“3D printing” is a general term that encompasses many different additive manufacturing processes. The 3D printing process most people are familiar with is fused-filament fabrication (FFF), in which thermoplastic is melted and extruded in layers to form a part. While several other processes are used in professional 3D printers, the only other process that is common in the hobbyist world is stereolithography (SLA). Resin 3D printers that utilize the SLA process produce much better fine detail, but they tend to be more expensive than FFF 3D printers. To compensate for that, the new Lite3DP S1 resin 3D printer is as small as possible and is based on an Arduino.
SLA printing can actually refer to a few different technologies. The original stereolithography technology, which was actually the very first patented 3D printing process, used a laser to cure photosensitive resin. The Lite3DP S1 has much more affordable and common masked stereolithography (MSLA) technology. MSLA works by shining bright UV LEDs through an LCD screen that blocks the light from reaching the portions of the resin that shouldn’t be cured. The quality, or XY resolution, is largely a function of the resolution of the LCD screen used and the size of that screen. The Lite3DP S1 has an XY resolution of 0.14mm. That isn’t anything to write home about, but the resulting detail is likely better than what your FFF 3D printer can achieve.
The trade-off with most SLA 3D printers, when compared to FFF 3D printers, is that the build volume is small. That is even truer for the Lite3DP S1, which can fit in the palm of your hand. Its build volume is a mere 45.1 x 33.8 x 70 mm (1.78 x 1.33 x 2.76 inches), which is just a fraction of even the smallest FFF 3D printers. But if you care about detail more than size, the Lite3DP S1 could still be a viable option for you. It’s open source and the controller is based on an Arduino Pro Mini. It rides on precision linear Z axis rail and the build platform is attached magnetically with a single knob used for leveling. The Lite3DP S1 works with all brands of 405 nm UV resins, so you can save money by shopping around.
The Lite3DP S1 is now funding on Crowd Supply, price at $89 for a complete kit.