Introduction: The LiteFab - the Affordable and Rugged DLP Printer for Home

About: Just a slightly crazy engineer that can't stop building machines! Feel free to send me a message for custom made parts or help on instructables, or even general advice, always willing to help.


This is a work in progress and subject to change. Additionally, I'm only human, so no doubt I have missed something in this long instructable. Thank you for your understanding.

*Helping Hand*
If you need help modifying a file or would like me to add a modification, let me know! I will do my best when I have free time to fulfill any requests made. If a section isnt clear, let me know! I will do my best to reword parts to help out in explaining the instructions for assembly. Be patient though, as I tend to be a busy body. :)


3D printing is all the rage these days. There is a huge variety of FDM (Fused deposition modeling) printers to choose from, and found just about anywhere! But it also has its limitations, the main one being accuracy. This is where resin based printing comes in.

Resin based printing's main advantage is accuracy. FDM is limited by nozzle size, while Resin is limited only by how much you can focus a UV laser/light source. Thus, you can attain significantly higher resolutions.


There are two main types of printing with Resin.
The first is SLA, which stands for Stereolithography. This method uses a laser which is focused to a point, and moved around the build area, very similar to how a FDM printer moves a nozzle around the build area to create a part. This is the technology that the popular FormLabs uses in its machines.
The second is DLP, which stands for Digital Light Processing. This method uses a single light source and an array of extremely small mirrors. The mirrors are on the size of µm in size, and is adjustable to either reflect light towards or away from a lens assembly, which increases the displayed picture. Short story, its a projector (Note there are non-DLP type projectors, that use LED screens to selectively block light. These type of projectors do NOT work for resin printing, as the LED screen filters a huge amount of the UV light needed for curing the resin).

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, but lets just go over one (other wise I might end up rambling on forever!). The advantage to DLP print is cost! Its much cheaper then SLA, but limited by the projector resolution.


Some of the features of this design:
-Quick removable vat
-FlexVat design means no secondary action needed for peeling parts off vat. For example, the Form1 pulls the vat down on one side to peel parts off the vat. The FEP film used in a flexvat, being flexible, peels as it flexes. This film also has a much longer lifetime then standard vats, which means less often replacement of the vat.
-Quick removable bed
-Adaptable for use with any projector
-Large vat allows for a large build area
-Nice open area for easy access to components, for easier maintenance and modification
-Opensource! All the design files are provided. (I did my best to keep them updated, but may have missed some updates)


I know this is the moment most of you have been waiting for, so here it is. The cost of this build is roughly 400-500$ (NOT including projector), depending on what materials you use and extras you add. The reason I did not include the cost of the projector is because there are a TON of choices to pick from, anywhere from a cheap used one off Ebay of ~50$ to a brand new top of the line one that could run you 1000$+. Some projectors need modification, some dont. A good website to look at is . I used the Acer h6510bd, which current sells for ~550$. It will work pretty well right out of the box, with no modification needed (but can be improved with modification, if wanted).

If you're still reading after seeing the cost, looks like your pretty serious! In that case, lets get started on what tools and materials you need!

Step 1: Tool and Materials - What You're Gonna Need

Some of the parts listed here are going to require some tools that not everyone will have access to. I did however include all of the source files, so I don't doubt you hackers out there will find a way to make do!

Its important to note that there are TONS of ways to make a machine like this. A lot of the parts I designed because that's what I had laying around. As such, some of you may benefit from making modifications to parts to better work for what you have laying about.

I tried my best to capture everything, but I may have missed a few items. I will do my best to clean up the list below, and just let me know if I missed something and I will try to get it added.


Main Tools:
-CNC router
-3D printer
-Router table/Hand Router helpful, CNC router will substitute.
-OPTIONAL - Brake Press

Common Tools:
-Allen wrenches
-Multimeter (Suggested)
-Countersunk Drill Bit


So, what are you gonna need to make this DLP? Turns out, quite alot....
(Appendix C contains a downloadable spreadsheet with some links. The basic BOM is outlined here)

-Plywood, or a material of your choice. I used 1/2" Birch Plywood, then stained it to give it a nice look. About 4'x4' needed
-3/4" Hardwood. I used a 18"x18" Aspen board from Home Depot.
-Various 3D printed parts, roughly 1kg of plastic needed, depending on infill used.
-1" T-Slot Aluminum extrusions
__-11" or longer - QTY:4
__-16 3/4" - QTY:2
-UV blocking Acrylic if you want windows/viewing ports. Most acrylic does a fair job blocking UV light, I used red acrylic from Delvie's Plastics for my windows.
-Wood screws - At least 1" long - QTY: roughly 20
-Wood screws - 1/2" long - QTY: roughly 15
-M5x30 Bolts - QTY: 28
-M5 Nuts - QTY: 28
-M5 T-nuts for 1" extrusions - QTY: 28
-M5 Thumb screws - QTY: 4
-M3x45 Bolts - QTY: 4
-M3 Nuts - QTY: 4

-Linear Rail with motor. I used Openbuilds C-Beam, since its nice and sturdy. Holes on Frame are spaced 60mm apart, if you intend to use a different rail.
-Bed Brackets (3D printed or Router/Bend)
-Aluminum Plate (1/4", 4"x4")
-OPTIONAL - Plate Adapter for Router/Bend ver. of Bracket
-OPTIONAL - 3D printed adapter bracket for NEMA17 motor
-T-nuts for 20mm T-slot, for use in mounting Linear rail - QTY: 6
-M5x16 - QTY: 6

-Acrylic sheet (1/4", ~12"x24") (Got mine from Delvie's Plastics because its cheap when ordering in bulk)
-Acrylic Glue/Cement
-FEP Film (~12"x12")
-Silicon Gasket (~12"x2" Minimum)
-3D printed riser
-Vat Slide plate (CNC router, suggest using HDPE, ~12"x12" but just about anything works)
-M3 Nuts - QTY: 35
-M3x45 Bolts - QTY: 16
-M3x20 Bolts - QTY: 20
-Wood screws - Less then 1" long

-Projector of your choice. I used Acer h6510bd, but no reason a different one cant be used.

*Remember is a great source of information on all the different kinds of projectors

-Arduino Nano
-Stepper Driver
-80mmx80mm Fans - QTY:2 (I used P/N U80T12MUAA7-57, but just about anything works)
-Mini Breadboard - QTY:2
-Wire Jumpers for Breadboard
-Breadboard Headers and Connectors
-12V power supply, and mating jack
-Stepper Motor (Can be purchased with the Rail mentioned in the Bed section at Openbuilds, or use a smaller NEMA17 motor off Amazon)
-Various Cables for Projector
-Various 3D printed parts

-Various 3D printed parts for mounting windows
-Hinges for Door and Roof
-Endstop for easier homing

Step 2: The Frame - Files for Cutting and 3D Printed Parts

Below are the DXFs for the frame components. They are each separated into different files for each piece.

1/2" Plywood:
x1 - Back.dxf
x1 - Base.dxf
x1 - Bottom.dxf
x1 - Front_Brace.dxf
x1 - Side_Rail.dxf
x1 - Side_Window.dxf
Note the Side_Window and Back have vectors for cutting out windows. These are purely optional.

3/4" Aspen:
x1 - Vat_Plate.dxf
This part you will need to use either a table router or hand router with a slot cutting bit in it (1/4"). You will need to do this before assembling the frame.

3D printed files:
x7 - Corner_Brace.stl
x1 - Corner_Brace_Projector.stl
x1 - Projector_Fan_Mount.stl

Step 3: The Frame - Lets Crank Out Those 3D Printed Parts First.

Parts printed with at least 20% infill, 3 perimeters, but you can use just about any settings you want and they should work great.

Projector_Fan_Mount.stl is the only one that will need support material.

Make sure your printer is properly calibrated, or some of the tolerances may turn out too tight! The M5 holes are actually .25mm tolerance, so you will probably end up drilling these holes out. This is to ensure that they fit very snugly when bolting to the frame.

Step 4: The Frame - the CNC Router/Laser Cut Pieces

With the files attached in step 2, cut out the parts listed in the thickness specified. I used Birch Plywood sheets for my buddy and I's build, but nearly any material will work.

After cutting, go ahead and do any finishing that you might want. I stained mine to give it a nice finished look.

If you decide to use a laser cutter, you will probably need to use thinner material. As such, you will want to reduce the length of the tabs from 1/2" to the thickness of the material you are using. (If necessary, I can provide the modified files to a set thickness. I suggest not going below 1/4").

For the Vat Plate you will need to add a 1/4" Slot in the large U shaped opening. This is used to slide the vat in and secure it to the machine. In order to do this you will need a slot cutting bit, like this, and a hand or table router. You can also use your CNC router if you lock the motors and set the bit height correctly, and carefully do it by hand.

Step 5: The Frame - Assembling the Big Pieces

One of the biggest tasks is getting all the big pieces together.

First off, secure the the 3D printed pieces as shown to the Bottom piece. This includes 3 of the Corner_Brackets and the 1 Corner_Bracket_Projector, and lastly the Projector_Fan_Mount part. The 3 Corner_Brackets will use 3x M5x 30mm bolts and Nuts each, the Corner_Bracket_Projector 2x bolts/nuts, and the fan 2x bolt/nuts. Finish it off by bolting the fan with its fan shield onto the Projector_Fan_Mount with 4x M3x45 bolts and M3 Nuts.

For the large pieces, I suggest starting off with the back piece. Insert the Vat_Plate first, followed by the two side pieces in conjunction with the Front_Brace. Lastly, insert the Bottom piece. Once all the pieces are fitted together, use wood screws between tabs to secure each piece together. Lastly, use 2 wood screws to secure the Vat_Plate to the Front_Brace.

Before moving on, go ahead and drill out the 4 holes in the Vat_Plate. I used a 4.5mm drill bit, for #10 Thumb screws. This makes sure you can thread the wood using the thumb screws. These screws will ensure that your vat stays secured in the machine during printing.


Next, secure 4 of the Corner_Brackets to the Base using the same bolts/nuts used above (3 per piece, 12 total). Insert the 1/4" bolts that came with the 1" T-Nuts into the 3D printed parts as shown. You can now slide the 12" Aluminum extrusions into the corner brackets. Loosely tighten each bolt so that the extrusions dont fall out, but not so tight so you cant flex them a little. Lastly, add two extra T-Nuts on the inside on each side, as shown. These will later be used to bolt the 16 3/4" extrusions to the machine.

This next part is a bit tricky. Add 1 extra T-Nut to each inside slot of the aluminum extrusions, as shown. Next, you will have to line up the 4 extrusions with the Corner_Brackets on the Bottom piece, and drop your 'box' on top of them. Once you do this, slide up the extra T-Nuts into the Corner_Bracket, and secure each using one of the 1/4" bolts that came with them. Its suggested you lay the frame on its side to easily slide and align the T-Nuts. Flip the frame as you go for easy access to each T-Nut.

Tighten all the bolts as necessary.


Finally! Done with the Frame part. Take a moment to bask in the progress you've made, then onto the next step!

Step 6: The Vat - Files for CNC Routing/3D Printing

Files for Vat.

Acrylic 1/4":
-All_Parts.dxf (Fits on a 12"x20" sheet)
Parts for CNC router. Highlighted in the picture is where you would cut a 1/8" deep pocket. This lets you slot the Vat walls into them, making it ALOT easier to glue. If you are using a laser cutter, will just have to ignore this pocket and glue the walls a bit differently....See Appendix D

If you use 1/2" material, this dxf has lines for pockets to cut out 1/4" deep, to create flanges on the side to slide in the slot on the machine. Alternately, you can use 1/4" thick material, and just ignore the extra lines. You will need to print the 3D_Riser_Tall.stl instead of the standard one, which raises the 3D riser height by 1/4".

Silicon Gasket:
This is a pattern for getting the holes spaced correctly on the silicon. I used two waste pieces, like MDF, and clamped the silicon between them so that I could drill through it easily on a CNC router. If you use a laser cutter, you should be able to slice right through the silicone no problem.

FEP Film:
Pattern for holes on film, same comments as above for gasket.

3D printed:
(OR) -3D_Riser_Tall.stl

Step 7: The Vat - Gluing the Pieces and Assembly

The Acrylic cement can take awhile to set, so we are going to start with gluing pieces together.


First, gather the 4 walls and the vat part with the channel cut into it. Do a quick fit-up, and make sure the walls fit snugly in the channel as shown. After confirming they do, remove the walls from the channel. Next, add some acrylic cement in the channel, all around. Note that you don't have to fill the channel, even a small amount will work. Once you have put cement all around, insert the walls exactly like before, making sure they are pressed securely into to the channel. Finally, go ahead and add a nice heavy book or weight to the top, on top of all the walls, to make sure the walls stay firmly pressed into the channel while curing.

Once these parts are cured, you will need to add some cement one at a time to each corner, as shown in the picture. This will finish up sealing the walls to each other, and ensure you don't get any leaks in your vat.


Now that the part with all the acrylic cement is done, we can assemble the rest of the vat.

First, place several M3x20 bolts in the bottom piece as shown. These will help to locate all the parts correctly. Slide a section of silicon gasket on each side and trim as necessary. Remove the silicon, place the FEP film on, then put the gaskets back on. Lastly, add the top piece with the vat walls glued on, as shown. Add some M3 nuts to the bolts, and loosely tighten them to make sure the vat doesn't fall apart when picking it up.

Next, add M3x20 bolts + nuts every other hole as shown. You don't need much torque to tighten them, setting 1 on my Dewalt drill was more then enough to make sure the silicon was nice and tight between the film and the acrylic piece. Make sure the silicon joins up and seals at each corner, or you will get leaks. You should be able to tell easily through the acrylic whether you have a nice seal or not.


Now your vat is nice and sealed, and ready to hold liquid. But the FEP film flexes, and we need to tension it so that it doesn't bend when the weight of the resin is added.

First, use 4 screws to attach the 3D riser to the Vat_Base. You may need to use a few washers to ensure the screws dont poke through the 3D rsier. Next, use M3x45 bolts + nuts to attach assembled vat to Vat_Base. Make sure the bolts are oriented bottom to top as shown (Note vat is upside down in picture)! Loosely attach all the bolts needed. Next, you will want to tight each side, little by little, to keep them as even as possible, as you tension the FEP film. Its hard to say what the 'perfect' amount of tension is on the FEP film, but the best advice I can give that when you blow hard on the FEP film, you should get a nice hum out of it while blowing.

Don't worry too much about over-tightening, as the FEP film can take a lot of abuse before breaking. The main goal is to make sure its tightened enough that adding some resin won't be enough to cause the film to flex from the weight.


That's it for the vat! Go ahead and slide it into the Vat_Plate on the machine to make sure it fits right. It should fit nice and smoothly. If not, you will need to trim down the sides on the Vat_Base to make sure it slides in smoothly. Don't worry too much if its too loose, as the thumb screws you put in the Vat_Base earlier will ensure the Vat stays secured in the machine.


On to testing it to make sure everything is A-Okay.

Step 8: The Vat - Final Testing

Now that you have the Vat fully assembled, the first thing to do is test it. This is super super important, as it will tell you whether or not you have any cracks/leaks in your vat.

Its suggest that you use a pan or tupperware container that is larger then the vat. This will let you see clearly if any thing leaks out.

Once you have the vat and container, go ahead and fill your vat part way with water. Then place the vat in the container. Leave it for a minimum of 30minutes. If you dont see any water in the container, you're good! Your vat is holding water just fine, and should work great for holding resin. You can leave it longer if you like, as it should hold water indefinitely.

If your vat doesnt hold water, you will have to go back and either add some glue on your acrylic pieces, or make sure all the silicon gaskets are closing up any gaps. Use where the water comes out to locate where you might be lacking a seal.

Step 9: The Bed - Files for CNC Routing/3D Printing

The bed is fairly simple, but has alot of ways to make. On both my and buddy's machine, we used 12ga sheet metal and a brake press to get some nice bed brackets. Obviously, most people dont have the machines available needed to make these parts, so I have provided a 3D printable alternative. For those who do happen to have access to these machines, I also provided those files too.


CNC parts:
-Bed_Bracket.dxf x2
BedBracket_LH.pdf shows where to bend. Bend one bracket UP, one DOWN, to create two brackets for mounting the Bed to.

3D Printed parts:
This part bolts to the Bed_Bracket parts, and allows quick removal of the aluminum bed.
-NEMA 17 Motor Mount for C-Beam rail
Only if you are using C-Beam rail listed in BOM

Alternate 3D printed parts:
Suggested you print at a very high infill, to give it alot of stiffness. 60% and higher would be good. With this part, you dont need the Bed_Bracket_Adapter, as it is built into this one part.


There is a little bit more prep-work to do before moving on to the next step. On the 3D printed parts, you will want to add nylocks to each of spots for an M5 nut. The tolerance is fairly small, so they should be fairly snug. Pull them into the plastic by using a bolt and tightening it until its fully seated.

Next, need to prepare the aluminum plate. I suggest you print the 3D printed guide, attached here, to help center the holes. This is meant for a 4"x4" or 100mmx100mm plate. The holes should be either 4.2 or 4.5mm hole, so that you can tap it to M5.

Step 10: The Bed - Assembly and Mounting to Frame


In this step you will add both the bed and the rail to the machine.
(Note some pictures show a 250mm rail, some 500mm. Both mount the same)


Start with a fully assembled OpenBuilds C-beam (Or substitute rail). To do this you can refer to the OpenBuilds tutorial. The one substitute is if you would rather use a smaller NEMA 17 motor instead of buying the more expensive NEMA23 motor. For the NEMA17 motor, the motor will bolt to the 3D printed piece, which will then bolt to the C-Beam in the exact same way the NEMA23 motor would.

On the C-Beam rail, remove the top plate from it so that you can slide it onto the frame. Add a minimum of 4 M5x20 bolts, with 2 washers each, through the holes on the side of the frame. Add a t-nut to each. Slide the beam onto the t-nuts, making sure to stop above the Vat_Plate with enough room to use a hex key to tighten the top plate on. Go ahead and add the top plate back on now. Finish off by making sure the beam is at a 90deg angle to vat plate, then tightening the M5x20 bolts to secure the beam to the rail.

In this orientation, the motor is at the top. This allows for plenty of cooling, and gives you good access to the flexible coupler on the C-beam for easily moving the bed up and down manually.


Now that you have the beam on, bolt the bed bracket onto the C-beam rail, using either M5x12 (sheet metal parts) or M5x20 (3D printed part). If you are use the sheet metal version, bolt the adapter plate on next.

Lastly, loosen the thumb screw enough to slide onto the Bed_Bracket, and tighten.


The nuts on the corners are for additional bolts. These led you adjust the corners of the bed down, so you can get the bed to be level with the vat. Tighten the bolt to lower that corner of the platform. The nylocks will prevent the bolts from moving when you take the bed off, maintaining a level printing surface.

Step 11: The Projector - Files for Routing/Laser/3D Printing

3D printed files:
-L_Brace.stl x1 (Note file includes all 8 brackets required, 4 with a large hole 4 with a small hole)

CNC router/Laser engraver:
-h6510bd_Mount.dxf This file is for the h6510bd projector. If using a different projector, you will more then likely have to make a different mounting plate.

Step 12: The Projector - Mounting to Frame

Mounting the projector to the frame is fairly simple.

To start, build the assembly shown in the second picture. The exact placement of the extrusions on the projector plate isn't important, just make sure you have access to the 3 holes used to mount the projector to the plate. Its also not vital that the extrusions be perfectly parallel to the bottom/top of the plate, as this can be adjusted later. Just get them as close as you can.

For the projector plate, use the L_Brackets with the small holes to fix the extrusions to the plate using screws. Assembly the other 4 L_Brackets and then slide them on the ends of the extrusion, as shown.


Next, mount the extrusions to the frame. The best way to do this is to lay its on its side so you can position the T-Nuts under the holes. Loosely tighten each side, so you can still slide it up and down.
See first picture.


Next, bolt the projector to the plate. You'll have to tip the machine on one of the sides to access the holes for the bolts. If you have a different projector then the Acer h6510bd, you may have a different mounting hole configuration, and therefore need a different adapter plate.
For the Acer, use 3x M3x20 bolts to mount the projector. Once you finish mounting, go ahead and lay machine on its back for the next step.

Step 13: The Projector - Touch Up and Calibration

Next, we can go ahead and get your projector aligned without needing the rest of the electronics.


Before we go any further, you will want to decide on a print area size. How does this work you ask?

Well, the projector has two dials on the lens that let you focus the projector. This lets you change the size/focus a bit for when it normally is used in an office environment. In this case, it gives you some flexibility on your build area.

The Acer used here is 1080p, meaning it has 1920x1080 pixels. How you divvy up these pixels is up to you.

For instance, say you want a 150mmx100mm build area. 1920/150=12.8 pixels per mm. This means each pixel would represent 0.0781mm. This is your resolution, or 'accuracy' (not truly accuracy, but closest approximation). The remaining 1080 pixel side would then come out to 84.375mm. Your build area would be 150mmx84mm

On the other hand, say you want higher resolution. If you aim for 100mmx60mm build area, you would get 1920/100=19.2 pixels per mm. This would be 0.0521mm per pixel. This gives you a higher resolution then the previous, at the cost of a smaller build size. The 1080 side would be 56.25mm, giving you a build area of 100mmx56mm.

Its really entirely up to you what size you want, as long as its within the limits of the vat size.


Go ahead a plug in your projector, and turn it on (make sure your vat is in the machine and tightened with thumbscrews so you can see the projected image). Once it fully boots up, you should see the projector logo pop up. For the Acer, if you hit the menu button, it will bring up a nice grid you can use to focus and size the projector.

Using the explanation before, use a combination of sliding the projector up/down on the rail to change the size of the image, left/right to center the image, and the dials on the projector to focus the image. If you want an exact size, use a ruler to measure the image size.

Once you have everything aligned, tighten all remaining bolts.

Step 14: The Electronics - 3D Printed Files, Wiring, and Mounting

Only 2 simple 3D printed parts. One is a spacer for the screws-to-frame, other is mount for fan and space for breadboards.


The electronics are fairly simple, as it only requires a single stepper motor for the Z-Axis.

See the wiring diagram in the attached picture above.


*Before moving on*

Go ahead and put your stepper driver on a breadboard, and hook it up to 12V power on VMOT and GND. Use the link here to check that the current limit is set properly. You don't need much current, 1.25A will do fine in most cases.


For this, I just used two mini breadboards with some sticky backing, on the Electronics_Mounting.stl file. Make sure the stepper motor is fairly close to the fan, so that it stays cool. Once you have everything wired up, minus the fan on the machine and the motor, you can attach it to the rear of the machine with a hinge, for easy access later (I put a small magnet on the 3D printed part/frame to keep it in, buddy just used a small piece of tape, its up to you.)

Once you have the electronics mounted, go ahead and hook up the other fan and motor.


***Lastly, before moving on, double and triple check all your wiring!***


Lastly, plug in your machine to 12V power and make sure everything turns on as it should. The fans should turn on, the lights on the arduino should turn on, and the motor driven by the stepper driver should power up (and should not be easy to turn anymore).

Step 15: The Electronics - Software and Preparing for Test Run

The next part is getting your software setup, configuring your machine, and getting ready for a test run.


Software for the Arduino can be found below.

Current version: Grbl v0.9i Atmega328p 16mhz 115200baud with generic defaults

To load it, the simplest software to use is Xloader, found below.

Just open Xloader, pick the hex file you downloaded above, your board, serial port, and select 115200baud. Finish by hitting Upload. Once you have it uploaded, you can move onto the next step. After installing the software and running through the tutorial on how to use it, come back here and we will finish off by configuring the settings in Grbl to match your machine.


You can find the software for the computer at the link below:

This instructable is actually getting fairly long, so how to setup and use the software is shown in the instructable below.

How to Use Creation Workshop V1.0.0.75 for DLP Printers

Just make sure your machine is plugged in to USB, 12V power, and your projector is plugged into power, turned on, and plugged into your video port.


Now that you know how to use the software, jump to the manual control tab. On the manual gcode area, type the following command:


This should show you the settings below. Make sure they match what I have written here. If they do not, type "$#=#" to change the parameters.

$0=10 (step pulse, usec)
$1=25 (step idle delay, msec)
$2=0 (step port invert mask:00000000)
$3=0 (dir port invert mask:00000110)
$4=0 (step enable invert, bool)
$5=0 (limit pins invert, bool)
$6=0 (probe pin invert, bool)
$10=3 (status report mask:00000011)
$11=0.020 (junction deviation, mm)
$12=0.002 (arc tolerance, mm)
$13=0 (report inches, bool)
$20=0 (soft limits, bool)
$21=0 (hard limits, bool)
$22=0 (homing cycle, bool)
$23=0 (homing dir invert mask:00000001)
$24=25.000 (homing feed, mm/min)
$25=150.000 (homing seek, mm/min)
$26=250 (homing debounce, msec)
$27=1.000 (homing pull-off, mm)
$100=200.00 (x, step/mm)
$101=200.00 (y, step/mm)
$102=200.00 (z, step/mm)
$110=400.000 (x max rate, mm/min)
$111=400.000 (y max rate, mm/min)
$112=400.000 (z max rate, mm/min)
$120=20.000 (x accel, mm/sec^2)
$121=20.000 (y accel, mm/sec^2)
$122=20.000 (z accel, mm/sec^2)
$130=200.000 (x max travel, mm)
$131=200.000 (y max travel, mm)
$132=250.000 (z max travel, mm)

This should set your motor to move the default direction, and your steps per mm (If you use a different rail or microstepping setting, you will need to calculate the right number instead of using this one). Next type:

G0 Z5 F100

This should move your motor up by 5mm. If your motor went down, change the direction setting ( $3 ) to 4. If your machine moved more/less then 5mm, check you steps per mm to see if it is set correctly.

Step 16: Print Time! - First Print and Some More Calibration

OMG, we are finally there! After all this time its finally time to work on some printing! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!

Anyways, now that we have that out of our system, lets move on to working on some test prints.


So, assuming you have read my instructable on how to use Creation Workshop (CW) and configuring your machine, its time to do some test runs. First, start with downloading a nice simple 20mmx20mmx10mm calibration cube.

Now that we have that, go ahead and load it into CW. Depending on what resin you are using, you may need to adjust settings before hand in CW. See Appendix F for Resin documentation. Slice the 20mm calibration cube to get ready for printing.


Before pouring resin into the vat, do a full test run with no resin. This is to ensure that your print does not encounter any issues during your run.


Go ahead and move your bed to just barely above the FEP film. Once done, plug in USB first, then 12V power. Then plug in your projector. Once done, connector to your machine.

At this point, you should be in the following state:
-No resin
-Full connected to machine
-Bed level with vat
-File sliced and ready to print
-Projector should be displaying a 'black' image.

If you are in this state, go ahead and hit the play/print button! Your printer should start displaying image, and moving the bed up/down as needed. Again, make sure it does a full run before pouring resin in.


Once your machine has done a full run with no resin, and not encountered any issues, its FINALLY time to loud the resin. Most resins will need to be shaken to ensure its well mixed before pouring. Pour into Vat after mixing. You will probably need about 200mL of resin in the vat to print. Once this is done, DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID BEFORE. This is the entire reason you did the test print before! If everything goes well, you should be able to follow the previous steps, and get a relatively nice, 3D printed cube.


If the cube is blobby/overcured or uncured, follow the CW tutorial and the step that refers to calibration for resins. If there are other issues, well, comment on this instructable and I'll do my best to help out.


Once you get a nice cube printed out, its time to do some fine tuning. Take a dial caliper and measure your 20mmx20mm cube, ensuring you know which is X and which is Y. Measure X side and Y side. You will then do X/20mm and Y/20mm. Take these values and multiply them by the existing X and Y values.


Printed cube is 19.1mm x 18.9mm. Build area is currently set to 140mmx80mm.

X dimension -140mm X (19.1mm/20mm) = 133.7mm

Y dimension - 80mm X (18.9mm/20mm) = 75.6mm

These are the new values you will input to Creation Workshop. Once doing so, it should adjust your machine to properly print a 20mmx20mm cube. Go ahead and save these settings, then print out another 20mmx20mm cube to make sure the settings made adjust the dimensions correctly.


Alrighty! You've done it! You got a sick, bad**** lookin printer that cranks out smooth looking, high definition printed parts!


Alright, that's enough celebration. Lets move on to some extras, tips, tricks, etc. etc. Building the machine is only half the battle! There is always more to learn!

Step 17: The End - Tips, Tricks, and Things to Keep in Mind

The first thing, above all, to keep in mind is this.

I NEW TO THIS TOO. I dont have all the answers, but I'll do my best to answer any questions I can.

With that said, here are some Tips, Tricks, and Things to keep in mind.

-Every resin has different settings. Just as with FDM printing, every plastic has its own properties. The downside though here is that every resin manufacturer has different mixtures, and every machine has different power properties based on the projector. Expect to spend a fair amount of time tuning each resin you use.

-Resin printing has a fair number more steps then FDM printing. With FDM printing, on a good machine, you can hit print and come back a few hours later with a part ready to use. Resin printing has several post-processing steps on the other hand. After printing, you want to do a pre-wash, main wash, then a UV oven curing. A look at the formlabs steps is a pretty good idea what is involved.

-On my FDM printer, I can leave the plastic loaded, and print no problem the next day or week later. Resin printing on the other hand, the pigment starts to separate, and will need stirred. Good resins will take alot longer to separate (sometimes 24 hours or more) then the cheaper ones, but its always suggested you use a soft, rubber spatula or stirrer to give the resin a good mixing before you start printing. Separation also occurs while printing, so its not a great idea to do 12hr+ prints, as you may see near the end parts getting rougher due to UV bleed.

-The Acer is a fairly decent projector for the price, and doesnt technically need any modification to get started. There are more expensive ones out there that are better, and cheaper ones that can be taken apart and modified. To call out the downside to the Acer, the image degrades near the edges as such a close up focus. This can be modified in you want 100% of the build area you have. This thread is a pretty good tutorial on how to do that.

-Sometimes the UV output of the projector isnt 100% even. CreationWorkshop will let you fix this, but you first need to make a UV mapping of the output. This thread is a fairly good tutorial on how to do this.

Step 18: Going Further #1 - Adding Doors, Roof, and Windows

So, you're probably asking yourself, "How are we done!? What about the sweet lookin' doors and roof and OMG those cool windows! What about those?!" Fear not, we are going to cover that here. Since halogen, CFL, and LED lights used indoors tend not have alot of UV light content, the doors and roof are not absolutely necessary, if kept in a not well lit area. Halogen/CFL does emit some UV, while LED does not (Unless its a UV LED), so its highly suggested that you add doors and a roof to block any potential UV sources from accidentally curing the resin. Otherwise, you will want to keep it in a not well-lit area.


You can add just about any type of door or roof you want, as shown in the pictures. My door is a double door, with magnetic latches, and some cool stickers, for a little extra coolness. My buddy wanted a porthole on his, and its a single door. Since you can do pretty much anything you want, I dont really have any files per say to attach here. Just measure the open area on the front, and cut to size whatever you want on the front!

For the roof, if you go with a 250mm rail you dont need to worry about a notch in the roof. You can just measure the open area and cut a piece to size. If you wanted some extra build height, and decided to use the 500mm rail, You will need to make sure you add a notch in the roof for the rail.

For the windows, attached is the 3D file for holding the windows. For cutting the windows out, just use the same vectors in the cutting the frame step, just scale down a little and only cut the window. If you want, you can glue some small magnets on if you feel like making them easily removable.

Step 19: Going Further #2 - Tweak to Your Hearts Content

Im going to take a wild guess here, and guess most of you doing this project are hackers, engineers, enthusiastic hobbyists, etc. and so on. As such, feel free to tweak and hack as much you want! There are plenty of add-ons and extras you can add to this machine to make it work even better then I designed it.


Here are the three mods I have made to my machine:
-Added Red LEDs inside the machine, for some extra lighting. Red ensures I dont have ANY UV light at all, since most LEDs emit only a very specific wavelength of light.
-Added an endstop on the rail. This lets me know when the bed is at the right height for the vat.
-Small cap to protect projector lens from dust when not in use.

Buddy's machine we added some adjustable feet to, so you can make sure the entire machine is level if it is placed on an uneven surface.


Mods I'm currently exploring:

-Using some aluminum perforated sheets, using a small sample pack here, to increase the grip of parts to the bed, and reduce peeling from over-exposure. I have some experimental parts I can share the designs of, upon request.


I would love to see what mods you guys make, so feel free to share links! As some good links/photos come in, I will add them in Appendix B to share with everyone.

Step 20: Appendix a - All Files Used in This Instructable

Zip of all dxfs/stls

Zip of all my files, mostly designed in autodesk inventor.

Pictures are too big to add, will upload a zip of all pictures only if highly requested.

Step 21: Appendix B - Community Pics, Add-ons, Modifications

I'll any good prints, add-ons, modifications, etc. from the community if they are shared, here.


Step 22: Appendix C - Full BOM List With Links to Materials Used

Instead of writing out all the parts and links, I attached it in a spreadsheet here. I'm pretty sure I captured everything, but feel free to let me know if there is something I missed.


Step 23: Appendix D - Substitute Parts

Will try to document any substitutes for various parts/steps that can be made due to a lack of machine/tool here.


Making the Vat if you are using a laser cutter:
Cut pieces as normal, minus the channel in the Vat. You will need to print 4 of the attached 3d file. The wall should fit in a notch in the 3D printed part, which then assembles together along with the base acrylic piece. Once you get all 4 together, add some screws to keep all the pieces together while gluing. You should have plenty of access to add glue along the inside of the Vat.

Step 24: Appendix E - Resins Tested Per Projector

In my searches online, its often hard to find specific settings for resins and projectors to use. This is often because with DLP printers, things such as build size, projector used, resin used, etc. can all effect the curing time. I'll do my best to record here any relevant settings on DLP printing, in the hopes that it will help you all out in your experimentation with DLP printing!


Step 25: Appendix F - CHANGELOG

Below I will document updates to this instructable as I make them.


22 April 2016:
Published! Woohoo!

04 May 2016:
Switched Appendix E and F.
Added link in step 15 for instructable on using software

08 May 2016:
Updated cover image.
Step 16, calibration of build area reversed/corrected. Was 20/19.1, now 19.1/20.

3D Printing Contest 2016

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest 2016

First Time Author Contest 2016

Participated in the
First Time Author Contest 2016