As someone who has worked with 3D printers for over a decade, I’ve tried just about every resin on the market. And let me tell you – not all resins are created equal! The type of resin you choose can make or break your 3D printing project.
That’s why I’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you select the perfect 3D printer resin for your needs. I’ll cover the key factors to consider when choosing a resin, provide resin recommendations for different applications, and answer common questions about 3D printing with resin.
- Resin properties like strength, flexibility, and detail resolution can vary widely. Select resin based on your printer and application.
- Look for resins with 25-50 micron X-Y resolution for greater print precision. Speed resins cure faster but sacrifice accuracy.
- Standard resins only come in natural colors. Specialty resins offer opaque colors and effects for full color printing.
- Tough, durable resins like Siraya Tech Tough or Formlabs Tough provide the best mechanical properties for functional parts.
- Smooth, high detail resins like Siraya Tech Blu are ideal for printing miniature models or jewelry.
- Affordable workhorse resins like Elegoo ABS-like offer great value for terrain building.
What is 3D Printer Resin?
Printing resin is a liquid plastic that hardens when exposed to light. It’s used in a process called stereolithography (SLA) to produce highly detailed 3D printed objects.
SLA budget-friendly 3d printers contain a pool of UV-curable photopolymer resin. The printer’s build platform lowers into the pool of resin, and a UV laser traces each layer of the object, selectively curing and solidifying the resin.
Once a layer is cured, the build platform rises slightly to allow fresh liquid resin to flow under the object. This process repeats until the full object is formed.
Compared to FDM 3D printing with filament, SLA printing with resin produces objects with superior surface finish, sharper details, and excellent dimensional accuracy. However, resin printing does require some additional safety precautions.
Key Factors When Choosing a printing resin
Printing resin stands as a transformative medium in the realm of additive manufacturing. The resin, when exposed to a specific light source, undergoes a process of polymerization, solidifying layer by layer to bring intricate designs to life.
Various types of resins cater to different printing needs: standard resin is popular for its general applicability, while flexible resin offers elasticity to the finished product.
On the quality front, the resolution of the layers in resin prints often surpasses other methods, delivering smooth, high-definition results.
However, using 3D-printer resin also entails certain post-processing steps, such as UV curing to further harden the model and cleaning with solvents to remove uncured residues. Safety remains paramount, as direct contact with the resin can irritate the skin, and its fumes require proper ventilation.
With so many resin options on the market, how do you choose the right one? Here are the key factors I consider for each 3D printing project:
- Make sure to choose a resin that is optimized for your specific 3D printer model. Resins have different viscosities and properties that pair best with certain laser wavelengths and build plate materials.
- Consider the mechanical properties you need for your printed part – strength, flexibility, heat resistance, etc. More rigid resins tend to be brittle while flexible resins sacrifice durability.
Accuracy and Detail
- Higher quality resins allow for greater print accuracy and intricate details down to 25 microns. Lower quality resins may only achieve 100 microns.
- Many resins only come in natural translucent tones. Some provide opaque color options. Special pigments can add unique effects.
- Resin prices range from $30 to $100 per liter. More affordable resins usually have lower quality. Premium resins ensure better prints.
- Faster printing resins cure more quickly upon light exposure. But speed often sacrifices accuracy.
Safety Data Sheet
- Check the resin SDS for safety hazards and proper handling precautions during printing, washing, and curing.
Resin Comparison Chart
To help summarize the key differences between popular 3D printing resins, here is a comparison chart:
|Resin||Printer Compatibility||Mechanical Properties||Accuracy||Color Options||Cost Per Liter||Print Speed|
|Anycubic Basic||Anycubic||Brittle, low strength||100 microns||Natural||$30||80mm/hour|
|SirayaTech Fast||Most SLA printers||Medium strength||25 microns||3 colors||$65||240mm/hour|
|Formlabs Tough||Formlabs SLA printers||Very strong, heat resistant||25 microns||Natural||$149||20mm/hour|
|Carbon3D EPU 40||Carbon SLA printers||Very flexible||50 microns||Natural||$99||120mm/hour|
|MakerJuice G+||Wanhao, Keyence||Medium strength, heat resistant||50 microns||10+ colors||$59||100mm/hour|
This chart highlights how resin properties can vary widely. Let’s look closer at recommendations for specific applications.
Best Resin for Miniatures
For 3D printing highly detailed miniatures, like tabletop gaming figures, I recommend using Anycubic Green or SirayaTech Fast resin.
- Anycubic Green has excellent precision down to 28 microns to capture intricate models with sharp edges and points. It also has relatively quick 1-2 second layer curing times to minimize sagging. The translucent green tint allows easier support removal without leaving marks.
- SirayaTech Fast also prints details down to 25 microns, but has a faster curing time of 1 second per layer. So it’s great for more rapid printing. The low viscosity means low suction forces for easy support removal.
Both of these resins offer affordable pricing while still providing great surface finish and precision on small models. Make sure supports are optimized to prevent deformation on those miniature overhangs.
Best Resin for Functional Parts
If you need to 3D print durable, functional parts that will undergo mechanical stress, heat, or regular wear and tear, I recommend using rigid or tough resins.
Formlabs Tough Resin is my top pick for strong functional parts. It has an incredible elongation at break of 220% and tensile strength of 65 MPa. It’s also heat resistant up to 80°C. This makes it suitable for parts exposed to high temperatures like automotive, aerospace, and industrial uses.
If you need versatile strength combined with high precision, try MakerJuice G+ Resin. It has impressive elongation and compression strength while maintaining 50 micron detail. It’s heat resistant to 60°C.
For a more affordable but still durable option, the Anycubic Tough Resin provides great value. While not as strong as premium resins, it can stand up to stresses and daily use better than basic resins. It also has some flexibility to prevent breaking.
No matter the brand, look for resins described as tough, rigid, or durable for functional parts. The higher detail resins won’t withstand much abuse before cracking.
Best Resin for Jewelry
Resins for jewelry printing need optimum surface finish, detail, and color reproduction. My top recommendation is Siraya Tech Blu.
This resin can achieve ultra-high details down to 25 microns. It’s engineered to cure with a smooth surface that requires minimal sanding and polishing.
The translucent blue tint is also perfect for simulating gemstones and jewelry metals. When paired with a resin printer that uses RGB lighting, like the Elegoo Mars 3, you can produce full color plastic jewelry prints.
For gold and silver colors, I recommend Formlabs Castable Resin. It’s formulated to precisely burn out when you make a mold for lost-wax casting of advantages of metal 3D printers. The resulting casted metal jewelry has exquisite detail.
Keep in mind that resin jewelry isn’t very durable on its own. I recommend making molds to cast more rugged jewelry parts. But for one-off art jewelry, resin is perfect for showcasing intricate designs.
Best Resin for Terrain
For terrain builders printing wargaming scenery, RPG maps, model train layouts, or dioramas, you want an affordable resin that mimics realistic textures.
My top recommendation is Elegoo ABS-like Resin because it expertly replicates the look and feel of real-world construction materials commonly used in 3d printing, dirt, stone, and vegetation at a budget price.
The neutral gray color is perfect for printing concrete, asphalt, rocks, plaster, clay, and similar earthy textures. It sands impressively well to create weathered, eroded effects. The matte surface finish and layered print lines enhance realism.
While not as strong as industrial resins, it’s definitely tough enough for an occasional errant elbow on the game table. And you can achieve surprising overhangs and textures with angled supports. At around $40 per liter, you can print tons of great terrain affordably.
Resin Printing Tips
Based on extensive first-hand experience, here are my top tips for getting great results 3D printing with resin:
- Carefully level the build plate and optimize resin curing exposure times for your printer. This prevents failed prints and wasted resin.
- Angle models to minimize overhangs and enable easier support removal. Place heavy ends facing down to prevent deformation.
- Use nightlight UV lamps to quickly wash and cure printed parts. Avoid curing in sunlight which can cause yellowing.
- Let resin prints cure in UV light for at least 1 hour per mm of thickness. Insufficient curing will make parts brittle.
- Print functional parts with 100% infill for optimal strength. Hollow interiors are okay for decorative prints to save resin.
- Wear nitrile gloves when handling uncured resin. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean up any drips or spills.
- Store resin in opaque bottles away from sunlight and extreme temperatures to avoid premature curing.
- Never pour resin residues down drains. Cured resin can safely go in the regular trash. Always check local regulations.
Choosing the right resin is crucial for 3D printing success. Use this guide to match resin mechanical properties and print quality to your specific application. With so many types of 3D printing resin available, you can find the perfect fit for every project. Let me know if you have any other questions!
If you have any questions or would like to read more about benefits of 3D printing on demand, how to know ways for running a print-on-demand business, Kindly drop them at wlo-usa.org to get help. We’re happy to accompany all of you anytime you need.