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The best 3D printers are used to make everything from arts and crafts to heavy industrial parts. However, when choosing the best printer, it’s essential to know the various models and their specializations. Only then can you buy what you need. Below we’re going to compare two models that often get mistaken for one another: DLP vs LCD 3D printers. Then, we’ll explain why it makes sense that people often get confused and the crucial differences setting them apart.
If you want to keep reading, take a peek at our other content. We have articles covering everything from buying guides on the best resin 3D printers to articles comparing the differences between CNC machines and 3D printers.
Always wear proper protective gear and use a room with good ventilation whenever operating your 3D printer.
DLP and LCD 3D printers operate similarly, creating objects using a light source to cure the liquid resin. The light source projects onto the resin vat, solidifying the material layer by layer.
It sounds wildly similar, and that’s because it is. However, these two printers differ in their light source, impacting the machine’s print quality, speed, and cost.
DLP printers use a light that comes from a digital projector. It’s a highly intense light that sits below the vat of resin, and as it flashes, it cures layers of resin.
LCD printers are a much newer technology than DLPs. Here, an LCD backlight is used to project a handful of UV lasers which can cure selective parts of the resin to create an object.
If you finish this and want to know more about the various 3D printer types, we have more great articles comparing FFF vs FDM printers. And if you’re curious to keep learning about resin-based devices, we have one comparing DLP vs SLA printers.
If you compare a high-end model of either printer type, you’ll achieve better accuracy with a DLP device. LCD technology is less precise than DLP lighting. However, DLP printers tend to be more geared toward professionals and are expensive. Therefore, LCD remains an excellent option for hobbyists looking for a printer that delivers good quality.
Both print models are faster than FDM printers. However, DLP lighting is known to be some of the fastest 3D print technology available. Digital light processing uses an incredibly powerful projector that can format an entire layer in a fraction of the time it takes for an LCD printer to accomplish the same thing.
The resin used in DLP and LCD printing can harm human skin. Make sure to use proper protective gear while operating.
The greatest advantage of LCD printers over DLPs is the cost. On average, LCD 3D printing technology ranges from $200-$2,000. On the other hand, DLP’s begin at around $500, and the professional models start at $2,000-$3,000. However, the most expensive DLP printers can reach upwards of $500,000.
STAT: Resin for 3D printers costs about $50 per liter. (source)