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Digital Light Processing is a 3d printing process where a projector is used to cure photopolymer resin. Very similar to SLA where the only difference is that instead of a UV laser to cure the photopolymer resin, a safelight (light bulb) is used. Objects are created the same as SLA with the object being either pulled out of the resin which creates space for the uncured resin at the bottom of the container and to form the next layer of the object or down into the tank with the next layer being cured on the top.
A diagram illustrated the DLP setup. Source: DruckWege.de
Objects that are printed with Digital Light Processing have less visible layers versus other processes such as FDM/FFF. Compared with SLA, DLP can have faster build speeds due to a single layer being created in one singular digital image whereas with SLA, the UV laser has to scan the vat with a single point (trace out the object layer).
Also, the same photopolymer resins that can be used with SLA, can be used for DLP 3D Printing. Objects printed with this process have the same strengths and weaknesses.
Similar to SLA, DLP is commonly used to generate highly detailed artwork, non-functional prototypes, and can be used to make molds in investment casting applications.
Digital Light Processing provides excellent capabilities for 3D printing / Additive Manufacturing processes with an eye on efficiency. DLP is your go-to method when opting for a quick printing process without compromising on the quality of intricate parts.
Just like their SLA counterparts, desktop DLP 3D printers are built around a resin tank with transparent bottom and a build platform that descends into a resin tank to create parts upside down, layer by layer.
The difference is the light source. DLP 3D printers use a digital projector screen to flash an image of a layer across the entire platform, curing all points simultaneously.Now that you know how SLA works, it’s time to take a closer look at DLP. DLP is a “sister technology” to SLA as the only big difference is the light source used to cure the resin. As we just mentioned, SLA printers use lasers combined with galvanometers to cure resin.
With a DLP 3D printer, the light source is a specially developed digital light projector screen. Thanks to this screen, DLP is generally considered to be faster than SLA, and here’s why:
With SLA, the laser has to individually cure the resin in a “point to point” technique. On the other hand, a DLP projector screen flashes an image of a layer all at once! Thus all points of a layer can be cured simultaneously. In this way, the print speed is increased in comparison to SLA since it takes less time to cure a single layer.
Since the DLP is a digital technology, the 2D image that is projected is composed of pixels. When translated into three dimensions, they become voxels.
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