When reading the title, you probably think that this is old news. As Envisiontec -ETEC after the Desktop Metal Acquisition- already has a DLP printer named the Xtreme 8K. But actually 8K projectors are not really available, yet…
Why is a 8K high resolution DLP so difficult?
What manufacturers use these days to call it 8K DLP, is to stitch multiple projectors together to get a bigger image. The Xtreme 8K uses multiple 4K DLP’s and also companies like prodways and others are creating a bigger printing area by stitching images.
If you are really interesting in the technology behind DLP’s, this article about 2K, 4K 8K resolution 3D-printers and resins is worth reading. That article will provide a lot of background information on resolution and 8K imaging to understand this article better. The industry has been using HD projectors (1920*1080 pixels) for a long while. With the imaging industry growing, these projectors have been getting quite affordable. If you want to go from a HD projector to a 4K projector, you would need to have 4x the amount of pixels. As you can read in the previous link, there has been a lot of different types of 4K projectors and some are actually not 4K. What manufacturers can do is to add a small XRP device on the DLP unit and manipulate the pixels to get 2x or 4x the amount of pixels, by moving the pixels in each projection. When you use a 4x actuator on a HD projector, you would “make” 4x the amount of pixels and you would get sort of a 4K resolution. Now DLP manufacturers like in-vision and others, made true 4K projectors by actually making a bigger DMD chip (for more information on that, read the technical background here). This difficult manufacturing technology in combination with the lower volume will make these projectors more expensive. Perhaps with more widespread use it will become mainstream in resin 3D-printing.
Image by projectorjunkies.com: manipulation of Full HD and 2716*1528 DMD chips to 4K UHD.
How to get a DLP with 8K resolution for resin 3D-printing?
Well, it is basically the same technique they used to make from a HD image a 4K image. They can apply this XRP actuator on a 4K projector to manipulate the image and 4x the amount of pixels, turning it into a 8K projector. DLP manufacturer In-vision wrote a blog about it.
8K LCD / MSLA 3D-printers are available
If you look at the resin 3D-printer offering these days, there are already a lot of desktop MSLA / LCD printers that already utilize 8K imaging technology. For instance the Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K, Mighty 8K, Mini 8K, Elegoo Saturn 2 8K and Anycubic Premium 8K all have an 8K resolution. 8K resolution is already widespread available at affordable prices when looking at the LCD industry. All these printers use an 8K LCD screen instead of an 8K DLP projector to get their 8K image. How does this compare to an 8K DLP? At the moment we do not have a 1-on-1 comparison as 8K DLP’s aren’t available yet. But what we can say in general is that the imaging technologies between DLP and LCD / MSLA are quite different. The main difference is where the focus level of the pixels is. With a DLP projecting unit, the manufacturers can sharpen the image exactly on the interface were it this the resin, resulting a super print. With MSLA / LCD the pixels are sharpest closest to the screen. The more distance there is, for instance because of glass places, FEP film or any additional gaps, the image will get out of focus. We hope to make a good comparison between these technologies with similar pixel size later.
8K compatible resin for DLP and MSLA
With the introduction of the 4K and 8K resin 3D-printers, marketing also hits the resin market. For instance Phrozen is now offering a 4K resin and a 8K resin. According to Phrozen; “Phrozen Aqua 4K Resin is designed to showcase 3D models in high resolution and works best with the Sonic Mini 4K & Sonic Mighty 4K 3D Printers. With its special formula, Phrozen Aqua 4K Resin creates high-quality & extremely intricate 3D models with 4K resolution.”
As resin developer and manufacturer, we completely understand that a resin specifically developed for a printer can give great quality. The power of the light source from the printer can be fine-tuned to work best for the resin and visa-versa. This does not mean that if you run it on another 4K printers, you will get the 4K resolution. The resolution comes from the hardware in combination with settings that work well with the resin. With any compatible resin you would be able to get similar resolution printed parts.
We hoped this was an interesting and educational read. Please send us an e-mail at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments or remarks. We wish you happy printing!
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