Building a 3d printer had been one of those things that had been rattling around in the back of my mind for a while before I actually decided to build one. I considered just adding a fdm print head to my cnc router but in the end I didn’t, I never felt that fdm prints were of particularly high quality or that hobbyist fdm printers were particularly well behaved. While doing research one day (aka wasting time on the internet) I stumbled across a dlp based 3d printer and promptly went down the rabbit hole of sites and youtube videos related to dlp printers . By the time I found my way out of that rabbit hole I had come to a simple conclusion: building a dlp based 3d printer was not rocket science. There are essentially only two moving parts, the build plate and the vat and the movement of those two parts are simple. Compare that to a fdm printer (3 axis cnc routers are essentially the same device only the “heads” differ, one subtracts the other adds) where you have to have very sophisticated axis control (think curves, lines and spirals) as opposed to the build plate lift/drop and the vat drop/lift of a dlp based 3d printer. A dlp based 3d printer is in fact a very simple machine and in my opinion far simpler to build than a fdm and only slightly more expensive to build (and maybe not even that). DLP 3d printers are also well behaved, the proof: On my printers initial shakedown tests I got a perfect print on the second print run after making only minor adjustments (no bs) good luck doing that with a hobbyist fdm.
Early on I was concerned about the resins and had started to plan on how I was going to vent the fumes out a window (I am very allergic to polyester/epoxy resins and the like). I ordered resin from makerjuice.com because the resin was reasonably priced but expecting that I would still need to vent strong fumes. That turned out not to be the case, you can still smell makerjuice resin but as resins go it’s about as benign as it gets, no ventilation needed, that for me was one big dlp 3d printer issue off the table (I have no connection to makerjuice with the exception of having bought some of their resin). After finding the CreationWorkshop slicing and control software and determining that I could use it most of the building blocks needed to do a 3d printer build seemed to be in place: structure, control and media so it was off to the races for me.
Over several posts I will go over details of my printer build. So if you’re ready to ride this is the plan:
DLP 3d printer build details 1: structure
DLP 3d printer build details 2: z axis, build plate, vat and tilt mechanism
DLP 3d printer build details 3: electronics and control
DLP 3d printer build details 4: software
DLP 3d printer build details 5: operation and misc.