Feb. 6, 2019
The field of high-resolution 3D printers continues to expand with the Zortrax Inkspire UV LCD Fully Assembled 3D Printer. Using LCD technology gives the Inkspire a leg up on other SLA methods with more speed, and more accuracy than ever before.
LCD 3D printing is based upon liquid resin photopolymers that react by solidifying when exposed to a high powered light source. While it is closely related to DLP (Digital Light Processing), which uses a digital light projector to flash entire layers onto the bottom of the FEP vat, LCD (liquid crystal display) use a display made of thousands of tiny UV (ultra-violet) LCDs that also flash the entire layer at once, at a later resolution of 50x50 microns and a minimal layer height of 25 microns. Because the photoreaction occurs simultaneously over the entire layer surface, the speed of printing an object is greatly increased over a single laser-spot SLA 3D printer.
The Zortrax Inkspire resin tank allows for a build volume of 74mm x 132mm x 175 mm (2.9 x 5.2 x 6.9 in) and demonstrates a consistent print speed resulting in a Z-height of 20-36mm per hour depending on the footprint of the entire print. The layer height may be adjusted to accommodate 25, 50 or 100-micron layers and sports a minimum feature size of 50 microns. The system is wifi enabled which allows for seamless migration and integration of source part files from design to final print. It uses Z-Suite which can be used with Windows, Mac Os, and the Zortrax Inkspire itself runs on an Android-based system that many users will already be familiar with.
The Zortrax Inkspire collection of resins and accessories gives the user a variety of options for their 3D printing needs. In addition to their own resin collection, which has dedicated settings included in the software, Zortrax has enabled the Inkspire to be compatible with any UV resin that can be cured with a wavelength of 405 µm. Parameters such as rest time or exposure percentage can be set manually and saved in profiles to be used in the future without having to go through the setup process again.
The advantages of the Zortrax Inkspire include higher print speed, higher print resolution, lower production cost, and increased efficiency. With print speed, only the height (Z) of the model matters. The model’s complexity, volume, or footprint do not factor into the speed. This also allows for the integration of multiple models in one print. Compared to laser-based SLA printers, the Zortrax Inkspire UV LCD printer is up to eight times faster.
In addition to the resolution and print speed of the Zortrax Inkspire, the touchscreen gives the user another easy access point to monitor, pause, change and restart prints at any stage. This helps save on resin, and time, and gets the user to a successful print quickly and easily. With WiFi enabled, all these changes can be made remotely with user support with the included software, Z-Suite.
The Zortrax Inkspire also includes one of the more cost-friendly options in resin 3D printing - a swappable FEP film vat. Instead of replacing the entire vat when it becomes too cloudy or scratched from use, you can simply replace the interface FEP film with a new sheet. This is a much more cost-effective solution and helps any users cost-per-print come down significantly.
Lastly, the Z-Suite software, included for free, is extremely easy to use once it is set up. New users are required to register the software online upfront using the machine serial number, which is the only sticking point in the whole set up process. Otherwise, Z-Suite gives the user complete control over every aspect of the setting of the LCD, in addition to being able to save profiles for hundreds of external resins for open source use you almost can’t beat.
The Zortrax Inkspire is one of the best LCD resin printers we have tested in the shop. From the quick, easy setup - the rook test print came out perfect out of the box - to the quality of prints, ease of use with external resins, to monitoring and ease of use, anyone would benefit from adding the Zortrax Inkspire to their 3D printing workflow as a high-resolution, user-friendly solution.
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