Every year I try to "one up" myself by designing some crazy Christmas ornament. Last year it was a Christmas ornament that could play 90s christmas commercials on your tree. This year I had another crazy idea. A very tiny SLA printer that could print even smaller Christmas ornaments. I had no idea how I was going to accomplish it, and had very little time, but I went for it anyway. Check out the video to see what I had to go through.
When I started this project, not only have I never used an SLA printer in general, I had never even been around a printer. I have a good understanding of how they work. Place resin in a resevoir, lower build plate, harden resin on to plate in a pattern, lift plate, repeat. So that was where I was going to start. A lot of low cost printers use LCD screens to mask off the UV light that will harden the resin, I figured this would be the simplest, and most inexpensive way, to build it.
I wanted a decent resolution, but also to be very tiny. I settled on the 240x240 1.5" LCD by Adafruit. To drive it I would use a Feather M0 Datalogger(for the SD card), a TB6612 motor driver for the stepper motor(harvested from a DVD drive), and a whole bunch of 3D printed parts. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3311150
I also designed a custom PCB to hold the UV LEDs under the, and connect to, the display.
Once it was all assembled, I ran into an issue where the prints were not sticking to my PLA built plate. I discovered that most used anodized aluminum, I decided to try and glue a piece of aluminum to the bottom and drill some holes in it (to allow the resin to flow easier). I was amazed at how well it sticks to the aluminum!
On the second print I was able to print this tiny Youtube Play Button!
And after a bunch of failed prints(still working out the bugs) I was able to get this awesome snow flake!
I was doubting the possibility of this project for the beginning, but as soon as I saw those first stuck layers to the build plate, it all turned around. I'm really happy with the result and I can't wait to continue to improve this - although it may not stay in Christmas ornament shape!