Chris, I built the printer. I have less than 1k in it. The most expensive purchase was the Acer 6510db dlp projector. It ran $607, but is considered one of,if not, the best. Makerbots are filament layering printers like my diy Prussa I3 in my avatar. Not really something you would not want to consider. Formlabs1 is an sla printer. That is, it uses a laser to cure the same uv resins that the dlp beam does. The B9 creator will go to 25-30 microns. Where it can get confusing is understanding 3d printing and these numbers. I may very well get to a 10 micron layer height, but that isn't really needed unless you like to wait a long time to print something. My engine block was printed at 100 microns layer height. The height is the z axis. x & y are the side to side and front to back axis. A filament printer uses all three. The laser printer uses all three. that is what creates a non smooth surface. It is also very time consuming. A dlp printer projects a beam of uv light that cures an entire layer in 3 to 6 seconds. There is only an x axis that moves. It took 39 minutes to print this engine block. I could easily add 3 to 5 more on the build platform and print 4 to 6 engine blocks in the same 39 minutes.
Doug.... Thank you so much for taking the time to explain it. That is awesome you built this printer for 1/3 the cost of these others out in the market. I have been eyeing a 3D printer because I think it would be awesome to have and print my own parts. But I have been sending my 3D models to Shapeways and having them print them in the Frosted Ultra detail for my 1/16th scale builds. That is so cool you can get down to a 10 micron layers. I might have to consider building my own printer one day but at the moment I really would love to get a mini mill and lathe so I can machine some parts. Do you have a pic of your printer you could share with us by chance? and from what I am gathering here is that the DLP printer is beter than the SLA printers. Looking forward to seeing more parts that you print up.