Homemade 3-D Printer Uses Robotic UV Laser
3-D Printers... with freakin' laser beams. Now THAT'S futuristic! And to top it all off, the machine is homemade. The hacked machine is a stereolithography rig, a type of 3-D printing that cures solid parts of a liquid resin. The inaptly-named Rob Hopeless recently posted this on his blog, along with a YouTube video showing how the whole machine works.
Stereolithography works by firing an ultraviolet laser into a vat of liquid plastic resin . The laser cures the resin into a solid, and a computer program guides the path of the laser in such a fashion that it eventually shapes a solid 3-D object out of the liquid . The machines often cost thousands of dollars, and take up a considerable amount of space, making Hopeless' achievement all the more impressive.
Hopeless used a "Delta Robot," a type of machine often used for high speed industrial packaging, as the guide for the laser, and an Arduino microcontroller serves as the brains of the operation.
Unfortunately, the machine didn't work quite right. Optical problems with the liquid and the base plate prevented Hopeless from printing anything beyond a blob-like plastic nugget. However, those problems are easy fixes, and Hopeless will undoubtedly get the machine upgraded to working order in no time.