With the internet at just about everyone’s disposal, freely shared tutorials and videos have awakened many to the satisfying and rewarding nature of doing things yourself. DIY resin 3D printers have been a popular choice for creators for a while now, and for many different reasons.
- For FDM kits, we have another ranking of the best DIY 3D printers.
High quality 3D printers can be very pricey, and DIY SLA 3D printers have become more prevalent for those who want to get 3D printing, but don’t want to pay full price for a new machine.
While some of the best resin 3D printers are more affordable these days, this was not always the case. DIY resin 3D printers made waves in the 3D printing community from 2015-2018 as makers scrambled to avoid paying full price for a pre-assembled printer, and there are still those who choose to build their resin 3D printer today.
In this article, we will show why some people are designing and building their own 3D printers, as well as highlight some of the newer and more interesting DIY resin 3D printers from both professional and hobbyist creators that you can build yourself cheaply.
Uses of DIY SLA 3D printers
People from all walks of life have taken to building their own 3D printers.
Because resin 3D printers are known for speed and accuracy, they are ideal for both prototyping and creating working molds and projects for a variety of applications.
For example, resin 3D printers have been used in dentistry to save time and money creating dental models, and these costs are further cut with DIY resin 3D printers over pre-assembled models that cost much more.
For personal use, resin 3D printers are great for projects with smooth surfaces and intricate detailing, like jewelry, toys, and minifigures.
Why Build a Resin 3D Printer?
Just like computers, bikes, furniture, and even cars; people are often keen to build their own home additions and tech, provided they have both the time and the skill. 3D printers are no exception.
Of course, experience and skill is recommended for anyone who wants to try, but anyone willing to put the time and effort in will find DIY resin 3D printing to be a rewarding and worthwhile experience.
Resin printers solidify UV resins with powerful light sources to create models, parts, and prototypes, and are known mainly for their high resolution and speed.
While some resin 3D printers have fallen dramatically in price in recent years, DIY SLA printers can cost as little as $20 in parts. While the time and effort are costs themselves, that’s a price tag as of yet unbeaten in the world of DIY resin 3D printers.
Features such as as build plate sizes, portability, durability, and material compatibility are all customizable with a DIY build. Beyond simple modding, DIY 3D printers can be altered mid-build to suit you.
The best DIY resin 3D printers you can build
Peopoly Moai 130
- Price: $1,395 — Available on Matterhackers here
- Build volume: 130 x 130 x 180 mm
Affordable for those looking for large, accurate builds.
Compatible with third-party resins, allowing for cheaper materials.
Easy modification and tweaking possibilities.
Limited build space for larger projects.
Can be messy at times.
Born from a Kickstarter campaign in 2017, the Moai is a DIY resin 3D printer that found a huge backing in a short time. Available as a DIY kit or fully-assembled, the Moai is advertised as an affordable resin 3D printer kit for those looking for large, accurate builds.
The Peopoly Moai is also praised for its simplicity in both construction and design. Its compatibility with third-party materials and easy modification and tweaking possibilities make it popular with engineers who know exactly what they want.
Since its initial release, several versions of the Moai have been released after a few upgrades, including more durable frames and accessories such as upgraded build plates.
While still a DIY 3D printer, the Moai has a large following of many users with varying levels of experience and expertise. This means that peer-to-peer support, advice, and information is easy to come by and very useful for anyone who needs it.
Despite the Moai’s popularity, many users have reported the enclosed build space as being very limiting for larger projects, and have noted that the lack of a built-in air filtration or sealing systems as potentially harmful to a project’s success.
For those looking for a larger resin 3D printer, Peopoly released the much larger Peopoly Phenom in 2019.
The Peopoly Moai is capable of a layer resolution of up to 5 microns, which is incredibly accurate, far more so than any pre-assembled 3D printer at this price. Its compatibility with third-party resins also means that cheaper materials can be used to further cut printing costs.
Beyond hobbyists, the Moai is used by researchers for prototypes, and it can be used with biocompatible materials for medical uses such as dental 3D printing.
Overall, the Peopoly Moai is seen as a great (if messy) first step in the world of DIY SLA 3D printing. With enough time, work, and community advice, even newcomers will find themselves printing large, highly detailed resin models like pros.
For more commercially available resin printers, read our resin 3D printer buyer’s guide
For larger resin printers, read our buyer’s guide to large resin 3D printers
Not Just a Professional’s Game: Resin 3D printer kits you can build for cheap
Paulg100’s DIY SLA Printer Build
DIY resin printers are not just projects for professional engineers with crowd-funded goals, anyone with the right skillset and time can make their own tech.
Sites like Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube are full of creators eager to show off their homemade resin 3D printers. Some are more detailed than others, but posts such as this DIY resin printer build by XSimulator user Paulg100 are must-reads for those looking to build their own resin printer.
Paulg100, a dental laboratory owner, uses biocompatible materials with their DIY SLA printer for dental work, and has actively encouraged others to follow their listing. Thanks to the impressive accuracy of his DIY resin printer, he’s able to create remarkably intricate designs on a very tiny scale, something he was unable to do before.
With this build, you too can create complex and accurate prints of anything you like for a fraction of the cost of a pre-assembled 3D printer. If that doesn’t excite you, then we don’t know what will!
From images seen of both practical and cool projects made with this unnamed resin printer, the accuracy and detail look fantastic for the price.
For anyone looking for a challenging build that yields impressive results, this is a DIY 3D printer that should not be overlooked.
Arduino Uno: The $10 DIY Resin Printer
For an impressively cheap DIY SLA printer, Build Your Own SLA user mystamo outlines here their build for a DIY SLA printer made of very cheap parts.
While the concept appears too good to be true, the video below shows the finished project in action.
Peer reviews have also shown this to be a very impressive, if rudimentary, DIY resin printer. While mainly built as a resin test, the speed and reliability of this Arduino Uno build are notably eyebrow-raising given its tiny cost.
TristramBudel DIY SLA Printer
Wanting to spread the gift of 3D printing as far as possible, online builder TristramBudel designed their own DIY SLA 3D printer to share with peers.
As the name suggests, this build prioritizes resolution without sacrificing the speed that resin printers are known for.
Since its creation, this DIY 3D printer has gained a good following of fellow creators looking to sell their ideas, with one reviewer even calling it ‘a piece of 3D printing history.’
3D printing company autum3D even based their industrial DLP 3D printers on the build, showing just how much of an impact these DIY 3D printers can have on the 3D printing industry as well as the larger community.
And, if you’ve built your DIY resin printer and looking for inspiration, we have a list of 50+ cool resin models you can print (with download links).