Additive Manufacturing Strategies

On Kickstarter Now: The Lightning 3D Printer, a Desktop DLP Printer With Meticulous Detail, Large Build Volume and a Unique Double Exposure Feature

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lightning3dWhen something is compared to lightning, it’s likely one of two things: extremely fast, or blindingly bright. The Lightning 3D Printer from English company Lightning 3D won’t blind you – thankfully – but it does pack a powerful punch of light, and it’s fast. Very fast. The newly developed desktop UV DLP 3D printer has a lot to offer, and it’s on Kickstarter now, with the goal of raising £20,000 ($26,080) by October 14th.

The quality that makes the Lightning stand out in particular is its unique double-exposure feature. A moving platform allows for each layer to be exposed in two positions, doubling the print volume while retaining a high resolution of 62.5 microns. As Lightning 3D puts it, large models are formed – or at least exposed – one half-layer at a time. This means that, for a small desktop printer, the Lightning has a surprisingly high build volume of 8 x 9.9 x 20 cm – and the print detail is meticulous.ddb9c519832fa22acbf825328364a335_originalThe Lightning 3D Printer is designed to last, with an LED light engine that boasts a 30,000-hour lifespan and an innovative resin vat built from Teflon FEP film. Not only does the Teflon material offer a much longer lifespan than silicone PDMS, it eliminates the clouding issues that plague silicone vats. In terms of print materials, Lightning 3D currently offers a standard resin in orange, blue and black, with a castable resin being prototyped. The company hopes to develop additional resins at some point, as well, such as flexible or filled resins. The printer also works with most standard resins on the market.

Specifications include:

  • Printer size: 22.6 x 30 x 44 cm
  • XY resolution: 62.5 microns
  • Layer resolution: 20-100 microns
  • Build area: 8 x 9.9 x 20 cm
  • Print speed: 38 mm per hour

8d4133_d0392646883644fb880a865cd912c4fe-mv2The Lightning comes with the easy-to-use Creation Workshop software, WiFi connectivity and standalone printing capabilities. It’s quiet, user-friendly and efficient, with easy part removal. The resin vat and the build platform can both be easily swapped out, thanks to a quick-release cam lock.

Retail price will be $2,400, much less expensive than similar DLP printers on the market. The Kickstarter campaign offers some nice discounts as rewards, with a £1,600 ($2,132) contribution getting you the standard package, which includes a starter kit, resin tank, build plate, and 500ml of resin. £1,700 ($2,265) will get you the same plus an extra resin tank and a full liter of resin. The standard early bird reward has been claimed already, but there’s still one double package left at the early bird price of £1,500 ($1,999). Rewards are expected to ship in December of this year.

The starter kit includes:

  • Bottle of resin
  • Two large rinse tubs to be partially filled with isopropyl alcohol
  • Rinsing bottle
  • Side cutters to remove supports
  • Disposable nitrile gloves
  • A scraper to remove prints from the build platform
  • A work tray in which to put sticky prints and tools, as well as to catch excess resin and alcohol

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“We have formulated and tested a variety of resins, established relationships with suppliers and third parties and we’re preparing to set up full-scale assembly and manufacturing so you can get your Lightning printer as soon as possible,” states the Lightning 3D team. “We will work hard to ensure that if you decide to back our project that we will supply the printer in as timely a way as possible, as a Kickstarter backer you will be the first to have our printer and will be buying at a discounted rate, you will be playing a huge part in the formation and direction of Lightning 3d and we’re excited to see what you guys will be doing with our machine.”

You can see the Lightning 3D Printer in action below:

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