In recent days 3D Printing Resin suddenly becomes very popular due to decreased price of machine and material. UV Resin material type also improve significantly in quality as hobby consumer also need good resin for their 3D Print. Even-tough resin 3D print is not for everyone due to level of toxicity of the material, more and more type of Resin 3D Printing available in the market.
For beginner in Resin 3D Printing - UV Resin is different from normal resin (for casting) as UV resin uses UV light to cure and harden Photopolymer material and Normal resin uses other chemicals to cure and harden the material. So handling process of UV 3D Printing Resin is a bit different but it still resin that is Toxic in raw condition an further process is needed before it can be thrown for disposal. User also must use PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) like nitrile gloves and masker face cover since user not only handling resin material but also liquid chemical to post process the 3D Print result. That’s why this type of 3D Printing is not suitable for user below 14 years old. Even some material stated can be washed by water - water contaminated with liquid resin must be processed thoroughly in correct way.
A few years ago UV 3D Printing resin mainly used only for the Industrial segment - as recently day with more Cheap mSLA/DLP 3D Printer available in market - more individual users for hobby using this 3D Printer at home.
Here are main feature of Resin 3D Printing that needed by general customer:
Cost is the main obstacle of this 3D Printing since printer and material prices are not only cost to do this 3D Printing. Other costs like cleaning liquid, One time use of PPE, and other tools and equipment to post processing are required. That’s why price of the material is crucial. But now UV Resin for 3D Printing price is consider ‘acceptable and affordable’ to home user. On early adopted SLA Resin 3D Printing 1 litre of resin (around 900gr in weight) can cost about USD60-100 but now user can get good quality standard resin for prototype or hobby as low as USD20. With that price of material, 3D Printing Resin become very popular rapidly. For resin 3D printing, there are many different 3D printer resins at varying prices. Some 3D printer resins used in engineering are much more expensive than standard resins.
- Easy to Handle
Resin Material quality is another aspect that users want to reduce processing effort. 3D Printing Resin Process consists of a lot of handling time. From the Slicing Process which is quite time consuming, Preparing the Machine so can Print flawlessly, Washing, Cleaning Up and Removal Support until Final Curing. Good Quality 3D Printing Resins have low viscosity so is easier to print. The viscosity of Resin was measured in MPA unit standard. The Difference between High and Low Viscosity are :
High Viscosity: Difficult to Print, Longer Print Time, Tricky Setting but Good Mechanical Property of Printed Part.
Low Viscosity: Easy to Print, Shorter Print Time, more Fragile compared to Higher Viscosity Resin
Resin Printing Temperature also has to be considered as Resin cannot print properly at below 20C. So be careful print resin at Winter season, user must use VAT heater module or use heated enclosure.
Now there also Water Washable Resin available so it makes user more convenient. But still washing with IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) above 95% is preferable due to removal of Resin Oil quite difficult.
Some Resin also have bad color particle separation, and this is not good for long printing as the color will differ between bottom and top print.
- Toxic and Odor
Resin is definitely have bad odor and Toxic. But some product like SUNLU Resin - have Less Odor smell. User can use active carbon air filter near the printer or processing station to reduce most of this smell. It’s preferably the room use for 3D Printing resin have special ventilation or located near window. It’s not only the smell but toxic air caused by resin print fumes must also put into consideration.
- Expiration of Material
When looking at 3D Printing Resin - user will find an expiration date on the label. Yes, UV Resin material have an expiration date but it doesn’t mean that it cannot be use anymore after it expired.
UV Resin will keep their properties specifications when the seal is not open. But keep in mind - printing expired resin can cause failed print easily or the result will not be same by using current preset profiles. After opening the Resin bottle seal is advisable use it within 3 months as the resin is already exposed to open air and humidity.
- Type Range of Resin
There are few type of resin available in market:
- Standard Resin: This resin is commonly use for hobbyist especially for miniatures and figures 3D Printing because is easy to get and very cheap. The drawback of this resin is it’s fragile - the printed part/model is easily damage / broken when dropped.
- Water-Washable Resin: This kind of resin actually is standard resin but different formula which can be cleaned and washed using Water-only rather using white spirit (Chemical Stuff) - but to get best result has to be washed with IPA (IsoPropyl Alcohol).
- ABS Like Resin: This type of resin have good mechanical properties almost similar ABS after printed and cured. Unlike standard resin which is fragile and easily to crack and snap - ABS like resin more durable and have better impact resistance.
- Flexible Resin: Like it’s name the Resin creates Flexible stuff like rubber. It’s quite difficult to setting and print as when cured during print - the part is not complete hard but rather a bit flexiblity play in role. So it print speed need to be be slow down drastically. Curing process of this type material also another difficulties as warping caused by a little shrinkage.
- Plant based / Eco Resin: Plant Based Resin is new type of resin that use Plant based oil for mixing with resin. It’s only use up to 50% of Plant based oil so it’s not completely full eco friendly. But still this resin is still and new development in progress going since the result of resin is good in stability.
- Tough Resin / Nylon Like Resin: Tough Resin is Industrial Resin that has very good mechanical impact properties. It’s slightly higher in viscosity and strong odor. But it’s strong and not easily crack/snap when it’s bend.
- High Temp Resin: Another Type of Resin which can withstand Temperature at 170-190C (above 300F). This resin mostly use as mold or high temp application in Industry.
- Wax like Resin: Wax like Resin is Resin that has no residue when it’s burned in furnace. It’s a resin to create jewelry casting product. This resin also have high viscosity and tricky setting to get the good result.
Resin 3D Printer is very cheap right now and a lot of various of resin can be applied to those cheap printer. Industry will change rapidly with this affordable technology. Even it’s not too friendly and safer compared to FDM/FFF, Resin 3D Printer try to catching up with materials improvement.