The technology behind resin 3D printing, stereolithography (SLA), has been referred to as the mother of 3D printing technologies.
Operating a resin 3D printer may be more of a challenge in comparison to standard desktop 3D printers, but the quality of prints that it yields is incomparable to Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) prints, and this is often why it is chosen by professionals.
While it has been more commonly used by enterprises that require more complicated models or prototypes, i.e. jewellers, dentists, design schools, businesses etc.
Initially resin 3D printers were not as accessible, as the cost to purchase was originally much higher. These printers have however, become more affordable and while they’re still not as inexpensive as basic desktop 3D printers, if it’s detail that you’re after, an SLA printer is what you need.
Top SLA Top Resin Printers Compared by Aniwaa
We’ll be looking at some of the top resin 3D printers in this article. The original article on this topic was developed by the tech hardware comparison search engine site Aniwaa and featured 15 of the best resin 3D printers for 2018. Let’s look at a few of the SLA printers featured in their bespoke guide.
The Peopoly Maoi, is an affordable resin 3D printer, suitable for both professionals and hobbyists.
Its main features include: full laser control (allowing users to adjust relevant details as per their desired prints), a 70-micron laser beam, and apart from that, the machine is compatible with numerous liquid resins both low-cost and speciality materials.
Prusa Research Original Prusa SL1
Manufactured by Prusa Research a Czech Republic company, the Original Prusa SL1 is Prusa Research’s first resin 3D printer.
It’s said to be easy enough for novices and hobbyists to operate and the accuracy of the prints it produces is suitable for professional users as well. It retails for $1,699 which is reasonable, considering the pricing point of similar resin printers on the market. The machine boasts precision – with its ability to 3D print layers of 0.01mm and it has a resin level sensor which detects if there is enough material to complete a 3D print or not. It also includes a selection of user-friendly features namely, auto-calibration, a full colour LCD touchscreen, vapor extraction and a quick-release build plate.
Formlabs Form 2
The Formlabs Form 2 is one of the most popular resin 3D printers on the market, due to the high level of detail that it offers with its prints, along with its compatibility with different resins.
Some of its show-stopping features include an automated resin system, Wi-Fi connectivity and a user-friendly touchscreen. Some of the updates from the Form 1 that became evident with the Form 2 include a slide peel (decreasing peel forces and wear on the resin tank), a resin wiper – which is said to improve print consistency and a heated resin tank for optimal print conditions.
As at the time of writing this article it retails for $3,499, the Formlabs Form 2 is not the least expensive SLA printer on the market but it’s also not the most expensive. For all that you’re getting with this printer, it sounds like a pretty fail proof purchase.
Flashforge Hunter DLP
The Flashforge Hunter DLP manufactured in China is an upgrade of the FlashForge Explorer DLP. It’s a popular choice for professionals specifically in the jewellery industry, because of its jewellery support mode. Apart from this, its main features also include, Wi-Fi connectivity, a touchscreen, automatic calibration and an HD projector.
This versatile machine is compatible both with Flashforge-made resin and third-party resins.
Retailing at $3,599, (when the article was published) the Flashforge Hunter DLP is worth serious consideration, especially if you’re working in the jewellery industry, for the quality you’re getting, it’s deemed a worthy investment.
Kudo 3D Titan 2
Manufactured by U.S based start-up company Kudo3D, the Kudo3D Titan 2 offers a very high resolution in its prints according to Aniwaa.
The Titan 2’s technology is a combination of DLP (Digital Light Processing) and SLA (Stereolithography) and it can print an estimated 70mm per hour at 50-micron resolution. Its main features include, a Raspberry Pi 3 onboard computer, passive self-peeling (PSP) technology, an HD DLP projector and a web-based control system.
With all the technology that this resin 3D printer comes with, the price point of $3,599 makes it quite the steal for what it offers.
The EnvisionTEC Aria retails for $5,999 but once you learn more about its wide range of features you may understand why it’s worth the splurge. This machine is more suited to professionals, as it can be used to manufacture jewellery or industrial parts.
Its main features include a touchscreen, flexible layer thickness, resin compatibility (proprietary materials), proprietary software (EnvisionTec comes with its own software) and a curing box which is optional.
Asiga PICO 2
The Asiga PICO 2 is a product of the Australian based manufacturer Asiga. The PICO 2 is also available in several versions for different volume builds and resolution requirements.
Classed as a professional resin 3D printer, the materials that one can use for the Pico 2 is specialised for varied niches, namely jewellery, dental and audiology sectors. The efficiency of the machine is noteworthy, and this is down to its single-point calibration and squeeze build tray which allows for speedy material swapping.
Retailing for $6,990 it might not be your first choice if you’re just a 3D printing enthusiast, but for professional purposes, this printer may be just what is needed.
SprintRay MoonRay S
Made by the US manufacturer SprintRay, the MoonRay S (also known as the S100) is favoured for its compatibility with high-performance resin materials. It’s also suitable for professional applications across dental and jewellery industries.
The S100’s main features include the precision it offers with its superior print quality – which is possible through its UV DLP projector.
It also offers speed and in comparison, to other resin 3D printers on the market, the S100 prints at a more attractive pace – reportedly 10 times faster than a regular resin 3D printer. The software that it comes with, is said to create better support structures with minimal material waste.
Retailing for $3,999 when reviewing its features and the quality of 3D prints it produces, this machine sets a high standard for DLP 3D printers. It has also been honoured at the Innovation Awards at CES 2017.
Technology has evolved 3D printing and businesses large and small are looking for ways to use it to get an edge on their competition. There’s no end in sight to the possibilities with 3D printing, particularly the higher spec resin printers.
What would you choose? Let us know in the comments below.
Please note: wording in italics is from the Aniwaa report.