DWS DigitalWax 029D
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on June 30, 2016 |
The DigitalWax 029D is a stereolithography 3D printer marketed at the dental and medical industries.

After jumping into the 3D printer market in 2005 as Next Factory, the company changed its name to Digital Wax Systems (DWS) in 2007. The company has been producing vat polymerization 3D printers for over 10 years, including stereolithography (SLA) and digital light processing (DLP) 3D printers. Based in Italy, DWS now has more than 30 3D printing patents. 

The DigitalWax 029D from DWS is a small SLA 3D printer targeted toward dental and medical labs. (Image courtesy of DWS.)

The DigitalWax 029D is a midsize SLA system with a build size of 150 mm × 150 mm × 100 mm (5.9 in × 5.9 in × 3.9 in). The “D” in the name denotes the fact that the printer is marketed at the dental and medical industries. DWS also sells identical systems for jewelry and industrial purposes—the DigitalWax 029J and 029X, respectively. As a medium-sized machine, the DigitalWax 029D can produce slightly larger prints than the 020D, but is still suitable for small- to midsize dental labs; however, it may not fit on a desktop like the smaller model.

The 029D, like the other systems in this series, can 3D print layers as fine as 0.01 mm and, therefore, can be used to create medical and dental models with very fine details. This is particularly important for 3D printing objects that can be cast into metal, such as dental crowns.

Objects printed with the DS series of materials are clear and are, therefore, ideal for creating surgical guides. (Image courtesy of DWS.)

As with other machines in the dental line, the 029D relies on a number of materials manufactured by DWS. These include a soft, tissue-like material for 3D printing gingival masks; clear materials for creating surgical guides; resins for 3D printing temporary crowns and bridges; a range of different colored polymers for 3D printing dental impressions; and castable resins for 3D printing crowns, bridges and frameworks for lost-wax casting.

How the DigitalWax 029D Works

The 029D is an SLA system and, as such, projects an ultraviolet laser at mirrors to bounce the UV light onto a vat of photopolymer resin; in this case, from below the vat. The system uses a solid-state laser developed in house by DWS, through the DWS Research and Development Centre. The BluEdge BE-1500C laser is directed at a galvanometer scanner capable of scanning at a rate of 6640 mm per second—faster than smaller models in the series.

Unlike the smaller models, the 029D features the DWS Tank Translation Technology. Meant to improve the overall life span of the resin tank and provide more efficient printing, this system uses an electromechanical unit to move the tank as the part is made.

The 029D is faster than material extrusion 3D printers, but not quite as fast as DLP machines. Still, it is faster than the smaller models in the DWS D series. With its laser capable of achieving 10 micron (.01 mm) resolution on all axes, the machine is able to 3D print objects with a smoother finish and more intricate details than extrusion 3D printers.

DWS also sells auxiliary systems for further curing prints once they are complete. DWS’ UV Curing Units “S” and “M” will strengthen prints, a post-processing technique required for all vat polymerization technologies.

The DigitalWax 029D in Action

Based in Taiwan, DETEKT Technology, Inc., is a 3D printer reseller, engineering firm and service provider. With a medically sterile space, the company is able to 3D print implants for local surgeons, while the larger 3D printing lab serves customers in a wide variety of industries.

One customer in particular designs and manages optical lenses for camera and surveillance equipment manufacturers. As computer numerical controlled (CNC) milling and injection molding were too expensive to prototype small samples, the firm began to explore 3D printing as a possible alternative.

In researching various 3D printing technologies, the company found that most 3D-printed prototypes did not have the surface finish or accuracy required. In turn, most parts required a good deal of post-processing to incorporate the print into a final product. 

DETEKT relies on in-house microscopy to perform quality control on prints. (Image courtesy of DETEKT.)
DETEKT relies on in-house microscopy to perform quality control on prints. (Image courtesy of DETEKT.)

Finally, the firm came across DETEKT and its 029D machine, ultimately determining that the smooth surface finish produced by DWS’ technology was ideal for its needs. DETEKT representative Yen-Chou Chen, explained, “Our customer also thoroughly examined the details of the plug we printed under a microscope and was surprised with the accuracy and smooth, high detail that the DWS machine can produce. The diameter and height of the plug are 0.3 and 0.25 mm, respectively.”  

A plug 3D printed for a DETEKT client inspected under a microscope. (Images courtesy of DETEKT.)
A plug 3D printed for a DETEKT client inspected under a microscope. (Images courtesy of DETEKT.)

Chen pointed out that the advantages of the 029D machine are the “high accuracy, smooth surface and high detail appearance” of the prints it produces. The key disadvantage, however, is the machine’s “small platform size.”

Manufacturer: DWS

Model: DigitalWax 029D

Material: “RF” casting resins (easy burnout, rigid and extra-rigid); transparent “DS” resins (standard for medical models and biocompatible for surgical guides); “RD” digital impression materials (in blue, light blue, light grey, light green, light pink, white and light yellow colors, as well as a separate “cost-effective” light grey material); Temporis for temporary crowns and bridges (in a variety of tooth-like colors); “GL” resins (available in a single shade of pink).

Build Envelope: 150 mm x 150 mm x 100 mm (5.9 in x 5.9 in x 3.9 in)

Layer Thickness: 10 microns (0.0004 in)

Printer Dimensions: 610 mm x 660 mm x 1400 mm (24.0 in x 26.0 in x 55.1 in)  

Printer Weight: 150 kg (330.7 lb)

Recommended Uses: The 029D is meant for 3D printing small, detailed objects, specifically for the dental and medical fields. Examples include clear surgical guides, temporary crowns, gingival masks, and castable crowns and bridges. The machine is not limited to the medical and dental fields, however, as the 029J and 029X are the same machine, but marketed for jewelry and industrial applications.

Machine Price: USD$109,000 (EUR€99,000)

Who Should Use the DigitalWax 029D:

The relatively small size of the machine’s build envelope makes it ideal for small- to medium-sized dental labs or those printing small objects that will be cast in metal, such as jewelry, electronic components and figurines. Dental labs may be able to produce larger batches of items on this machine than they would on the 020D.

Why You Wouldn't You Use the DigitalWax 029D:

The 029D is not designed for producing large objects or batches of objects. While prints made with castable resin may be used to create metal objects, most parts may not be as robust as those printed with extrusion platforms.

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