Josef Prusa is one of the most famous 3D printer designers in the world, if not the most famous. His work extends to the seminal Mk3, a design that other companies have been cribbing for years. Now, he and his fellow designers have brought a new SLA printer design to the table with the SL1. They’ve also made the decision of putting it out as an open source device, so communities can tinker with similar processes themselves.
The SL1 is has some very interesting features. It uses a 5.5’ high-resolution LCD display with the physical resolution of 2560×1440p. The overall fixed XY resolution amounts to 0.047mm per pixel. The high-performance UV light cures one layer at a time, taking about 6 seconds and then successively lifting the print platform and moving on to the next layer. This configuration enables it to use a maximum print area size of 120 × 68 × 150 mm (or 4.7 × 2.6 × 5.9 in.).
The company is also enthusiastic about the SL1’s smart frame design. “Its core is a rigid dural frame with a separate body, which greatly improves stability and reliability. To put it simply, it’s not another wobbly plastic thing. This thing is HEAVY!” they state in a press release.
The SL1 will be on sale for $1599, quite cheap for an SLA machine from a top designer. It’s open to 3rd party resins as well, giving it extra applicability and cross-functionality.
Printing with the SL1
The Trinamic drivers and rigid dural frame allows the SL1 to achieve a layer height of 0.01 mm. However, the company recommends that most users should stay within the range of 0.025 – 0.1 mm per layer. They’ve also promised to enable variable layer height in the machines.
The resin tank presents another innovation that the company is touting heavily. They’ve made it as a removable tank with a flexible transparent FEP film on the bottom. Aside from making cleaning easier, it also offers a sleek easy removal process. Underneath this is the LCD display (cooled to improve its lifetime) and the UV light.
The resin tank has a motorized tilt function “which means that after curing a single layer, the print is not lifted vertically from the bottom of the tank. Instead, the tank tilts – This is huge, it drastically improves the surface finish of the models and reduces the stress on the model which is less likely to detach from the base. We can do this thanks to our extremely rigid aluminum build of the printer, on something flimsy, it would just be flexing the whole printer frame.”
The new mode of tilting the model out from the base of the print platform potentially allows users to remove it with less stress on the eventual part. The quality of parts also appears to be quite high according to the company. While SLA has been on the sidelines for quite a few years, this may be the one to turn it around. It could serve as a professional-grade device for smaller items.
Featured image and video courtesy of Prusa.