Best Resin SLA 3D Printers of the future

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There is a new SLA 3D printer being announced almost every month now through Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or other sources. For anyone who is looking for a reliable 3D printer, t may be quite difficult to choose between what is available, what can be currently ordered and what the final result may look like since rarely a manufacturer will post practical models in detail unless they have been screened, checked and polished for the consumer to see. Resolution, quality and speed specifications are very loosely thrown around by most wannabe manufacturers, neglecting the real application or final result which their product may actually provide.

To help you choose the best possible option for your next SLA 3D Printing project we have selected 4 manufacturers with the most promising and reliable results based on the price, popularity, build quality and upgradeability of their product. The below SLA 3D printers were chosen as closely to their application, size and result as possible and within the same category of 3D printing.

Uniz 3D

SLASH: The Next Level of Affordable Professional 3D Printer. The SLASH is going to completely change the game for desktop, light-cured resin SLA printers.”  – 3dprint.com

“Print speed, volume, and cost are the three major obstacles 3D printing has been humbled with for years now. The UNIZ Slash 3D printer addresses all three of these in a very convincing manner.” –3ders.org

“The SLASH seems like it could be a game-changer if it delivers, and we’d all love to see 3D printing speed up for all of us sooner rather than later.” – 3dprintingindustry.com

Are you frustrated with the low speed and high failure rate of laser 3D printers when printing large solid objects? Do you dream of having the speed, resolution, and reliability of a truly professional 3D printer on your desktop? We’ve created an advanced and easy-to-use system that rivals the output of industrial 3D printers at a fraction of the cost.

SLASH is an ultra-high resolution, super fast, liquid crystal display (LCD) contact exposure 3D printer, designed with the goal of achieving high-quality 3D prints without sacrificing speed or user friendliness. SLASH performs at the same level of precision and speed as industrial 3D printers while maintaining affordability for everyday consumers. With easy-to-use software that supports a variety of desktop and mobile platforms and cloud integration for sharing and publishing your creations, high-quality 3D printing has never been more accessible.

Speed: Printing Time SLASHed

By industrial standard, the 3D printing speed is defined as how much volume can be turned into solid per unit time. Traditionally, low-cost 3D printers are slow due to their inefficient methods of rendering 3D objects. Plastic (FDM/FFF) and laser SLA printers are among the slowest because of their need to essentially trace out an entire model line-by-line. A better way to construct a 3D object geometrically is to project each slice onto a liquid bath and render it one layer at a time. Digital Light Processing (DLP) and LCD printers work in this way and as a result are the fastest desktop 3D printers to date.

 

More information about SLASH can be found at: www.uniz.com

The SLASH 3D Printer can be purchased in their shop directly: https://uniz3d.com/products.html

The specifications of the SLASH are:

  • Printing Technology: SLA
  • Material: Resin
  • Can use 3rd party materials: Yes
  • On Printer Controls: Yes
  • Build size: 192mm × 122mm × 200mm
  • Minimum Layer Thickness: 25 microns – 0.010mm
  • Minimum Feature size: 75 microns
  • Enclosed: Yes
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, USB

Price: € 1888

Ilios 3D

Although a lesser known brand, Ilios 3D has been around for more than 8 years now, starting their work in January of 2008. Ilios 3D may be considered one of the most original and innovative 3D Printing manufacturers as their approach to 3D printing from the very beginning was very unique based on the always mentioned double sided Lift platform and an extremely rigid, ball bearing spindle assemblies. Many scientific papers mention Ilios 3D in one form or another as the company seems to help and build custom solutions for research purposes in the fields of Microfluidics, Bioengineering and others. Every iteration of the Ilios 3D printer family brought vast improvements in the build quality as well as application of their machines, starting from a very basic 3D printer for general use and finishing with a robotic masterpiece like the Ilios Ray. Their initial products consisted of SLA 3D Printer kits which even today can be upgraded and brought to the same standard as their latest UV DLP 3D Printer called the Photon 2.

Ilios Photon 2

Ilios Photon 2 just like every other product from Ilios 3D is built entirely from metal parts, including its frame, lift assembly and all moving parts. The 3D Printer is described as a “Flex & Backlash Free” system which is capable of resolutions of 6 microns on its Z axis which it most probably can deliver since there isn’t a single component within the 3D printer design which could bend, flex or deviate during a long print.

The UV DLP projection system of the Ilios Photon 2 3D printer can be upgraded from a 1280p default setup up to a full 1080p replacement. The Variable resolution the Photon 2 can provide, allows the user to not just print with the fixed resolution of the projector but automatically lower it to a smaller build size but much greater pixel density, all in the same setup.

As an additional bonus, the Photon 2 can be upgraded to a Servo based setup to achieve layer resolutions of 1 micron or lower.

As most of the Ilios 3D products, the Photon 2 can be upgraded and improved even after the initial purchase, leaving you with a good investment, without the need to replace the machine but upgrade it with new capabilities and functions in the future.

The base specifications of the Ilios Phton 2 are:

  • Printing Technology: SLA – DLP
  • Material: Resin
  • Can use 3rd party materials: Yes
  • On Printer Controls: Yes
  • Build size: 230mm x 165mm x 105mm
  • Build speed: 3 – 10 seconds per layer (depending on material)
  • Minimum Layer Thickness: 6 microns – 0.006mm
  • Minimum Feature size: 70 microns – 30 microns depending on the projection used
  • Enclosed: Yes – Optional
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, USB Storage, SD Card

Price: € 3265

Formlabs

One of the most popular brands, thanks to their aggressive marketing and KickStarter campaign currently known as Formlabs was founded in September of 2011 and is known for their Form 1 and Form 2 SLA 3D printers. The Form 1 and 2 3D printers are sold mainly with the Formlabs proprietary materials which are suited for many different applications based on what is available in their shop. The company does claim to support 3rd party materials although which ones, is not mentioned on their website. After a very successful KickStarter campaign, the initial Form 1 SLA 3D printer was a very good machine and was a great competitor among other brands available at that time. The Form 1 is available even now at a much lower price than the newly released Form 2 3D Printer.

Form 2

The Form 2 3D printer features a typical Galvo configuration with the beamer under the build plate and a single sided Lift assembly to keep costs and footprint low. The “Sliding” mechanism featured in the new design although not new (as it was initially developed in 3D Systems products as well as the B9 3D printer), provides an additional step for a clean separation of the model from the VAT surface as well as the agitating arm which constantly keeps the material in motion.

Form 2 comes with many proprietary consumables for cleaning, removing and post-curing the final model. Additionally the 3D printer can use material cartridges from Formlabs as well as previously mentioned ability to use 3rd party resins.

The specifications of the Form 2 are:

  • Printing Technology: SLA
  • Material: Resin
  • Can use 3rd party materials: Yes
  • On Printer Controls: Yes
  • Build size: 145mm x 145mm x 175mm
  • Minimum Layer Thickness: 25 microns – 0.025mm
  • Minimum Feature size: 140 microns
  • Enclosed: Yes
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, USB

Price: € 3958

DWS Lab – XFAB

As the youngest listing in our comparison we chose the XFAB 3D printer from WDS Labs. The XFAB 3D printer was initially released at CES in 2015 and has a very similar if not identical in design to the Form 1 or Form 2 3D printers from Formlabs. The main difference of the XFAB 3D printer from Formlabs is its unusual circular build area of 180mm in diameter which uses a similar “sliding” of the VAT during each layer detachment to reduce forces created after each layer solidifies.

The XFAB boasts and very impressive 10 microns layer resolution, which is noted to be available only down to 60 microns with their proprietary materials. The feature resolution is stated much larger if not almost double than the Form 2 at 250 microns.

As an additional feature, the XFAB uses a very original Lift plate design to keep models attached to it during a long print and ensuring that there is no warping or model deformation while each layer is created.

The specifications of the Form 2 are:

  • Printing Technology: SLA
  • Material: Resin
  • On Printer Controls: No
  • Build size: 180mm (Diameter) x 180mm
  • Minimum Layer Thickness: 10 microns – 0.010mm
  • Minimum Feature size: 250 microns
  • Enclosed: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB

Price: € 6000