I am printing some small parts with small details. Even though I printed the first set at.5 microns, what does this mean to the print process? more time by a hour and 30 minutes, what else happens, is more information sent to the printer for this? because the start of it is when preform gets opened. I wouldn’t think much extra material would be used? same model, what about the support structure?
As the layer thickness decreases from 100 micron, to 50 micron to 25 micron, the vertical resolution increases. the amount of material used is the same, but the amount of time it takes to print the model doubles up (roughly) with each bump in resolution.
If your model was 200 layers @ 100 micron, it will be 400 @ 50, and 800 @ 25 micron.
On a side note, the base and supports up to where the actual model starts are always printed at 100 micron, but once the model starts, it will be printed at the selected layer resolution.
The finer the vertical resolution, the less visible the stair-stepping from layer to layer. Try printing something like a sphere (or a skull if you want something less boring) at the various resolutions, and the take a look at the top of the sphere or the skull. At the finer resolutions it will be nearly impossible to see the layers.
So how does this affect everything else? The time to print will obviously double up (or nearly so), and your PDMS will wear out (fog up) faster. Also your laser time/wear increases. Printing a model at 25 micron, is the same as printing the same model 4 times at 100 micron as far as wear and tear are concerned. So use the finer resolutions judiciously.
Also note that the accuracy of the print is not really different. You can assume your model will be +/- 0.005" or so regardless of the layer thickness used. As mentioned above, it can help with fine details and finish but overall accuracy is not affected.
For many parts you can get them oriented in a way that 50 or 100 microns is plenty. But, for some small parts the higher resolution can make a difference.
In the end it makes sense to print a part that has your normal features at all three resolutions and pick the one that best fits your needs. Sometimes 100 microns is plenty even for tiny parts.
Thanks all, after comparing the .5 and .25 prints
On flat/rectangular objects you likely won’t ever need 0.25 or even 0.5, as you can almost always orient them in such a way the Z axis resolution is almost irrelevant.
Decreasing layer size to 0.5 and 0.25 is, however, needed when printing rounded or spheroid objects, or objects that have shallow angles that cannot be avoided via changing the orientation (which would exhibit stair-steps, or “mesas” with lower resolutions). It can also help somewhat with objects that are highly textured or have a lot of very fine surface detail (figurines, sculpts etc.).