The RepRap movement is probably the single most important aspect of the rapid rise of desktop 3D printing. The open source, do-it-yourself attitude, and ability to print the majority of the parts and components necessary to create your own desktop 3D printer has been a powerful force for the industry. It could be argued, that without the RepRap platform, FDM-based 3D printers would be as expensive and the market would be as uncompetitive as the market for desktop stereolithography (SLA) printers, ie. Formlabs.
This begs the question: Could a similar movement be ignited within the SLA market, and if so, what would be the impact? One man from Tomsk Russia, by the name of Mikhail Shevchenko is trying to find out. As a 2012 graduate of Tomsk Polytechnic University in engineering, Shevchenko has had the opportunity to work with 3D printers for some time.
Shevchenko wasn’t satified with the current state of SLA 3D printers, so he set out to create his own open source machine in which a majority of the parts could be printed themselves. The RAR Print 3D printer is an affordable open source photopolymer machine capable of precision and resolution which is unable to be realized with a typical FDM machine. Besides the fact that this 3D printer may be a spark to a new movement, based on replicating SLA-based machine, what really stands out here are the components used which are not 3D printed… CD- and DVD-rom drives.
If anyone is familiar with the inner workings of a typical optical drive like a CD-rom or DVD-rom, you know that a laser diode reads the disc, moving up and down over guide rods, which look awfully similar to the guide rods you would find within a typical CNC machine or 3D printer. What Shevchenko does, is use the already manufactured setup of the CD-rom drive to act as the main diver for his RAR Printer. He removes the laser diode from the setup, and installs a UV diode with a 400 nm wave length into the optic system. This UV diode is able to cure resin similar to the way that the Form 1 3D printer from Formlabs would function.
“The main purpose for using CD and DVD-rom drives is the cost and availability. The second reason is the precision and resolution that they can achieve,” Shevchenko explained to 3DPrint.com.
A separate rod will move the build platform up as the print progresses layer-by-layer. The following supplies will be needed to construct the RAR 3D printer:
- (2) kilograms of PLA plastic spools (Shell printed on FDM machine)
- 300×400 mm – organic glass
- (5 or 10) CD|DVD – ROMs
- (1) DVD ROM optic system + 1 UV LED
- Glass or plastic reservoir (For Makerjuice Photopolymer)
- Arduino Mega 2560
- Shield for CD|DVD ROM drives
The estimated cost of the whole printer will be about 10,000 rubles (approximately $250), and the printer can be constructed in about one day. Once complete, it should have the following specifications:
- Printer Size (L x W x H): 290 mm X 190 mm X 200 mm
- Build Envelope (L x W x H): 80 mm x 80 mm x 80 mm
- Minimum Layer-height: 10 Microns (0.01 mm)
- Precision: Dependent on CD|DVD Disk
As for Shevchenko’s future plans for this do-it-yourself 3D printer, he stated that he, “really wants to make it accessible and open for all. After all, the basic idea of 3D printing is in fact just that, [openness]”.