Road ahead

A project log for open-hardware transparent polygon scanner

laser scanner which uses transparent instead of reflective polygon

HexastormHexastorm 02/28/2019 at 16:500 Comments

I see multiple applications for the Hexastorm. I have explored  a vertical sales model where I cater the specifications of the scanhead to the needs of an industrial customer.  The challenge with this model is that industrial clients require exclusivity and there are still adoption costs.
This is hard as I also want to use the technology in different markets and have a preference for open-hardware.
Considering possible beach head markets (SLS, SLA, advanced ceramics, mircro-sla, bioprinting or CLIP-like, i.e. carbon 3D like technology), I have come to the conclusion that the PCB prototyping market has the lowest barrier for entry. 3D printing processes require multiple layers, a customer need which is best served by a fast illumination. This is possible but will drive costs. In addition, it requires some sort of layer application method which is hard to implement in the current setup.
The current setup is not ideal for PCB prototyping. It is not possible to cut out a board and there are some obvious safety and maturity issues with the current machine.
As such for a PCB prototype, you would currently need two machines which have to be cross-aligned.
I plan to address the first issue and will add a spindle to the setup. At the moment, I am thinking about a 775 DC motor with RPMs between 3000 and 9000. They are quite cheap and great for a first test. The software can then be partly copied from Machinekit or Zeller's BeagleG. Personally, I think t-belt will suffice for the x- and y-stage. The scan-head is already fast enough at low stage-speeds for a dual layer PCB.  Besides PCB prototyping, the developed software could also be useful for bio-printing due its ability to parse G-code. The problem with current UV exposure methods in bio-printing is that they typically rely on a non-precise UV light source for resin curing.
The mechanical design and dimensions have to be determined later.  Bungard sells the following board sizes; 100x160 mm, 210x300 mm and 510x1150 mm. They seem to be industrial standards. I think 210x300 mm should be feasible.
In the following, I would like to make a remark with respect to Carbon 3D and Nanoscribe. Carbon 3D initially patented Continuous Liquid Interface Processing (CLIP) see patent WO2014126837A2.  The company currently seems to sell it as Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology and makes a more general claim; an AM process with oxygen inhibition. Given my current knowledge of its patent portfolio this seems too wide. In the patent it claims that the part moves continuously away. This does not have to be the case.  It would be more likely given a laser-scanner that the part does not move continuously away. You could expose a line multiple times and cannot illuminate a complete cross-section at once. It would circumvent the patent and the resulting parts might still be more flexible and have a higher z-accuracy than classical step-wise produced parts.
Nanoscribe uses dual photon polymerization with a galvo scanner as can be seen from reference 1. Optically, the advantage of the Hexastorm light module is its telecentric projection. This allows a machine to stitch lanes accurately without a telecenric lens. As such, it could be useful for a dual-photon process. Naturally, this would have to be elaborated further with an optical design.