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Questions about 3D Printers

  1. Sep 1, 2007 #1
    Hi. I've been looking at RPT projects like reprap and fab@home whose aim is to provide a low cost solution to rapid prototyping. I was wondering if anyone with RPT experience could tell me if those machines could be outfitted with a laser (like what you might find in your typical home/office laser printer) and use a stereolithography to perform the printing.

    I guess some things I want to find out are, like what wattage laser is needed to cure a vat of photopolymer to form a solid object. And is the cost reasonable to make a low cost 3d printer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2007 #2


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    The problem with a laser is that it goes in a straight line through the material and so would cure the full depth. You could imagine having a number of laser were the power for each was low so as to only trigger the cure where several beams intersected but the chemistry might be tricky.
    I think most system rely on the cure only working with a comination of light (UV?) and air, so that the printer draws on the flat surface making an outline of that contour level which cures and then the model sinks slightly to give a new fresh surface.
  4. Sep 4, 2007 #3


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    I would have to do some background research on the "home versions." The SLA machines I am familiar with are nowhere near a home DIY set up. Don't they use some kind of powder with a binder, or am I dating myself with that?

    Do you know off the top of your head what the media is that the home machines use? Is it even curable with a laser?
  5. Sep 8, 2007 #4
    These personal fabber machines use fused deposition modelling as the technique. They use a polymorph stubstance as the material.

    For curable laser technology, it would have to be some kind of UV activated liquid photopolymer, however, what kind of laser with the most minimal power (cheap cost) could do the job?
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