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A liquid crystal display (LCD)-photomask-based desktop manufacturing system that includes software and hardware configuration is described. The software design includes a slicing algorithm, an LCD photomask display, a process-user interface, and a motion control program. The bucket-sorting algorithm is used in the slicing preprocessing for search speed enhancement. The slicing time ratio can be reduced to nearly 25% with five buckets. The hardware configuration of this architecture includes an LCD photomask, an optical system, a z-axis elevator, and a personal-computer-based control system. The matrix optics assists the optical system design of the proposed RP machine. After the slicing process, a cross-sectional contour of each layer is transferred to the LCD photomask. The optical system emits parallel light upward through the photomask to expose and solidify the entire layer at once. This visible light can expose and solidify an entire layer at once, layer by layer, until the whole part is finished. We have physically demonstrated the complete system, including hardware and software implementation, and the experimental results are as what was expected and are described here.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2008