This week, LMT Lab Day is taking place in Chicago. Dental lab owners, managers, technicians and clinicians from more than 40 countries are in attendance to see the latest dental manufacturing technology, which includes a lot of 3D printing. It would be a surprise if dental 3D printing leader EnvisionTEC wasn’t there, and the company reliably has a new 3D printer to offer, joining its more than 40 predecessors, many of them dentistry-oriented. The new Vida cDLM, however, isn’t just any 3D printer – it’s EnvisionTEC’s largest one yet based on the company’s Continuous Digital Light Manufacturing (cDLM) technology.
The Vida cDLM is fast as well as large, with a print speed of about 20-50 mm per hour, depending on the material. This is about half the time that the best-selling Vida 3D printer takes. It features a big print area of 145 x 81.5 x 100 mm (5.7 x 3.2 x 3.94 inches) and XY resolution of 76 microns. When used with EnvisionTEC’s E-Model Light material, the Vida cDLM is capable of 3D printing:
- 10-12 vertical orthodontic models in 100 micron layers in about 90 minutes
- 3-4 horizontal orthodontic models in 100 micron layers in about 15-30 minutes
- 3-4 full crown and bridge arches in 50 micron layers in about an hour
With the FDA-approved E-Guard material, the Vida cDLM can 3D print night guards and bite splints in about 15 to 20 minutes. With the FDA-approved E-Denture material, the Vida cDLM can 3D print six denture bases in 80 minutes at a speed of 47 mm per hour.The Vida cDLM is based on EnvisionTEC’s Continuous Digital Light Processing technology. The company commercialized DLP technology in 2002, then received a patent for continuous 3D printing in 2011. Continuous 3D printing relies on a build platform that never stops moving in the Z axis, resulting in high speed 3D printing with fewer supports. The technology isn’t perfect, however; EnvisionTEC notes that continuous 3D printing can’t always deliver accurate parts consistently over larger build areas. Using oxygen to create a tent zone in which to print continuously can cause the material to tent slightly from pressure of the oxygen. This can cause serious inaccuracies in the Z axis, which can compromise dental products. EnvisionTEC is now using a patent-pending domeless material tray that remains flat and parallel during continuous 3D printing, allowing for consistent accuracy over the entire build area.
The Vida cDLM is the latest in a lineup of cDLM 3D printers, which also includes:
- Vida HD cDLM, with XY resolution of 50 microns and a build area of 90 x 50 x 100 mm (3.54 x 1.97 x 3.94 in.)
- Vida UHD cDLM, with XY resolution of 33 microns and a build area of 63.3 x 35.6 x 100 mm (2.5 x 1.4 x 3.94 in.)
- Micro cDLM, with XY resolution of 39.8 microns and a build area of 45 x 28 x 75 mm (1.8 x 1.1 x 2.95 in.)
Continuous 3D printing isn’t just beneficial in dental applications, and it has a lot more benefits than just speed. In jewelry 3D printing, cDLM 3D printers are capable of printing materials with a high wax content, which is useful for investment casting patterns. cDLM printers can also process dual-cure engineering-grade materials with a short pot life, resulting in properties similar to injection molded plastics.
The Vida cDLM will be on display at LMT Lab Day, along with EnvisionTEC’s other dental products and partners, in Booths A-43 and B-42. EnvisionTEC will also be hosting educational sessions in the Hyatt Regency Chicago’s Roosevelt Room on Friday, February 23rd from 10 AM to 3 PM.
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