Form1 + B9 Frankenprinter

[Start Crazy Idea Time]

The Form1 already has a Z-axis positioner, build platform, resin tray, layer peeler, slice buffering, software, etc…  I bet someone with access to the ARM and PreForm source could remove the first mirror and galvos and cut a hole in the back panel and put a video projector in the optical path like the B9 does. :wink:  Use one of those USB>HDMI adapters for the video source.

If the optics could be worked out (combiner?) a hybrid would be neat.  Laser could do fine resolution, projector could do rapid ‘fill’ exposure.  If the laser didn’t have to ‘sweep’ fast to draw fill-in it could probably be used in direct deflection mode (instead of endpoints relying on the galvo sweep) and interpolate edge definition/smoothing around the resolution limits of the projector for a larger working envelope without giving up resolution.

Might even be possible to modify Casio’s laser+LED light source projectors?  Disable the LEDs and just let the laser source blue only.  (If 445nm is low enough to cure resin.)

[End Crazy Idea Time]

Wait. First of all, you are better off just getting one of each. Less things to go wrong and you have a backup machine if one is busy printing, etc.

Second, who says that the lasers can do the finer resolution? The laser in the Form1 can only do 300 micron feature sizes. The DLP projector can do much higher resolutions, like 50micron, or even 25micron. I’m not even talking about 1080p projectors, or even better 4K projectors.

OTOH, with one of each you’re paying twice for essentially the same components, taking up twice the space, etc.  (And a turnkey B9 is essentially ~$1700 more than the Form1.)

The thing with lasers and the galvo setup is that as they sweep from endpoint to endpoint they essentially are ‘analog’-- there is no inherent step resolution to speak of (or it’s ‘infinite’ if you prefer).  The positioning of the endpoints is subject to the accuracy of the DACs and galvo settling/positional accuracy, but then once the mirror is slewing to the next point the line that connects them is smooth.  By offsetting that path you can compensate for laser spot size (and make multiple cure passes in the process).

By the time you add on ~$25K for a 4K projector I’d just be ordering an Objet30 Pro and enjoying multiple materials and a 500 cubic inch build area with 16 micron layers right out of the box. :wink:

Right now, the build area of the B9 is a deal breaker for me.  The number of smaller parts that I could benefit from the dimensional accuracy on is small, so while I’d like to have the ability to do the DLP approach for some instances it just doesn’t make economic sense in my case.  If I had a FormX that I could pop open a door on the back and pivot an assembly or two out of the way and just shine my Optima projector in to when I need it, that’d be fun. :wink:


You may know more than me about how lasers work for sure, but still doesn’t change the fact that the minimum feature size the Form1 is capable of is 300microns.

Also, if more resolution is needed, the bigger problem may be the resin. Right now even with the grey resin, we are getting too much bleed-through and other layers get over-cured, blurring the details. We need to print with thinner layers, with a resin that has way more pigment so that it stops the light from going past the previous layer.

I suppose it boils down to what you’re needing the printer for.  I’m mostly interested in prototyping parts that would ultimately be injection molded in something like ABS or cast in a urethane plastic. With that in mind, about the thinnest wall you’re likely to be able to pull off in a ‘common’ (AKA, not ridiculously expensive) ABS plastic injection mold would be 750-1000 microns or more, so the laser spot size isn’t a problem for me, but dimensional accuracy is.  Right now my printer seems to run about 0.7% ‘over’ (slightly more in one axis than the other).  Doesn’t sound like much except that ~1mm *is* noticeable over the length of a 120mm print…

Agreed on the grey resin too.  It’s really nice for solid figures and ‘front’ (resin tray side) faces, but the back of thin (under a couple mm) wall sections parallel to the build platform are just a mess.

I’d had the thought about the laser projectors.  They’re fairly low-lumen, but I think by removing the phosphor wheel (used to make green from the blue laser on the teardowns I’ve seen,) you’d get about double the effective blue light.  Going to be quite a bit slower curing than 405nm, but I have no idea how it compares to what standard DLP projectors do.  Much lower power consumption too.

Crazy …***,% #~ +=…!