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High performance, Double exposure 3D printing. 3.8cm per hour print speed, switchable 30 or 62 micron xy resolution.
27 backers pledged £28,571 to help bring this project to life.

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£28,571

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The next step in 3d printing, the Lightning 

The Lightning is a desktop UV DLP 3d printer. It's compact, quiet and user friendly. It can print standalone without being tethered to a PC or laptop, it has wifi connectivity so you can manage the printer remotely via a tablet phone or laptop. 

It also has an innovative double exposure feature, each layer can be exposed in two positions, doubling the available print volume without compromising on the print resolution (xy 62.5 microns/ z 20 microns)

Lightning delivers incredible high accuracy prints, solid durability, and great print speed at an affordable price.

Both the resin vat and the build platform can be quick released via a cam lock and swapped out, allowing you to quickly begin printing a second object while post processing a freshly completed print, or enabling you to switch to a different resin efficiently without having to empty out and clean the vat.

Innovative Resin Vat Built for durability and efficiency

Resin Vat
Resin Vat

We designed the Lightning's resin vat to be durable, instead of using fragile silicone PDMS we utilise Teflon FEP film, it has a longer lifespan and does not suffer from the clouding issues that silicone Vats do, allowing you to focus on producing fantastic prints.

The supported film allows for speedy release between layers and faster cycling which remains gentle on the parts being printed.

A Diverse Selection of Materials

Resins
Resins

We have resins available in a variety of colors the standard resin is tuned to cure at 405nm and produces hard and durable parts, it can easily be post processed and be filed, sanded, primed and painted.  

We are also prototyping a castable resin, it can be burned out without leaving a residue, ideal for jewellers, dentistry labs and others who make use of investment casting.

We will also look to develop other functional resin types to add to our range such as flexible or filled resins.

Lightning is compatible with a variety of third party resins on the market today (those which stipulate reactivity at 405nm) Makerjuice G+ and Funtodo SB have been successfully tested and work with the Lightning.

Creation Workshop - Prepare Parts for print

Lightning Will be supplied with Creation Workshop. Here you can import your models and prepare them for printing.

Its simple to change the size and placing of your models. Creation Workshop helps take the work out of organising your print bed, it can automatically generate supports for parts, produce hollow parts, and has a range of preset print settings for flexibility in print speed and quality.

Creation workshop makes the process of preparing prints for the Lightning easy.  

It also allows for power users to manually position supports and make finer adjustments to print settings, layer thicknesses and exposure times, this is open so those who wish to utilise third party resins can do so.

Parts so good you won't believe they are 3D printed! - Made with Lightning

9.4cm high 1882 layers at 50 microns layer height
9.4cm high 1882 layers at 50 microns layer height

 

 

7.9cm high 1580 layers at 50 microns
7.9cm high 1580 layers at 50 microns

 

9.3cm high 1873 layers at 50 microns
9.3cm high 1873 layers at 50 microns

 

 

6.1cm high 610 layers at 100 micron resolution
6.1cm high 610 layers at 100 micron resolution

 

18.5cm high 1847 layers at 100 microns
18.5cm high 1847 layers at 100 microns

 

18.6cm high 1864 layers at 100 microns
18.6cm high 1864 layers at 100 microns

 

4.3cm 436 layers at 100 micron
4.3cm 436 layers at 100 micron

 

7.9cm high 792 layers at 100 microns
7.9cm high 792 layers at 100 microns

The Vital Statistics..  

 

Lightning will be shipped fully assembled and ready to use out of the box.

UV Blocking Acrylic Cover

Lightning has an acrylic anti UV cover, while blocking UV it's sufficiently transparent to allow easy monitoring of print progress, It's hinged and does not require the additional desk space that printers with a cloche cover need, it has been designed to allow for maximum access so changing resin vats and removing build platforms can be done cleanly and with ease.

Innovative New features - Double Exposure Printing

Our efficient DLP Light Engine uses a 405nm UV LED as its light source. Other resin printers often use large projectors, which contain mercury vapor lamps, they produce both visible and UV light and a lot of heat. This is inefficient, noisy and also costly as these projector lamps average a lifespan of 2000 hours at a typical cost of £150 per bulb, an expensive consumable to be factored into the total cost of that type of printer.  

Lightnings UV LED light engine has a 30,000-hour lifespan, 15 times that of lamps used in other systems.

Our resin is tuned to most efficiently cure under a 405nm wavelength lightsource. Our customised projector hits that wavelength evenly across the build platform.

Light Switching  

During the process of SLA printing background light from the projector during the peel cycle can impair the quality of printed parts and cause the resin to gel in unintended places, in extreme circumstances this can lead to damage to the bottom of the resin vat and print failure.

Lightning avoids these problems, its LED light source is switched during the peel cycle, this is more efficient, extends the lifespan of the LED and helps to maintain high quality printing during large prints and over the lifespan of the printer.

High Performance with Wifi connectivity

The high performance Rasberry Pi within the Lightning allows for untethered printing and also for wireless connectivity for print management and notification, the browser interface allows you to easily connect from a smartphone/tablet or PC.

Full Aluminum Body   

Lightning is designed to be very solid and durable with a clean appearance, the lower box is constructed from dark bronze anodized aluminium the rest of the construction is made from CNC cut brushed aluminium sheet and plate.

 

Industrial Grade Linear Rail, Ballscrew and moving platform  

The Linear rail along with the ballscrew/ballnut are both crucial elements in SLA printers. They have a large part in determining the print quality, some systems use cheaper trapezoidal lead scews with delrin nuts or cheaper linear bearings, this can result in a wavy artifact to the prints. The Lightning uses a heavy duty linear rail and block it also uses a C7 grade ballnut and screw to ensure long life and high accuracy.

We've designed our own z-axis and a moving build platform mechanism, this has reduced costs while maintaining high precision and performance.

Starter Kit   

The starter kit provides helpful tools for processing your printed parts. It includes ...

1. Bottle of Lightning resin  

2. Two large rinse tubs to be partially filled with isopropyl alcohol (IPA).

3. Rinsing bottle to hold IPA for rinsing prints and clearing features of excess resin

4. Side Cutters to remove supports from your prints. 

5. Disposable Nitrile Gloves to protect your hands during cleaning and processing prints

 6. A Scraper To separate prints from the build platform

 7. A Work tray, the place to put sticky parts and tools, and to catch excess resin/IPA

Our Story

Lightning 3d is a start-up company, our hope is to develop new technology and bring innovative products into the SLA market.

So whereabouts are we in this project? We've finished designing a printer to be mass-manufactured, to get to this point we've built and evolved 3 previous generations of prototypes.

Above are two of the prototypes, both have differing build platform and bath designs. The design on the left has a sideways sliding build platform, we found a machine layout with back and forth motion allowed for a more solid design. The plastic cover opened up into a wedge shape which looked appealing but did not offer as much physical access into the printer as the current design.

The prototype on the right had a stepped resin bath on a lazy susan, after layer exposure the bath would rotate 180 degrees, the printed part can then slide away from the bottom of the bath with minimal force. 

This is effective but reduced the possible projection/build size . Further prototyping showed a supported teflon film bath was as capable and less complex. This allowed us to add a camlock system for swapping resin baths out easily.

Below is a video of our earliest prototype, it has just one axis of motion and the bath was coated with pdms silicone so would cloud and wear very quickly.

The prototyping process was crucial to evolving a capable 3d printer, each iteration pointed the way to a more effective design, cnc machining was key to efficient prototyping, in the production model most cnc work will be outsourced, during development we used our in house cnc machine to produce parts, with the process moving from CAD/CAM to milling, removing sprues and then to part finishing.

We also worked through several iterations of custom LEDs first trying a group of 4 LEDs and finally arriving at a cluster of 6 leds in the final design.

We have formulated and tested a variety of resins, established relationships with suppliers and third parties and we’re preparing to set up full-scale assembly and manufacturing so you can get your Lightning printer as soon as possible.

We will work hard to ensure that if you decide to back our project that we will supply the printer in as timely a way as possible, as a Kickstarter backer you will be the first to have our printer and will be buying at a discounted rate, you will be playing a huge part in the formation and direction of Lightning 3d and we're excited to see what you guys will be doing with our machine. 

Acknowledgements

My Thanks to 

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/chris_zabriskie/vendaface/05_-_air_hockey_saloon 

abridged music in promo video - Chris Zabriskie

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:33913  Big Ben Model - Mark Durbin

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:334711 Empire State - Piotr Katanowski

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:68070  Vampire Lord-Dennis Mejillones

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:602314 Hulk -X3RPM

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:602314 Hulk remesh- Doodle_Monkey

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7048 Subd Bracelet -Jessica Rosenkrantz & Jesse Louis-Rosenberg

http://lincoln3dscans.co.uk/mars/ Mars - John Bacon

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18177 Pipsquid - Andreas Boehler

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22051  Eiffel Tower - Pranav Panchal

Risks and challenges

Engineering

While the design of the machine is complete we are currently working on production process and assembly and also working through what will constitute our quality control process. Through this initial run of production, each machine will go through significant testing.

Logistics

Taking a prototype to production can be fraught with issues, especially finding the right suppliers and products for production. Overcoming these problems is key to delivering on our promises. We have been working for months establishing relationships with LED MCPCB fabs, third party CNC companies, parts suppliers and software suppliers, we feel confident in our plans and are eager to put them into practice.

Communication

We want you to be involved throughout the process we will keep you posted on whats happening and where things stand throughout the delivery.

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Funding period

- (30 days)