What is DLP Printing?

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Updated February 3, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder what is a DLP printer. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers, and DLP printers are a sub-genre of this category. A DLP printer uses liquid resin and a digital light source to create 3D models. So want to learn more about DLP printing and the advantages of this printing method? Keep reading to find out.


  • Digital light processing, DLP, printers are a type of 3D printer that uses vats of liquid resin to finish prints. Some feature a digital projector screen for post-processing.
  • Compared to other 3D printing processes, DLP models are on the budget-friendly side, making this a more common 3D printing technology.
  • DLP printers are known to boast quick print speeds and efficient multitasking abilities, with the ability to create accurate and complex geometric patterns via the resin tank.

Before learning the best resin for 3D printers, or the best filament, it is helpful to understand how these printers work. These printers make 3D models out of raw materials, even if you are comparing DLP vs SLA 3D printers. They use a variety of these raw materials if you are wondering what resin 3D printing is. Beyond the materials, there are many types of 3D printers out there if you are wondering what an LCD printer is.

Insider Tip

Have plenty of backup resin on-hand in case you encounter issues while creating complex 3D models.

What is DLP 3D Printing?

Digital light processing, or DLP, printers are resin-based machines that use a dedicated light source to cure the resin as they work to finish 3D models. They are similar to SLA printers (stereolithography) with one significant difference. SLA printers use a small laser to trace each layer, and DLP printers use a larger light to flash entire layers in place at once.

Benefits of DLP Printing

There are a number of advantages to choosing this type of 3D printer over every other design out there.


Resin printers are known to be more expensive than filament printers, as both the printer itself and the materials are on the pricier side. However, DLP printers are the most budget-friendly resin-based option at your disposal. The resin itself will still be slightly more expensive than filament, but otherwise, you will protect the sanctity of your bank account by going the DLP route.

Intricate Designs

Like all resin-based printers, DLP models excel at creating accurate and highly detailed designs, which is why they have found success in the world of rapid prototyping. The accuracy goes down with larger items, so DLP printers are often used to make replacement parts that are on the smaller side. This includes detailed cogs and the like.

STAT: DLP printing can be used to print extremely intricate resin design items like toys, jewelry molds, dental molds, figurines, and other items with fine details. Due to it curing the entire layer at once, it’s much faster than SLA. (source)


Like all resin printers, DLP models are on the faster side, especially when compared to their cousins in the world of filament. If you are looking to shave off a bit of time when printing, go DLP.

DLP Printers FAQs

What does a DLP 3D printer look like?

They look like any other printer that makes objects layer by layer, though you may spot a micromirror device.

What about the strength of the printed parts?

DLP parts are durable, which is why they are found in the medical devices field and by companies such as Texas Instruments. They create a single layer that doubles as a solid layer for added durability of the square pixels.

Which DLP printer is right for you?

This depends on your preferences. If you are making large parts, go for a large liquid resin tank to accommodate the needs of each print and to reduce the need for any post - processing. If you prioritize smooth surfaces, avoid entry-level models.
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