LCD and DLP are both resin 3D printing technologies. What makes them different from each other? Find out the differences between LCD and DLP Resin 3D Printing.
When it comes to 3D printing technology, there are quite a few options available in the market. In this article, we will examine two different resin-based 3D printing technologies; LCD and DLP. LCD 3D printers are considered to be the easiest and simplest 3D printers for family-based projects. But, before diving into the contrasts and similarities of the two, let’s talk about resin 3D printing first.
What is Resin 3D Printing?
The term Resin printing is a broad title for the group of additive manufacturing technologies where liquid photopolymers are cured in layers to take the shape of the desired object. This is an unofficial title for the entire set of resin 3D printers, as these devices operate with resin supplies. Defining them as such makes categorizing them easier. On the other hand, there are terms such as VAT Polymerization printing or Stereolithography, that are used to describe the same process.
This 3D printing technology, which is also referred to as vat polymerization, has three different variants; DLP, SLA, and LCD. Vat polymerization technologies entail the same process where a light-sensitive resin is cured using a lighting source. The print starts with laying layers over layers until the final form is achieved. The resin is enclosed inside a tank, or vat, which is cured over a building area during the process. It slowly soars out of the vat with the progression of the operation. The key variation between these technologies essentially is the source of light that is utilized.
Three Types of Resin 3D Printing
The oldest and more widely known of the group is SLA or stereolithography. It utilizes a laser beam for curing the resin, guided by galvanometers. Galvanometers may be viewed as mirrors that direct the projectile into a specific location at the building platform via the clear tank base.
As opposed to a laser, the DLP (digital light processing) makes use of a digital light projector for curing the resin. The process involves flashing images of all layers upon the base of the vat. Then, selectively the light is projected through a DMD (digital micromirror device). The DMD is a part that consists of several hundred thousand miniature mirrors. The resulting layers printed by DLP printers comprise of voxels. Voxels are considered to be the pixel equivalent in 3D printing.
LCD 3D printing is not as common as the previous ones, but the process is fairly identical to DLP. It follows the same approach of flashing entire layers at the base of the vat. However, in this case, the Ultraviolet light is emitted from a set of LEDs as opposed to a projector. Then, a screen functions as a mask and shows just the pixels needed for the layer in question. No special tool, as happening in SLA and DLP, is necessary to focus the light source. They are regarded as the best 3D printers for home.
Now that the three major forms of 3D resin printing have been briefly described, let's look more closely at the differences and similarities between LCD and DLP.
The Differences Between LCD and DLP 3D Printing
You might be surprised to know that the essential components of both LCD printing and DLP printing are all around us. They can be found in the shape of LCD screens and DLP projectors in schools, colleges, offices, homes, etc. The essential differences between the two 3D printing technologies are largely the same as the difference between screens and projectors. Let’s talk about some of the differences between them.
LCD 3D Printing Quality
As mentioned earlier, LCD 3D printers make use of ultraviolet LCDs as the primary light source. The emitted light is parallel to the building base hits it directly. As the light does not expand, in the case of LCD 3D printing, the problem of pixel distortion does not happen. This means that the quality of the final print in an LCD printer is dependent on the LCD density.
What gives LCD and DLP an edge over SLA 3D printing is that both of them have higher building speeds. As a complete layer is being flashed at a time rather than a single point, these two printing techniques are usually able to print pieces faster. This makes them ideal for family 3d printing projects.
DLP 3D Printing Quality
In this technology, the process entails projecting a light source to a DMD across a lens. The light is then directed towards the base of the resin vat. The light-emitting from the projector has to spread from a smaller source to layer a wider target. This means that large designs have a greater probability of distortion of pixels on their boundaries.
Besides, irrespective of the print size, the figure of pixels in a DLP projector would be identical. Smaller and thinner prints from the very DLP printer can provide better preciseness than larger prints.
A good example of this phenomenon would be the effect that occurs when you zoom into the photos. That loss of detail and sharpness or pixelated image is the same as what happens in a DLP printer.
However, it is worth noting that in more professional machines with higher-quality modules, these distortions are adjusted. Furthermore, the "zoom-out" effect does not essentially indicate the low printing efficiency of a DLP printer, but rather that it is more focused on smaller copies.
Price of LCD 3D Printers
LCD 3D printers typically have relatively less expensive hardware as compared to DLP 3D printers, which allows them to offer a more cost-efficient alternative for 3D resin printing. It covers a larger market of manufacturers and makes 3D resin printing more accessible.
Price of DLP 3D Printers
As previously stated, less expensive DLP printers often have a slight distortion of voxels. This issue can be resolved by investing a bit more money. The cost of high-end DLP printers is because of the higher-quality components required to take care of the distortion issues.
LCD and DLP resin 3D printers are both capable of providing detailed prints and quicker printing speeds. However, DLP printers tend to get better when you raise your budget.
To conclude, DLP 3D printers are recommended for professionals who are looking to achieve highly detailed and fast prints. LCD 3D printers are great for the beginners to resin 3D printing. Ultimately, the choice is yours depending on your printing needs.