September 25, 2013
Most of the talk surrounding additive manufacturing (AM) focuses on processes similar to Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling, stereolithography or some form of laser sintering. Despite those processes being some of the most popular in use, there are other ways to build 3D objects. EnvisionTEC’s Digital Light Processing (DLP) is one such technology.
DLP uses a vat of photocurable resin and a DLP projector to produce a 3D object, but unlike stereolithography, the process doesn’t build objects a layer at a time. Instead, the object is built in chunks, called voxels, which means no strata lines. EnvisionTEC’s latest offerings using DLP are the ULTRA 3SP and 3SP HD.
Standing nearly 4 ft. tall, it isn’t really proper to call the new AM systems desktop 3D printers, but they are significantly smaller than plenty of systems that offer quality resin printing. The main difference to be found between the 3SP and the 3SP HD is, as you might expect, resolution. The 3SP offers a resolution of 100µ, while the 3SP HD is capable of up to 50µ.
The ULTRA 3SP (which stands for scan, spin and selectively photocure) has a build envelope of 11 x 7.25 x 8 in. (27.94 x 18.42 x 20.32 cm). What you would generally think of as wall thickness is described as voxel resolution in the EnvisionTEC systems, and varies between 42µ to 53µ with pixel tuning. The DLP system uses the same material for both production and support, and the supports are perforated to make removal easier.
EnvisionTEC is focused mainly on the jewelry, dental and hearing aid fields, but also claims toy makers and animation designers among its customers. Below you’ll find a couple of videos. The first details the ULTRA system in general, and the second is more specifically about displaying the types of objects the system is capable of producing.