Project update 4 of 7
There is only one week left in our campaign. We are very grateful to all of you for your support! If you have any questions, we are at your disposal via the Ask a Question link on our campaign page.
The design and development of our new Lite3DP printer required custom industrial parts that facilitate the application of new technologies and improve the aesthetics, materials, and durability of the machine. Unlike most crowdfunding projects, for which the industrialization process begins after the campaign is completed, Lite3DP Gen 2 is quite advanced in this regard. We have already developed, manufactured, and tested all the necessary molds and tooling, which will allow us to manufacture the machines in a short time, reducing unforeseen events and delays. Below we will address this topic with previously unpublished images and information, please join us!
We will start with the aluminum parts that we introduced with the aim of improving durability and thermal transfer. Each of the three aluminum parts has its own extrusion die, manufactured with its corresponding cross-sectional profile. Extrusion is the process by which long bars with a constant cross section are obtained by pushing heated alloy material through the die. These bars are then cut and shaped using CNC milling, a machining process that uses computerized controls to manage the movement and operation of multi-point rotary cutting tools.
Below you can see the parts in the manufacturing process called “light cones”, before their surface finishing and matte black anodizing. It is a good image to visualize how all the parts are cuts of a long bar with the same cross section.
In order to obtain high strength parts that are resistant to corrosion, ferromagnetic (to achieve fastening with magnets), and visually pleasing, we selected AISI 430 stainless steel for the manufacture of the resin vat frame and the rounded bolt of the build platform:
Laminated, multi-layer printed circuit boards (PCBs) contain conductive paths, or traces, that connect electronic components. The PCBs in a machine typically provide electrical and thermal-dissipation properties only, but Lite3DP’s boards are made of robust substrates that serve a structural function as well.
The Gen 2 has three PCBs: the main board, the bottom aluminum PCB, and the auxiliary display PCB. The main board includes ENIG surface finishing, which is known for its durability and resistance to oxidation. The ENIG process involves applying a thin layer of nickel to the PCB surface, followed by a layer of gold immersion. When it comes to Lite3DP Gen 2, all that glitters truly is gold!
The base of the machine is made up of a PCB with a 1.6-mm aluminum substrate. Together with the aluminum light cone, this board achieves totally passive dissipation of the heat generated by the UV LED, which pulls around of 8W of power. As far as we know, Lite3DP Gen 2 is the only 3D printer that produces no annoying fan noise. You can place it on your bedside table and sleep without disturbance. Then you can wake up to the sight of a new printed part!
Gen 2 has five plastic parts. The two main ones are manufactured from an industrial injection mold created for the Lite3DP S1 and modified to manufacture the new parts. Regarding the geometry of these parts, the change was minor: just some holes compatible with the new Nema 8 stepper motor. The biggest changes were to accommodate threaded metal inserts and the use of a new composite material: Polyamide PA6, a 30% glass-fiber-reinforced, high-performance engineering plastic that provides an exceptional combination of mechanical properties and versatility. Polyamide PA6 is widely used in various industries for its superior strength, durability, and heat resistance.
The LCD display and the stepper motor are two central components of the Lite3DP. We selected and customized the two best options available. The LCD display adjusts the X- and Y-axis resolution to determine the working area; the stepper motor adjusts the Z-axis resolution to determine the working height. Our new display, with its glass cover plate, facilitates the leveling of the platform and simplifies display replacement. Our new stepper motor achieves extremely quiet operation.
We want each and every one of Lite3DP Gen 2’s meticulously designed components to reach you in perfect condition, so we’re working on a protective foam model. Nothing has been left to chance!
While the Gen 2 is similar to its predecessor—and both printers share the same fundamental concept—not a single component has been left unchanged. We’ve found or produced superior alternatives across the board. Many of those alternatives are more expensive, but we only accepted the best for Lite3DP Gen 2.
Designing these 3D printers is not easy, but we will continue pursuing our vision. There are hundreds of bigger, faster, cheaper 3D printers on the market today, and we’re thrilled that 3D printing is accessible to a growing audience! Lite3DP Gen 2 is for those who share our passion. If you understand that this is not just another 3D printer, and you value that, we look forward to your support!
A replacement part for an RC car, by Chris V and son. 0.1-mm layer height. (As you can see in the last image, the mesh has a low density of triangles. This results in a print with vertical lines that do not correspond to the resolution of the LCD display. With a higher density of triangles, the cylindrical faces would look much better, but…it works, so we’re happy.)
Tabletop basing bits and Pumpkin basing bits by Adamant Arsenal. 0.025-mm layer height. Suggested by Filippo B. (The diameter of the sword handle is less than 1 mm!)