MRRF 17: Laser Resin Printers

The Midwest RepRap Festival is the best 3D printer con on the planet. In the middle of Indiana, you’ll find the latest advances for CNC hot glue guns and the processes that make squirting filament machines better, more accurate, and more efficient. There’s more to 3D printing than just filament-based machines, though, and for the last few MRRFs we’ve been taking a look at resin-based machines.

While most of the current crop of resin printers use either DLP projectors or LCDs and a big, bright backlight [Mark Peng]’s Moai printer uses a 150 mW laser diode and galvos. This is somewhat rare in the world of desktop 3D printers, thanks in no small part to the ugliness between Formlabs and 3D Systems. Still, it’s a printer that looks fantastic and produces prints that are far beyond what’s possible with a filament-based machine.

With the side panels off, the Moai printer looks very simple. The enclosure is made from aluminum extrusion, the electronics are what you would expect in any RepRap, and apart from the laser galvo setup, this looks like something that could be knocked out in a well-equipped shop in a weekend.

The simple construction of the Moai stands in stark contrast to the prints coming out of this thing. These prints are the best you could ever expect from a 3D printer; they’re difficult to photograph even with a macro lens (note to other resin printer builders: don’t use transparent green resin if you want the media to take pictures of your prints). As far as specs go, the build volume is 130 mm x 130 mm x 180 mm, it prints via G-code and Cura, and can use Open resins.

[Mark] launched a Kickstarter for this printer last week, with the standard reward of a printer kit going for $1,000. According to [Mark], the kit only takes four hours to assemble, making the Moai a very interesting printer for anyone who wants to get into resin printing.

Like every Kickstarter campaign, we must remind you caveat emptor does not apply because ēmptor translates to ‘buyer’. You’re not buying anything on Kickstarter.

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