SLA 3D Printing on the Cheap

By on April 12th, 2017 in printer

Tags: ,

 The Wanhao Duplicator 7
The Wanhao Duplicator 7

There have been a number of resin-powered desktop 3D printers released recently, but one in particular is low cost and appears to be of good quality. 

The Wanhao Duplicator 7 is the first resin-powered 3D printer from a company that has a long history in producing filament-powered units. In fact, Wanhao’s sales have been very high in recent years, partly due to their deal with Monoprice to build rebranded units for the low-cost online retailer. 

Those filament machines have had a reasonably good reputation in the 3D print community, which counts for a lot: reliable machines are hard to come by. It remains to be seen if the new Duplicator 7 has the same reliability, but it’s quite possible it does. 

The Duplicator 7 uses a DLP projector and UV lamp to simultaneously illuminate an entire layer at a time when printing, so its print speeds should be reasonable. The build area is said to be 120 x 70 x 200mm, a bit smaller than you’d expect to find on a filament machine, but in line with many resin machines, particularly the more expensive units. There are, however, several machine choices with larger build volumes. 

The machine will print layers as small as 0.035mm, but good quality prints can even be obtained faster with coarser layering. 

There’s nothing particularly special about this machine aside from its cost, which is USD$499-699. I believe the USD$499 is an introductory price that might not last long. That’s ridiculously cheap for a resin 3D printer. Even better, Wanhao is an established company so you will have less concerns on whether they can deliver this product, unlike many recent Kickstarter campaigns. 

There is even evidence of the Duplicator 7 being even cheaper: a now out of stock AliExpress lists the machine for only USD$399!

 The Wanhao Duplicator was offered at USD$399 for a time, apparently
The Wanhao Duplicator was offered at USD$399 for a time, apparently

One very curious thing is that Wanda doesn’t seem to have an entry for the Duplicator 7 on their Wanhao USA site. There are some images, however, on their non-USA site

Instead the company seems to be marketing their product through a Facebook page. Evidently you must email them to actually order this machine, which seems quite awkward. I suspect they are trying to do a “cold launch” where they can restrict the number of units to ensure they have all the bugs figured out. 

One item I cannot find information on is how long the resin tanks last on this machine. It does not have a method of quick release, like Carbon or others, so the tank must be considered a consumable item. More than likely it will cost USD$50 or more. 

A number of people have obtained the Duplicator 7 and have posted videos of their experiences, which seem to be up and down, like this one from Model3D, where he has problems, but also success:

Several people have posted images of prints, all of which look pretty good, like this sample icon from Evan Morgan:

 A very good quality 3D print from the Wanhao Duplicator 7
A very good quality 3D print from the Wanhao Duplicator 7

Of course, the price of the resin machine isn’t your only expense. You must supply the machine with liquid photopolymer resin, which can be quite expensive, depending on where you get it. For the high-end commercial machines resin can cost upwards of USD$200 per liter, as compared to USD$30 for a kilo of ABS plastic filament. Even Formlabs charges USD$149 for a liter of their resins. 

There are a couple of inexpensive sources for generic 3D printer photopolymer resin, such as MakerJuice Labs or Monocure3D, which sell resin for around USD$70-80 per liter. 

So it is entirely possible to do high resolution resin 3D printing without breaking the bank. 

Via PRNewswire

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!