Top WASP DLP is here: the affordability and convenience of top side DLP projection combined with bottom side projection

Top WASP DLP is a new technological solution for DLP 3D printing. It marks a revolutionary step forward by combining the advantages in terms of convenience and cleanliness of top side light projection with the high precision of bottom projection. As is now its trademark, WASP presents this innovation by releasing it into the public domain for non-commercial use.

Technical description

WASP began working at this project three years ago, running into several problems that had slowed down its progresses. A few months ago, as is often the case, an episode inspired the solution: the image of a film immersed in a liquid opened up the WASP designers’ minds.

In the Top WASP DLP the image coming from a high definition projector is directed toward a film that is immersed, on its lower side, in a photosensitive liquid. The print plate is initially laid onto the film and – moving progressively away from it – determines the layered growth of the high definition 3D print.

This mechanism solves the issue of the piece’s detachment from the projection plane, with up to 100% print success rates. Once the operation is complete, a special, watertight lid closes the vat (which can be replaced even during the printing process), thus reducing cleaning requirements and related issues.

Project Description

A high definition projector that projects a 9 cm wide image can reach a precision of 0.08 mm. Building parts with such accuracy is the dream of any technical designer but a good quality projector and resin are not enough. This is the premise that the TOP DLP project built upon. The image can be projected both from the top and the bottom: projecting it from the top on a plate that gradually lowers enable simple and affordable prints.

The question remains on why many 3D printer manufacturers continued to project light from the bottom. The answer is on Wikipedia, under “capillary action”.

Capillary action (sometimes capillarity, capillary motion, or wicking) is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, and in opposition to, external forces like gravity. The effect can be seen in the drawing up of liquids between the hairs of a paint-brush, in a thin tube, in porous materials such as paper, in some non-porous materials such as liquefied carbon fiber, or in a cell. It occurs because of intermolecular forces between the liquid and surrounding solid surfaces … in short the capillary action is due to the pressure of cohesion and adhesion which cause the liquid to work against gravity.


The behavior of fluids on a geometrically complex part generates errors in the shaping of the object when light is projected from the top side. The error is acceptable for amateur level approaches but not in the professional arena, where DLP precision needs to be fully exploited. This is the reason why all manufacturers have been focusing on bottom projections. The image is projected on the bottom of a transparent container after this has been made anti-adherent. The print plate is laid at the bottom and slowly raised, as the part “grows”.

WASP’s old DLP

vecchia DLP WASP

In truth, even this apparently simple solution is such only at first sight. An anti-adhesive surface is necessary, and it must coincide with the bottom of the resin container. The anti-adhesive treatment can be obtained by applying a layer of silicon on the bottom of the vat.

Normally DLP and SLA manufacturers supply replacement vats or silicon and it is the user’s responsibility to change the container and replace the silicon in the printer. This makes the system more complicated to use as the vat needs to be emptied and refilled, removed and cleaned. This means that the details relative to the vat’s replacement determine the printer’s end quality.

The part’s adhesion to the silicon layer is also an issue. In spite of the silicon’s anti-adherence properties, the part tends to remain attached due to the suction effect. With use the vat become more opaque and consumed, thus attaching to the print and causing a higher percentage of print failures, as the print attaches to the projection plane and not to the print plate. Low quality 3D printers can have failure rates as high as 50%.

The Evolution

The solution first developed by WASP three years ago was to use a teflon film instead of silicon, but this did not prove fully efficient. The film wrinkled up and ripped with use, the liquid oozed out ruining the 3D pritner. The difficulty in building a simple, functional and safe vat stopped the project, until the event from a few months back that we have described earlier, that is the image of a film immersed in a liquid only from its lower side. This allowed us to reimagine and design the TOP DLP in order to combine the advantages of affordability and cleanliness of top side projection and the precision of bottom side light projection.

At last, after solving the issues of the part’s detachment from the print plane, and those of vat cleanliness, WASP added to its new 3D printer a system to filter out the fumes, thus eliminating the unpleasant odor that lingers around photo-polymerizing 3D printers.

This new product, that will be released in the next months, aims straight for the top of the quality/price ratio and it is exactly for this reason that WASP decided to name it Top WASP DLP.

Top WASP DLP will be shawn in preview during the Rome Maker Faire – October 16, 17, 18.

WASP Top DLP - pezzi multipli9 pieces made in 15 minutes with Top WASP DLP