Digital Light Processing (DLP)

EnvisionTEC’s Latest DLP Systems: the ULTRA 3SP and 3SP HD

Most of the talk surrounding additive manufacturing (AM) focuses on processes similar to Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling, stereolithography or some form of laser sintering. Despite those processes being some of the most popular in use, there are other ways to build 3D objects. EnvisionTEC’s Digital Light Processing (DLP) is one such technology.

DLP uses a vat of photocurable resin and a DLP projector to produce a 3D object, but unlike stereolithography, the process doesn’t build objects a layer at a time. Instead, the object is built in chunks, called voxels, which means no strata lines. EnvisionTEC’s latest offerings using DLP are the ULTRA 3SP and 3SP HD. Continue reading

Hobbyist Builds High Resolution DLP Printer

Most companies pour a significant amount of money into research and development, but aren’t always willing to take chances on simplifying existing technology to appeal to your average consumer. This makes a certain amount of sense. If your customer base is made up of companies with deep pockets, there isn’t much of an incentive to decrease the perceived quality and prestige of owning one of your products by “dumbing it down” for a broader audience.

This leaves a gap that has pretty consistently been filled by small businesses willing to innovate or hobbyists who would like to enjoy the benefits of a certain technology, but aren’t willing to pay a premium price. The world of consumer grade 3D printers is mainly dominated by material extrusion systems, such as those produced by MakerBot, but not every hobbyist is content with the resolution offered by these systems. Continue reading

Standardizing Additive Manufacturing Process Terminology

I generally enjoy covering additive manufacturing (AM). One of the few sticky areas is process terminology. Different companies call the same process by wildly different names. For example, what Stratasys calls Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), 3D Systems calls plastic jet printing, and the RepRap community calls fused filament fabrication (FFF).

The processes use an extruder head to lay down layers of thermoplastic to create objects in roughly the same way. More people recognize FDM than plastic jet printing or fused filament fabrication. Stratasys, which developed the technology, has trademarked the phrase Fused Deposition Modeling. As a result, 3D Systems and members of the RepRap project don’t call what is basically the same technology by the same name.

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