In a typical dental environment, most users do not have the time to develop the technical knowledge and an acute understanding of how to operate 3D printers and handle the related materials. Therefore, having subsystems within the printer, software, and post processing reduces the amount of guesswork and limits the margin for user error.
Some of the typical operations that can be done by auto calibration are as follows:
- Automatic Z axis calibration – This relieves the user from trying to level the build platform and vat; this manual operation demands careful attention because any error can easily lead to misprints.
- Clean Vat – Most inexpensive machines require the user to clean the vat manually and sift through the resin mix to remove any debris. This can be a rather bothersome process which can lead to further contamination and a loss of resin when it is drained from and then added back to the vat.
A built-in clean vat function is a simple one-touch (actually, three) solution to cure a thin layer of resin that can be quickly and easily removed with a piece of stiff paper or business card, saving the operator 15 minutes or more of their workday.
- Precalibrated resins – Without having a precalibrated resin system on the printer, most users would be left with the arduous task of calibrating resins by themselves and using questionable knowledge sourced from online forums and limited tools. This all usually leads to suboptimal calibration of materials for both curing time and shrinkage. In a world where time is one of the most-valued resources, we estimate that it takes one person anywhere between 16 and 24 man-hours to calibrate just one resin. This adds up quickly when you consider the number of resins you use to produce multiple applications.
- Light Calibration – Most inexpensive printers do not have any function to calibrate the light intensity or uniformity of the light that is produced. This often leads to undercured or overcured prints which are ultimately either inaccurate or failed prints; Both of which are unacceptable to any buyer using a 3D printer for commercial use.
A well engineered printer ensures that the light is calibrated for highly uniform performance and provides stable, consistent performance over an extended period of time. This is the basic requirement for fulfilling any commercial use of 3D printers in which printing time is equivalent to the ROI.
Using a precalibrated resin system ensures optimal printing performance with plug-and-play performance. Most users are choosing to buy 3D printers that relieve them from doing manual production tasks.
What is one’s time really worth?
The real question is “what is one’s time really worth?” A dentist makes more money in the mouth than outside and making them perform calibration tasks is essentially turning them into a printer operator and undermining their professional qualifications.