Digital Light Processing – DLP
DLP is a form of stereolithography that is used in rapid prototyping services. The main difference between DLP and SLA rapid prototyping is the use of a projector light rather than a laser to cure photo-sensitive polymer resin.
A DLP 3D printer projects the image of the object’s cross-section onto the surface of the resin. The exposed resin hardens while the machine’s build platform descends, setting the stage for a new layer of fresh resin to be coated to the object and cured by light. Once a complete object is formed, additional post processing may be required such as removal of support material, chemical bath, and UV curing. DLP will produce parts with resolutions under 30 microns; the equivalent to other stereolithography machines. Ultimately, production time does depend on the size of the model.
- Rapid prototyping
There are times when engineers want to quickly design solutions that would help develop the end-product through rapid trial-and-error design iterations. DLP 3D printing enables engineers to think with their hands to facilitate reaching the final solution in rapid time.
- Fit and function models
DLP 3D printing enables engineers to test the type of fit (loose, tight, or shrink) in products before finalizing the design and moving into production.
- Molds for tooling and metal casting
3D printing injection molds using DLP technology are not meant to replace conventional mass manufacturing process. Rather, if one is looking to perform short runs without custom making tool template, 3D printed molds are best fit to create perishable molds if the customer requires low quantities (5 – 100 pieces), mid-sized parts (<165cc [10 cu. in.]), or if the required tolerances > 0.1mm (0.004in), where tighter tolerances can be attained depending on the post processing used.
- Medical implants
DLP enables medical doctors to precut required metal plates based on a representative 3D printed version of the patient’s skull to reduce the possibility of infection by reducing the procedure duration.
- Dental restorations
Dentists can now perform the following list of procedure using DLP additive manufacturing; Orthodontic applications, Denture bases, Partial dentures, Temporaries, Night-guards bite splints, Crown and bridge wax-ups, Indirect bonding trays, Surgical drill guides
- Jewelry casting
DLP 3D printing offers superior detail, precision, and a smooth surface finish that requires less finishing. Additionally, 3D print jobs go straight to the customer for review to casting and molding.
- Automotive components
3D printing in the automotive industry is now essential, where additive manufacturing applications become more numerous; conversely resulting in driving the development and adaptation of processes to meet the specific needs and address the constraints of this rapidly evolving sector.
DLP 3D printers has opened new paths at each stage of production of motor vehicles; from the functional prototyping phases, design, and tooling production to parts manufacturing, the automotive industry is one of the pioneers in the use and integration of 3D printing in its processes for both new and antique vehicles.
- Aerospace components
Aerospace is one of the main industries that can benefit from developments in 3D Printing. This is not only because this sector has a long history of an early adopter of latest technology inventions, but also because it needs these inventions. Environmental performance restrictions, competitive market conditions, and high manufacturing cost are just some of the challenges that aerospace faces today. This is exactly where the benefits of additive manufacturing come into play, which helps in producing products in shorter production time, no required additional tooling, material savings, and cost-efficiency are just some of the good reasons why aerospace companies have started integrating 3D printing in their production strategies.