cDLM: Everything You Need to Know

ETEC Envision One

Explore Continuous Digital Light Manufacturing (cDLM), how it compares to VPP, MSLA, DLS, DLP, SLA, LSPc, LCM, HPS, LMM, and 2PP.

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The world of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has been revolutionized by the introduction of Continuous Digital Light Manufacturing (cDLM). This technology stands out in the diverse landscape of 3D printing methodologies. In this article, we will delve deep into cDLM, exploring its intricacies and comparing it with other prominent 3D printing technologies.

Understanding cDLM

What is cDLM?

cDLM, or Continuous Digital Light Manufacturing, is a breakthrough in 3D printing technology. It enhances the capabilities of traditional 3D printing methods by significantly speeding up the process and improving the quality of the final product.

How Does cDLM Work?

The process of cDLM involves the continuous exposure of a photopolymer resin to a light source, which cures and solidifies the resin layer by layer. Unlike other methods, cDLM maintains a constant motion, which eliminates the layer-by-layer pause, resulting in faster production times.

#Patented CDLM print process by ETEC

Comparing cDLM with Other 3D Printing Technologies

cDLM vs. VPP (Vat Photopolymerization)

Vat Photopolymerization (VPP) is an umbrella term that includes several 3D printing technologies, such as SLA, DLP, and MSLA. cDLM differs from these technologies in its continuous motion approach, reducing layer formation time and improving the speed of the printing process.

cDLM vs. MSLA (Masked Stereolithography)

MSLA utilizes an LCD screen to mask the image of each layer. cDLM, in contrast, offers a more consistent and faster production rate due to its continuous process, potentially leading to smoother surface finishes.

cDLM vs. DLS (Digital Light Synthesis)

Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) is similar to cDLM in using light to cure resin. However, cDLM’s continuous process reduces the layering effect seen in DLS, providing a more uniform finish.

cDLM vs. DLP (Direct Light Projection)

DLP uses a digital light projector to cure photopolymer resin. cDLM’s advantage over DLP lies in its continuous nature, which speeds up the printing process and reduces layer lines.

cDLM vs. SLA (Stereolithography)

SLA, one of the oldest forms of 3D printing, uses a laser to cure liquid resin. cDLM enhances this process by eliminating the pause between layers, resulting in faster and smoother prints.

cDLM vs. LSPc (Lubricant Sublayer Photo-curing)

LSPc introduces a lubricant layer to reduce peel forces. cDLM, with its continuous printing process, inherently reduces these forces, providing a similar benefit without the need for a lubricant layer.

cDLM vs. LCM (Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing)

LCM focuses on printing ceramic materials. cDLM, being more versatile, can work with a broader range of materials while offering the benefits of continuous printing.

cDLM vs. HPS (Hybrid PhotoSynthesis)

HPS combines different photopolymerization processes. cDLM’s singular focus on continuous exposure offers a more streamlined and efficient approach compared to HPS’s hybrid method.

cDLM vs. LMM (Lithography-based Metal Manufacturing)

LMM is tailored for metal printing. While cDLM is primarily used for photopolymer resins, its continuous approach could theoretically enhance metal printing if adapted for such materials.

cDLM vs. 2PP (Two Photon Polymerization)

2PP allows for extremely high-resolution prints at a microscopic level. cDLM, while not as high-resolution as 2PP, offers a much faster production rate, suitable for larger-scale manufacturing.

The Future of cDLM in Additive Manufacturing

The technology behind cDLM, pioneered by companies like Desktop Metal, represents a significant step forward in 3D printing. Its ability to produce high-quality parts at a faster rate positions it as a leading technology in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, and healthcare.


Continuous Digital Light Manufacturing (cDLM) has brought a new dimension to the field of 3D printing. Its rapid production capabilities, combined with high-quality outputs, make it a formidable competitor against traditional 3D printing methods. As the technology continues to evolve, cDLM is poised to play a pivotal role in the future of additive manufacturing.


What sets cDLM apart from other 3D printing technologies? cDLM’s continuous printing process significantly speeds up production and reduces layer lines, offering smoother and faster prints.

Is cDLM suitable for printing materials other than photopolymers? Currently, cDLM is mainly used for photopolymers, but its potential for other materials is an area of ongoing exploration.

How does cDLM improve the quality of 3D printed parts? cDLM produces parts with fewer layer lines and better mechanical properties due to its continuous layering process.

Can cDLM be used for large-scale manufacturing? Yes, cDLM’s fast production rate makes it well-suited for large-scale manufacturing in various industries.

What industries benefit most from cDLM technology? Industries like automotive, aerospace, medical, and consumer goods benefit significantly from cDLM’s speed and quality of production.

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