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Resin Printing Essentials

Author: Bahij Nemeh 

Resin printing can be daunting for newcomers. Aside from the printer and resin, a whole array of tools is needed to make sure you can properly clean and handle your prints. This article is a basic list of safety equipment and some helpful tools to have.

Essentials

Resin is a hazardous material to handle. If you are interested more about its toxicity, All3DP has an excellent article; you can check it out here. 

To safely handle resin, you will need gloves, isopropyl alcohol, and some containers. For those who want to go the extra step, I recommend a respirator and some safety glasses. Each person is affected by resin differently. I am barely able to smell it, and it does not bother my skin; however, the same cannot be said for everyone. The rest of my family hates the smell and claims it bothers them even in different rooms. Here are the products I recommend. 

(None of these are affiliate links, I do not benefit from making these recommendations. These are my honest choices) 

Gloves 

They NEED to be Nitrile gloves. Latex and other materials are not as chemically resistant, which is critical for resin. Be careful when picking these out; cheap gloves tend to tear. I always check the reviews beforehand and recommend five mil thickness, anything thinner than that seems to rip. You can get some from Amazon here. 

Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA)

IPA is needed to clean your finished prints from uncured resin. It's also necessary when cleaning your build plate, vat, and the areas around you from resin when you inevitably have a spill. I would recommend 99% IPA as this seems to do the best job, with 97% as an excellent second option. Some people recommend substitutes, such as mean green, but its effectiveness is controversial. I've personally never tried anything else, so I won't comment. I suggest keeping at least a gallon on hand, link to amazon here.

Pickle Container

These are great for washing your parts post-print. Whenever your prints are completed, they will always be covered in uncured resin. They will fill into nooks and crannies, covering up any small details you had on your print. This container will safely hold IPA and provide a convenient mesh platform for you to wash your prints. You can drop your part onto the build platform and dunk the mesh basket in and out of the solution to properly clean your parts. It is best to have two on hand, one for the first initial wash, getting the majority of the uncured resin out, and a second cleaner bath for the last bits lying around. I have an Anycubic wash and cure station, and if you have the extra money to spring, I highly recommend it. It makes the whole process of printing more enjoyable and eliminates most of the mess. We'll touch on this a little more later. You can purchase the pickle container here: 

Curing

After washing your prints, the final step is curing. After washing, your parts are still soft and delicate. They need to spend some time under UV light to harden fully. The budget option is to leave them outside in the sun for a couple of hours. But for those of you looking for something quicker, you can always grab some UV LED lights, a solar rotating platform, and build a curing chamber. Just make sure the UV light has a frequency of 405nm. Formlabs made a great YouTube video on a DIY $30 curing chamber. You can watch it here.

 

You can also purchase the LEDs and Turntable here: 

UV LED 

Solar Turntable

Some nice to have additions:

Silicone Mat

You can place these under your printer to catch any spills or leaks, as well as a work platform for you to remove supports and clean your prints. Hardened resin does not stick to silicone, making for an effortless post cleanup! This one is large enough to both place under your printer and perform any resin work you might need. You can check it out here.

Angled Drip Mount

 The purpose of this printable part is to save on some resin and make cleanup easier. After a print is finished, slip this adapter onto the mounting bracket for the build plate, and tighten it on the other side. You can keep it there for a few minutes or a few hours. This angle allows the excess resin to drip back into the vat. You can download it here.

Disposable Syringes

Disposable syringes have made my life significantly easier. I use them when transferring resin back into its bottle or alcohol from container to container. Rather than try to tip over the resin from the vat back into the bottle, I transfer it using these. It takes more time but saves you a lot of cleanup. You can get them here.

Funnel

An alternative to disposable syringes is a funnel. The funnel makes it easier to pour material back into bottles that have a small opening. Resin is relatively hard to clean, so I prefer silicone ones like this.

Anycubic/Elegoo Wash and Cure

While this is almost the cost of a printer, it is an invaluable tool. I have one of the earlier prototypes, and it has transformed my experience with resin printing as a whole. I used to hate printing due to the mess. It automates the washing and curing process, helping you contain the mess. https://amzn.to/3dbZnx5

Elegoo has also released its wash and cure, for a much lower price than the Anycubic machine. Unfortunately, they are currently sold out here in the US; as soon as they are available, I will update with a link! 

Printable Resin Vat Cover

 Another printable upgrade is this vat cover. I'm not a fan of emptying my vat. If I know I will be away from the machine for a couple of days or want to swap in a spare tank; I'll throw one of these on to keep debris away from the resin (and prevent it from curing) 

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4125301

Spares in case 

These are far from necessary, but for those who can't afford downtime on their machines, or want the peace of mind, here are some common spares to keep on hand 

Extra FEP 

This consumable is the separator between your screen and the build plate. This low friction material keeps your parts stuck to the build platform and not the screen. However, it is a very delicate material that can easily be damaged or torn. Even if you take good care of it, it still wears out over time. Most printers come with a few extra sheets, but I like to have even more on hand. https://www.amazon.com/CHPOWER-Printers-Optical-0-15mm-3-Sheets/dp/B081986849

Extra vats

 Depending on how often you print or how lazy you are. It is nice to have different vats filled with various resins that can be swapped. I'll throw a cover on one vat and exchange it for another. Just make sure you give your resin an aggressive mixing before using a vat that's been sitting. You can purchase them from us here.

Extra Screen

The printing LCD screen is currently the biggest downfall of resin printers. It's an expensive consumable that is a pain to replace. LCD screens are rated for different hours of life, but depending on your luck can last a couple of years or just a couple of days. Don't know how to swap the screens? We wrote an article on how to do that here.

You can also purchase a screen from us here:

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