How is MovingLight® More Efficient than Conventional 3D DLP Printers?

MovingLight®, part 3 of 3 | October 4, 2016 | By Alan Benlolo

Thanks to MovingLight® — a new VAT photopolymerization technology pioneered by Prodways — maintaining homogenous curing and consistent high resolution are no longer confined to small build volumes typical of conventional DLP 3D printers. This blog highlights a third and equally critical dimension of this breakthrough technology: curing efficiency. As you will observe in the following experiments, MovingLight® leaves little to waste in the way of UV light during the curing process.

Curing Efficiency - Experiment# 1

3d printer
For this and the following experiments, we'll hold the XYZ resolution, layer thickness, light source/intensity, and resin constant. Note that I have used the terms "conventional DLP process" and "DLP printers" interchangeably.

Conventional DLP Process
(single-projection curing)

MovingLight® technology
(positional curing)

3d printer
Figure A. The projected illumination or "projected area" remains constant for all layers of the build. In this scenario, we assume that the projected area is equal to the area of the platform. The "dead zone" refers to the UV-exposed areas not cured by the light.
Figure B. The projected area (also referred to as the "tile size") measures 70 x 40 mm and remains constant for all builds. This layer will undergo multiple projections as opposed to a single one.


Curing Efficiency - Experiment# 2

3d printer

Conventional DLP Process
(single-projection curing)

MovingLight® technology
(positional curing)

3d printer
Figure C. The single projection yields a low efficiency rating. Unlike MovingLight® (see right), the printer does not automatically position the UV illumination based on the layer's location on the platform. Regardless of the layer's size and position, it is exposed to the same amount of light as all the other layers in the build.
Figure D. MovingLight® is "smart" in that it cures where it needs to cure. The moving DLP projector directs light based on the location of the curable image patterns of the layer, minimizing wasted light and maximizing build speed.

Curing Efficiency - Experiment# 3

3d printer

Conventional DLP Process
(single-projection curing)

MovingLight® technology
(positional curing)

3d printer
*Figure E. Despite reducing the projected area by half, the curing of the layer is still less efficient than MovingLight® (see right).
*Figure F. Six projections to yeild a relatively high curing efficiency rating.

MovingLight® in Action!

3d printer
*Figure G. The projector, powered by a 1080p DLP chip, moves vertically and laterally to cure tile slices of the layer. Each projection delivers the same resolution at any point on the platform.

Conclusion

Because MovingLight® directs UV light based on the curable image areas of the layer, it is vastly more efficient than conventional DLP 3D printers that employ a fixed projector, whose position along with the projected area (the light exposing the layers) are pre-set before each build cycle. This increase in curing efficiency lends to faster build times.

Related blogs
MovingLight® Curing Speeds vs Conventional DLP 3D Printers
MovingLight® Resolution vs Conventional DLP 3D Printers