help you out.
July 2016, new directions
We are now aiming for the professional market, we want to do better, we want to make more perfect and even better products. We have developed the technology to a point where it is very easy to supply a small business with components produced on our printers. This is the direction we want to persue.
Nov 2016, we presented ourselves on the FormNext in germany the worlds largest 3D printing event, atleast that is what the brocure says. We had a ton of interest and we are definately moving forward.
Feb 2017, Still moving forward.
We are now about to introduce the world to some engineering grade materials!