Resin printers create solid objects from a vat of liquid photo-polymer using ultra-violet patterning.
In the sub-£1,000 market, these printers have rapidly converged to designs where the active layer of the print is at the transparent bottom of a vat, illuminated from below by UV patterned by an LCD screen on which the vat rests. The model is pulled vertically from the vat one layer at a time.
Various resins are available, that trade-off cost, strength, speed of printing, detail-resolving ability and ease-of-use.
Even in the cheapest resin printers, detail will exceed that available from fused filament deposition 3D printers – prints can appear injection moulded.
However, resin prints tend to be weaker and more brittle compared with filament prints – although special resins are available for strong prints. Some resins offer prints with good temperature performance.
Downsides of resin printing compared with filament printing include: more mess to clear up, the need to wash and cure prints after printing, the need to cure waste products before disposal to prevent environmental damage, the necessity to wear gloves to prevent skin sensitisation, and increased need for good ventilation (or the wearing of respirators).
Resin printing innovations have recently included: Increased printing speed by moving to monochrome screens which let more light through (before this, mobile phone screens were re-purposed), and changes in light source design to increase overall intensity and improve uniformity (of both intensity and incident angle) across the vat base.
Creality, best known for well-made entry-level filament printers, has already produced several resin 3d printers and has just announced its latest: the Halot-One (aka CL-60), a resin 3d printer with a 6in ‘2K’ monochrome screen – 2,560 x 1,620 pixels over 127 x 80mm – therefore ~51 x 51μm pixels.
Artists impression of Halot-One light engine
“The self-developed optical system of the new generation adopts the light principle of reflection + refraction to make the light intensity distribution of the whole screen uniform, and each dimension of the model with consistent accuracy,” according to Creality, which claims 3.8mW/cm2 and >80% uniformity.
Vertical movement is 160mm, controlled by a linear rail and driven by a motor and screw. Layer heights from 10 to 200μm are available, making the minimum voxel (maximum resolution) ~51 x 51 x 10μm. Print speed is claimed to be 1 – 4 layer/s.
An extractor fan and activated carbon filter has been included to reduce odours.
Control is through a 5in colour touch screen. Overall machine size is 221 x 221 x 404mm and it weighs 7.1kg.
According to Creality, this printer will include Wi-Fi and be able to receiver over-the-air updates.
There is a larger version, Halot-Sky, with a 9in 4K monochrome light shutter.
Halot-One was bough to the attention of Electronics Weekly by Shenzhen Yueyi Technology, a strategic partner of Creality, responsible for providing its printers through Amazon’s US and EU sites
The image and technical details are from Creality’s website.