Appropriate solution for large scale printing

Hi guys

I (and the company I work for) are shopping for an SLA printer. We are attracted to the Phenom XXL for the size of the build volume.

I have fairly extensive experience with 3D printing (ran a 3D printing lab 10+ years ago - big 3D Systems SLA machine and such) and lots of experience designing /prepping geometry in CAD for printing in various machines/methods, so we have it covered in those arenas.

However that experience has left me a bit spoiled and maybe has set my expectations too high for what we can expect a printer like a Phenom to do.

We will primarily be making master patterns and molds for use in our production shop. Until recently, low cost, semi-pro SLA just didn’t have the size capabilities to make them useful for us - we just CNC parts or use a large format FFF/FDM 3D printer (which has its own set of challenges)

So we would typically need large, fairly accurate parts. I was excited to see the Phenom XXL announced!! So I thought ok, better read up on the state of this technology and get an idea for what sorts of challenges people are having with these machines, and what their realistic performance expectations are, and what their limitations are.

I’ve (hopefully) attached some pictures of some project parts that demonstrate what we need. These are personal project parts - can’t show company projects here without permission - but they represent what we are trying to do. The big yellow thing is a master pattern/plug that was printed in several sections, bonded together, is being filled/faired, and will eventually have composite molds pulled of of it. The orange thing is a section of a FDM 3D printed mold. Print resolution on both is pretty rough but we fill/sand/smooth all of them anyways. Obviously, this sanding /filling/ smoothing process takes a lot of time when trying to maintain accuracy.

The hope is that by getting one of these large format machines (the XXL, we hope) that we can rely on it to print smooth and accurate large parts that can then be joined / bonded together to make fairly accurate, large molds.

However, reading up on the issues that people are having with these machines (this technology, really), I’m not sure if my expectations are too high for what it can actually do.

On parts the size of that orange one in the picture - let’s assume at a 2.5 - 3mm wall thickness - with some gussets/buttresses/honeycomb stiffeners along the backside of the shell, or even hollow with a sparse-filling, could parts this size be reasonably expected to print without significant warping or distortion? Let’s say - overall part accuracy of +/- .01”? .005”? (+/-0.25mm? 0.1mm?)

Thanks for reading this long winded question/post. Thanks even more for helpful responses :slight_smile:

-david

Thank you for your support of peopoly products. If you want to connect to the printing situation of XXL, you can visit Darrell M’s Twitter. He has printed many large models, which may be helpful to you.
https://twitter.com/TheBrokenNerd83

-David