Overview of Practical Resin Properties

In this regularly updated post, I sum up the results of torturing various resins for SLA 3D printing. I have a very fine and functional mechanical model – a 1:85 compound planetary gearbox. The gearbox uses M0.5 teeth (half the LEGO gears teeth size). It is intended to be used with a brushless motor. The overall diameter of the gearbox is 38 mm. Here’s what it looks like:

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A Step-by-step Guide for the Perfect Bed Adhesion and Removing Elephant Foot on a Resin 3D Printer

In my recent blog post, I showed you that the resin viscosity and printer’s poor construction are the main reasons why people observe print failures. I also highlighted that the same phenomenon causes the elephant foot. However, I did not give you a step-by-step guide on how to work around it. I’ll fix this in this blog post, where I show you how to use UVTools to post-process your sliced files in order to get the perfect bed adhesion and no elephant foot on your prints.

I will show you how to get perfect results every time.
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Prints not sticking to the build plate, layer separation, rough surface, elephant foot: resin viscosity – the common denominator

When you scroll through the various Facebook group about resin printing, you see quite often questions about the following topics:

  • “my prints are not sticking to the build plate”
  • “my layers separate”
  • “my prints have a rough surface”
  • “I have a large elephant foot/squished bottom layers”
An example of all the problems shared in the FB groups. It is really not hard to find them.

In the first two cases, people often advise “increase your bottom layers!” and “increase your bottom exposure”, “lube FEP”, “sand your build plate!”.

But I think such advice is wrong and the best advice for all four cases should be “Introduce a light-off time”. Why? Let me walk you through a series of experiments and observations. It will be a long read, but bear with me – it is an actually simple puzzle just with multiple factors. And as we will see at the end, the same advice also applies to solving the rough surface case and also (partially) the elephant foot. We will also learn, that printing at layers thinner than 50 µm does not make much sense and it can actually degrade the print quality and precision.

Note that I have previously touched on this topic in my blog post Improving surface finish of hollowed SLA 3D prints: one aspect of blooming.

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Hand-on experiences with Mercury X Washing & Curing station and 15 USD must-have upgrades

I’ve been in resin printing for over two years now. I have always refused to get a curing station. I disliked the available solution and was happy with my setup of several Lock’n’lock containers with IPA and a simple curing box made out of IKEA Lixhult. If you are wondering why I disliked the current solutions, read the ending of this post where I describe my dream machine.

However, my containers got small and I was considering getting bigger ones. It was at the time when Elegoo announced Mercury X pre-order. I thought “Ok, let’s give it a shot”.

I received my unit in September and I’ve been using it on a daily basis. Current experiences? It works pretty well and I am happy about it. I wouldn’t go back to my “dumb containers with IPA”. If you would like to see a full review that lists all the features and gives you the basic idea, please refer to other reviews: e. g., a nice review by Thomas Sanladerer.

In the rest of the post, I will show you what I dislike about the machine and how I improved it (at least a little) to make it suitable for heavy and convenient usage. Please note that overall I like the machine and I would advise my old me to buy it.

Problem #1: Only a single cleaning container

This is the biggest flaw of the machine – there is only a single container for IPA & cleaning. Do you ask why you would need more containers? It is more economical.

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A better way of making silicone components using a resin printer: Injection molding for less than 50 USD

Not so long ago I published a blog post showing how I make silicone components. If you haven’t read it I recommend you go through it first. I won’t cover all the steps for making the components — I will just discuss the game-changing improvements in my setup.

You might be asking what might be such a game-changer that it deserves a separate blog post. Previously, I designed open molds and pour silicone into them. Now I have found a way how to inject the silicone into a closed mold.

Injecting the silicone makes the whole process faster, cleaner, and also, more reliable (no more trapped bubbles!). On top of that, it allows me to design more complex molds which can, e.g., make removal a much more pleasant process.

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Easy procedure for saving LCD on MSLA 3D Printer After a Resin Leak

Resin 3D printers are awesome, however, the whole process is extremely messy. Especially when an accident happens and the resin leaks from the vat all over the printer.

When this happens mid-print, it usually means one thing – the resin will leak onto the precious LCD of the printer and cure. This means one thing – the UV light will be blocked by the cured parts and you will probably experience holes in your printed parts.

Usually, the people on Facebook advise you to scrape the resin away with a plastic razor. This usually works for small leaks, but it doesn’t work well on large leaks.

I experienced a resin leak recently on my Elegoo Saturn. Scraping the resin was not leading anywhere and I managed to scratch the polarizer film on top of the LCD. Therefore I stopped and I decided to make a (successful experiment): use acetone to dissolve the cured resin. It worked flawlessly!

The method is based on the observation that resin softens in an acetone bath, but the polarizer film seems not to dissolve in acetone.

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Improving surface finish of hollowed SLA 3D prints: one aspect of blooming.

Today, I want to talk about an interesting phenomenon I noticed when printing hollow objects. A simple procedure can drastically improve the surface finish of your prints:

An improvement from left to right that can be achieved
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I tested how much moisture SLA printers resins absorb. How it changes them?

Recently, I discovered Resione resins. They have a wide variety of resins. They also have a series of tough and flexible resins. They also have an EU distribution center, so the resin arrives quickly and you don’t have to care about customs. Overall, the resins seemed nice. I might make a separate blog post about their resins in the future.

When I was working on a big project (blogpost upcoming, sneak-peaks on my Twitter and Instagram) I decided to use Resione M68 — tough snow-white resin. The parts I printed were thin-wall parts (wall thickness of 0.5–1 mm). They also have a lot of internal cavities where a liquid can be trapped. After printing, the pieces looked great! However, it was a rainy day and the air humidity increased up to 80 %. The next day I found my parts deformed like this:

It seems that the Resione M68 absorbs a lot of moisture and the large flat areas between infill of the component expand, thus they form bumps. So I took one piece and soaked it into the water for 20 hours and it even cracked.

It is a well-known phenomenon, that some plastics absorb moisture. There is even an ISO standard 15512:2019 for measuring this (which I don’t have access to, unfortunately). Since my components will be exposed to the weather condition, I decided to make an experiment to determine which resins would be suitable and which not.

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Tenacious by Siraya Tech – a Versatile Resin

Recently I got in touch with the customer support of Siraya Tech – my favorite resin brand. I love their Fast Grey resin – it is easy to work with, it is low viscosity resin, which is not brittle. The only downside is that you cannot easily buy it in Europe. I hope it will change soon!

They offered me to test their Tenacious resin – the resin I wanted to try for a long time. You can find a lot about the resin on line. But I wanted to have the first-hand experience.

The resin comes in 500g bottles

Tenacious is marketed to be flexible, rubber like with high impact resistance. The exact opposite you are used to with standard resins like Elegoo or Anycubic.

The resin is light yellow and semi-transparent. When you open it, it smells similar to Siraya Blu. The smell isn’t bad – to be honest, I find it quite pleasant. It is is a viscous liquid.

To test it, I decided to print tips of legs for a walking robot. The tips should be soft and provide friction for the legs to not slip on the floor. Since Tenacious is marketed as rubber-like, I thought it could be a suitable option. The resin was easy to print on my Elegoo Mars and the prints came out great. However, I was disappointed with the results. The parts were quite hard and did not provide enough friction. Even when I hollowed them to have a 3mm wall, a 2mm wall, and a 1mm wall they were still too hard for this application. And too slipper. Note that this is not the fault of the resin, rather my mismatched expectations. I revisited all the reviews and videos about tenacious and I found the cause of my mismatched expectations – when you see tenacious prints to be flexible, they are really thin lattice structures. Not beefy pieces.

My first print with Tenacious. Came out great! I used the same settings I use for Elegoo Grey
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