Resin 3D printers are another excellent addition that takes the printing technology to another level. If you need more details in proto-types or models, resin printer steps ahead. With the filament printers, resin printers enhance innovative moves and build a supportive era that provides strength in miniature creation.
How does a resin 3D printer work? People like to use these 3d printers for their professional or personal needs but do not know the answer to this question. Hen you have a clear idea of it, you can use the resin 3D printer with a safe and expert hand.
So, let’s learn the detailed processing of a resin 3D printer and make some creative models.
How Does A Resin 3D Printer Work?
We all know that there are two basic types of 3D printers- FDM and SLA printers. But we do not have an idea what are their basis. Basically, FDM technology uses different kinds of filaments, whereas SLA technology uses liquid resin.
There is a misunderstanding that many people think that the SLA technique uses powder resins. The technique is for liquid photosensitive resins that need to harden layer-by-layer by the effect of UV LED light. This resin is hardened to turn it into a plastic 3D model. This technology is named SLA or Stereolithography technology.
The most appreciable advantage of this 3D printing system is that these printers can print excess fine details at 0.01mm layer height. That makes the final product of premium quality. Now we will how to do this resin 3D printers process the models.
SLA printers are made with different necessary parts that support the stereolithography process. those elements or features of the printers are-
- FEP film
- A large tank with the Build plate
- Resin vat
- UV LCD screen and display touch screen
- UV acrylic lid to retain and block light
- Linear rails for the Z movement
- Thumbscrews for resin vat and build plate
- USB and USB drive
In this SLA printer, a large tank is involved to begin the stereolithography process. Here is the build plate set to spread the liquid polymer.
- At first, one layer of the liquid resin or polymer is spread on the build platform then the UV laser is used to solidify the area. Since the polymer is UV-sensitive, it hardens one layer.
- The next layer stays liquid. Then the printer’s platform is lowered, and the next liquid layer is set directly over the previous layer. Now, this layer goes under UV- laser and solidifies.
- In this process, the SLA printer creates layers one by one. After finishing the complete layer formation, it is removed from the tank using the supporting base.
In this process, the resin is used as a liquid material, and so, this printer needs to use support material to act as a holder of liquid till resin solidifies. Resin printers use variable photopolymers or resins as standard resin, transparent resin, mammoth resin, and gray resin. In terms of blending options, they vary as monomers, oligomers, and photoinitiators. The difference of the materials for resin printers comes from some factors, and those factors are-
- The required wavelength for the curing process
- Stiffness and strength of the material
- Exposure time for solidification
- The highest possible resolution for the final product
- Chemical and mechanical resistance
For these factors, resins are not interchangeable. You cannot use one type of resin in another resin printer type. The material must be the same for a specific printer.
How does a resin 3D printer work? Let’s know how to print on a resin printer step-by-step:
Step-1: Printing of One Object
- At first, you have to fill the resin tank with the resin material. It can be a manual fill or auto-fill system. In terms of manual fill, you should take proper precautions. You should wear hand gloves as resins can be toxic.
- Now turn the printer ON. This printer will descend the build bed down first and then build a thin layer on the bottom build plate. Then the light source comes and draws the pattern or design for a single layer. The effect of the light solidifies this layer.
- Constantly, the building platform moves and makes a new layer on the plate. Before the new layer solidifies, it sets on the previous layer properly. Some resin printer has a roller to go across the building place and make every layer perfect.
- This layer formation keeps going on one by one and sits on previous layers till the whole object formation is complete.
When the object formation is finished, you have to remove this object from the printer and post-processing it.
Step-2: Post Processing
Post-processing is a necessary step to get the perfect final product with some finishing touches. Besides, you have to clean the casing material that holds liquid resin. So, follow the point below and do the post-processing well.
Washing: In resin printers, there will be uncured resin leftovers. You have to clean it, first. To wash the object, it is kept on a base filled with alcohol or water. Sometimes, it is kept on a paper towel to dry correctly and then softly removed the loose leftovers using a brush or towel.
UV-Curing: The object is kept exposed to a UV lamp or UV light souse in this stage. If the lamp is not available, you can cure it under the sunlight. Actually, during printing, layers are exposed to the light only for a few seconds. That is why this post-curing is necessary to make the solidification strong.
Supporting Holder Removal: As the liquid resin is being used in the machine, it needs supporting frames or structures around the object to hold liquid resins. You have to remove these supporting materials. The resin material should not come off. This is a time-consuming process.
Step-3: Additional Post Processing or Sanding and Patching
If you want a perfect shape and proper design presentation in your model, you have to do some more post-processing like sanding, patching, finishing, painting, and polishing.
Sanding: After curing and cleaning, the model has some taps that need filling. Sanding is the way to fill those gaps. You can do it using the wet sanding and dry sanding tools. Though wet sanding needs polishing, it makes it smoother surface to object.
Patching: Sometimes, the resin is placed in models keeping it hollow inside. It is for cutting the cost of resin. But this setting makes holes. That is why you need to close those holes by patching. This is a manual process that uses resin or other supporting materials to close those holes.
As a finishing touch, you can prime or paint to increase its appearance beauty. You can apply some coatings too that help to keep the surface durable. There are lots of colors and compositions available in the market to paint these models. At last, polishing works well to give the object a glass-clear effect on its surface.
The interest in 3D printing techniques is increasing rapidly. People like to use them even for their home use or personal interest. Before using the premium 3D resin printers, one need to know how does a resin 3D printer work.
On this page, you already have a clear idea of how the steps are followed to use a 3D resin printer and how the printer works inside. As these printers use lights and resin products, you have to take some cautions and then have fun while making unique new designs.