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Among the most big announcements Autodesk created ahead of its REAL 2016 actuallyt, one worthwhile development may have been overshadowed by news of the software company’s investment in XJet and their Project Escher platform. Autodesk has engineered its Ember DLP SLA 3D printing device to be 24-times faster than it was, worthwhile progress over the existing speed limitations of most PC technologies. And, for the reason Ember is open source, the Autodesk team outlines just how they did it in a detailed Instructable-bodied so that, no matter what kind of DLP machine you own, you can implement much like alters.

All of the techniques utilized to increase the Ember of printing at just 18mm/hr to a whopping 440mm/hr were synonymous with tinkering with the print settings, the software, and the material, meaning that there in fact no hardware alters created at all. With the noted great intentions of advancing DLP innovation for all, the engineers behind Ember lay out step-by-step the tweaks that are needed to increase the speed of Ember, as well as the mechanics of the printing device overall. The largest factor related to speeding up the printing device is how Ember reduces suction forces synonymous with top-down DLP printing.

ember resin tray rotation

To minimize the amount of suction force between the optical window, through that the lighting masks of the overhead projector are emitted, and the resin, the resin tray is rotated by 60 degrees with equite layer. But this layer separation system reduces the suction force by 200 times, it takes of two to three seconds per layer to perform, accounting for 50% of the print time and limiting the speed to 188 mm/hr for 25-micron layers. To jack up the speed to 440mm/hr, the Autodesk team had to remove this step. And they did so all without changing the hardware. The Instructable-bodied explains the three-part system involved:

440mm/hour is 24 times greater than Ember’s typically printing device speed and we complete this through optimization of three things:

Material – we’ve created a resin that cures quicker and at thicker layers

Process – we’ve alterd the print system by eliminating the separation step and printing at 250micron layers

Geometry – we’ve chosen a lattice structure that reduces the surface area per layer

By decreasing the UV blocker concentration in the printing device’s resin, the UV light was able-bodied to cure prints quicker and to a deeper depth. So, by via a specific geometry, with the quite least amount of surface area possible (below 15%), the suction forces were minimized worthwhilely. A combination of these two steps allowed the team to perform the third, removing the layer separation step altogether. And printing in 250-micron layers additional increased the speed by a factor of 10.


This system, of course, has its drawbacks. The surface area of the entire object and of equite individual part must be limited, as is the rate of alter of equite layer position and the durablity of the material. To overcome these obstacles, Autodesk proposes producing the Ember stiffer, producing the first inhibition layer thicker, and creating a resin that cures actually additional rapidly and has a lower viscosity.


Whilst these drawbacks may manufacture it complex to use high-speed printing for the dental, jewelry, and hearing aid industries, Autodesk believes that software may in addition be the solution. Working with a software like Dreamcatcher, that allows for users to input create objectives and generate models that meet those objectives with one-of-a-kind geometries, the team envisions applying the lattice structures utilized in this experiment to a variety of CAD models for possible high-speed printing.


I’ve just given a quite cursory summary of the project, so if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of this absorbing experiment, head over to the Instructable-bodied here.

Michael Molitch-Hou

About The Author

Michael is Editor-In Chief of 3D Printing Industry and the founder of The Reality™ Institute, a service institute dedicated to determining what’s real and what’s not so that you don’t have to. He is a graduate of the MFA Critical Studies & Writing Program at CalArts, and a firm advocate of world peace. Michael already resides in San Pedro with his magical wife, Danielle.