DWS DigitalWax 020D

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Italian firm DWS has been manufacturing vat photopolymerization 3D printers since 2005, first with the name Next Factory, and then as Digital Wax Systems (DWS) starting in 2007. 

​With a print volume of 130 mm × 130 mm × 90 mm, the DigitalWax 020D is a smaller SLA 3D printer marketed toward the dental industry, hence the “D” in its name. Meant for less-sizable dental labs, the machine is desktop sized and designed to quickly 3D print accurate models with limited manual intervention.
The 020D system can achieve layer thicknesses as fine as 0.01 mm to 0.10 mm, making it ideal for producing objects with very fine features that may be necessary for dental procedures. For instance, when combined with intraoral, impression or stone model scanning, the printer can be used to 3D print crowns or orthodontic surgical guides.

To do so, the 020D can 3D print with the complete portfolio of DWS materials, including castable resins for 3D printing detailed bridges or partial frameworks for lost-wax casting, as well as transparent resins for 3D printing surgical guides. Digital impression models can also be printed using the RD resin series, while the Temporis line is meant for 3D printing temporary crowns and bridges. Soft tissue models, such as gingival masks, can be 3D printed with the “gingiva-like” (GL) resin
How the DigitalWax 020D Works
First commercialized in 1988, SLA is the earliest form of 3D printing technology, directing ultraviolet lasers at mirrors that bounce the light onto a vat of photopolymer resin. The 020D features a solid-state BluEdge BE-1500C laser, designed by DWS Research & Development Centre, and a galvanometer scanner. This scanner bounces light from directly underneath a transparent vat, curing resin along the X- and Y-axes, while the printbed onto which the object is fabricated lifts up layer by layer in the Z-axis.
The 020D is capable of 10 micron (0.1 mm) resolution on all axes and scanning the X- and Y-axes at a quick rate of 5100 mm per second. Though SLA may not be as fast as other photopolymerization processes, such as DLP, it is much faster than extrusion processes, and the use of a laser allows for very fine details and a smoother finish compared to extrusion.
Once a print is complete, it must be further cured with UV light in a separately sold device to further strengthen the print. DWS sells two such systems, UV Curing Unit “S” and “M.” Photopolymers, however, do not have an infinite shelf life, and prints may eventually degrade over time, particularly when exposed to sunlight.
The DigitalWax 020D in Action
Led by CEO Peter Chiu, DETEKT Technology Inc. is a 3D printing engineering firm and 3D printer reseller based in Taipei, Taiwan. As such, the firm serves a number of customers in a variety of fields throughout the region. One such customer was, according to DETEKT representative Yen-Chou Chen, “a very famous orthopedist” in Taiwan.
Primarily, the orthopedic surgeon uses 3D modeling to plan his procedures and 3D printing to produce surgical guides for the actual operations, relying entirely on 3D printing services performed by DETEKT with DWS machines for this process. Due to the ease with which prints can be initiated and the relatively limited post-processing required, DETEKT is able to produce guides for the surgeon quickly. DWS’ transparent “DS” resins can be sterilized in an autoclave and, according to DETEKT, are clearer than other similar materials.

Prior to implementing the use of 3D printing in his practice, the orthopedic surgeon was capable of performing up to three surgeries per week. However, by taking advantage of 3D models to plan his procedures and 3D-printed surgical guides in the operating room, he is now able to perform five to eight surgeries per week.

“The DWS system has many parameters that can be changed based on different customer requirements,” Chen explained.“Materials are not limited, so a customer can try different materials depending on their needs. The DWS system can also effectively reduce material waste over other kinds of 3D printers without any other annual maintenance, so that helps us (the service provider) save costs, even when building a part for an emergency job. It also helps our customers have greater flexibility to plan their surgery date.”
Chen points out that the overall advantages of the 020D are the “low annual maintenance, easy pre- and post-process treatment, wide variety of parameters that can be controlled, and very low material waste,” while the biggest disadvantage is the machine’s “small platform size.”
Manufacturer: DWS
Model: DigitalWax 020D
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: 130 mm × 130 mm × 90 mm (5.1 in × 5.1 in × 3.5 in)
Layer Thickness: 10 microns (0.0004 in)
Printer Dimensions: 380 mm × 515 mm × 810 mm (15.0 in × 20.3 in × 31.9 in)
Printer Weight: 58 kg (127.9 lb)
Recommended Uses: It works best for 3D printing small, detailed objects, particularly for the dental and medical fields, such as castable crown and bridge models, transparent surgical guides, gingival masks and temporary crowns.
Who Should Use the DigitalWax 020D:
For its relatively low cost, highly detailed prints, and small build volume, the DigitalWax 020D is ideal for small medical and dental labs that may not need to 3D print large batches or large-sized objects. Resins tailored for this machine, such as castable and transparent materials, make it better suited for medical and dental professionals over jewelry, industrial, and electronics applications.
Why You Wouldn't You Use the DigitalWax 020D:
The DigitalWax 020D will not be suitable for larger businesses that need to 3D print numerous or large objects in a single print job. Though fast, the printer may not be as fast as DLP machines, and parts printed with the 020D will not be as strong as those printed with other methods.

About Michael Molitch-Hou
Michael Molitch-Hou is the Editor of ENGINEERING.comÆs 3D printing section. Michael previously served as Editor-in-Chief of 3D Printing Industry and has covered additive manufacturing technology day in and day out since 2012 and has hundreds of article to his credit. He is the founder of The Reality Institute.