MICRO PROTOJET – Competitor Analysis
When you examine key performance metrics like resolution, build area, Built Time, and up-front cost, the Micro Protojet has no equal among competition in the high-resolution printing arena.
If I were buying a professional 3D printer, this chart wouldn’t help me understand what really matters: how the part will come out. That approach doesn’t help customers choose the right 3D printer for their needs and, in the long run, it doesn’t help the professional 3D printing industry grow.
XY resolution is the most talked about specification for (SLA/DLP) 3D printers. In many circumstances, it also happens to be the most useless.
Typically, XY resolution is used to describe the details or features of a part. In the chart above, the XY resolution listed for this digital light processing (DLP)-SLA printer (25-250 microns) is amazing, but what does that number actually describe?
In all likelihood, it’s the resolution of the actual projector (which is why it’s a variable range). That number doesn’t really tell the whole story. Ultimately, there are a plethora of variables that can affect a printer’s output. By looking only at XY resolution, we’re led to believe that there’s a 1:1 ratio between the size of a pixel on the projector and the cured resin of the part.
Layer thickness is typically used to describe the surface finish of a part. While the thickness of a layer is often better at lower layer heights, the issue is that the roughness of a surface is not standard in relation to the layer height.
For instance, a taller part will take more time than one oriented closer to the build plate because there are more layers to print. Also, the way that an object is oriented and supported will change the time it takes to print the part.
The mistake that a lot of 3D printer buyers make is assuming that XY resolution or layer thickness will determine the accuracy of the final part.
The truth is that global accuracy is hard to determine, largely because it can be impacted by length, geometry, and orientation. Here’s an example of an accuracy statement for a large industrial machine: