With the advent of a never-ending era of technology, 3D printing has so far made an impactful place in our respective lives. Nowadays, 3D printers are easily available in the market and considerably price-efficient also. However, a completely different printer, Resin 3D printer, has entered our lives other than many conventional 3D printers. 3D resin printing is quite popular because it creates more complex objects using relatively fewer materials.
What Is Resin 3D Printer?
A 3D resin printer cures liquid photopolymers layer by layer into a solid material. The photopolymerization concept is used to create objects. Photopolymerization is a process where liquid material changes its properties when UV light or laser is applied to it to stiffen the thing. A liquid resin turns solid when subjected to a proper wavelength of light.
The material is usually stored in a vat or a resin tank. A UV light is drawn into every layer of the plastic, which is matched to the exact wavelength so that plastic can be hardened. The resin resides in a vat, and with the UV light underneath the vat, the build plate is put upside down.
There are a few bit fundamental differences between resin 3D printers and FDM printers. Most basically, the material is a liquid resin other than a bobbin of filament. A precision light source is implemented to form every layer on top of the last one till the finished model is pulled from the resin vat.
Know Your Resin Precisely
The resin used in 3D printers is a synthetic resin that is nothing but ultraviolet cured liquid materials. SLA 3D printers, as well as DLP 3D printers, use such materials. A beam of laser is cured to transform photosensitive resin into a solid model for the printing machine. Materials are exposed to a 3D printer specifically to cure resins. This methodology is highly responsive to producing objects with the best grade detailing and features attached to them.
The resin consists of multiple material properties, making it easier to use the perfect resin for what we desire. It is obvious to reckon that resin 3D printers cure liquid-based materials. Such resins are most frequently used in the printing process. Different types of ultraviolet resin types are used in 3D printing:
This is the most commonly used resin applied in almost every application that can print 3D objects. The standard resins are translucent types since it is most sensitive to ultraviolet light. Traditional resins are responsible for printing quality objects that should be tough and solid with a dash of slippery feel. These resins are also easily available in the market.
Flexible resin types are not only supple but durable also. These resins are responsible for creating rubber-like material and provide greater flexibility. Bendable designing uses flexible resins despite keeping their form through a wide variety of deformations, making it easier to use.
Tough resins have almost nearly mechanical specifications of ABS plastic due to their highly hardened attributes. These resins are implemented in the tougher part of the machine, which is extremely precise to stress without disfiguring the hardware.
These materials are used in professional workshops, the engineering sector, and small-scale production. These resins are typically more resistant than standard resins.
Mold makers and jewelers generally use such kinds of resins. These resins are used to create high-precision structures so that master models can be built. So, many printers for the jewelry market require such sort of resin.
These resins with ceramic additives create prints in the objects and make an impression that the things are made from actual ceramics. This is the beauty of such 3D printing that the printed object feels like ceramic without showing the mechanical properties of the ceramics. This type of resins is hugely popular nowadays.
Medical Grade Resin
These materials are used in the dental sector as well as the audiology sector for end-user products. While forming an object, one can expect that these resins should be resistant to wear. Such kinds of waxes are always required as the medical sector is always flourishing.
How Resin 3D Printers Form An Object
Resin 3D printers are used to create an object normally or upside down. It all depends on the fact that how the materials are positioned inside the machine. This liquid resin is kept in a reservoir.
The resin printer uses a build platform to print the model, but it is generally upside down. The platform is pulled out of the resin reservoir as each layer is formed. The resin is by default light-sensitive and cures when exposed to light.
Resin 3D printers are made up of a light source that builds a platform or builds a plate where the object is formed in a resin reservoir. Print adhesion and supporting structures can be an important aspect of resin printers having an upside-down orientation.
Upside down orientation is commonly applied on desktop printing machines because of its easier access and implementation and without losing the printing quality.
How Does Resin 3D Printer Work
Resin 3D printers don’t use powder or filament for printing; instead, the resin vat is filled with resin material manually or automatically. As some resins may be hazardous, one should be extra cautious to avoid eye contact while filling.
A light source like a UV laser beam is applied to solidify the part of the layers of 3D print. The rest amount of the material stays liquid in the machine. These devices are used to build platforms down or lift to construct a thin layer of resin. The platform is followed by drawing the next resin layer directly above the last one.
The methodology is applied till the object is formed completely. The material is removed from the machine for post-processing after the completion of the printing. This is how the resin 3D printing process works.
The following article deals with one of the most commonly used resin-based 3D printing technology named Stereolithography (SLA ) 3D Printing, and you will get to know how it works:
How Do SLA 3D Printers Work
Stereolithography (SLA) is a printing technology in which liquid plastic is used as the source object and eventually transformed into a 3D object layer by layer. SLA 3D printer is made up of four primary parts: a UV laser, a tank that is filled with liquid plastic (photopolymer), a pierced platform that is downgraded into the resin tank, and a computer managing the laser and the platform.
- In a desktop SLA 3D printer, the liquidized resin is put down in a resin tank that contains a transparent and non-sticky bottom. The printing process starts immediately after this process.
- The build platform downgrades into a resin tank where the layer’s height lies between the build platform and the bottom of the tank. This situation implicates that there should be no room for space.
- UV laser points at two mirror galvanometers which focus the light upward through the bottom of the tank that is eventually applied to cure the liquid resin.
- The cured layer then gets alienated from the bottom of the tank, and the build platform moves up to the fresh SLA resins flowing under it.
- This rigid structure of the material is continuously pulled up using a lifting platform as the laser forms a single pattern for each layer to create the specific shape of the 3D object. The process is repeated until the SLA 3D printing is complete.
SLA printers provide the materials with the desired toughness as UV laser is the most authentic light source used. The absence of a thermal rise in the fusion of the layers makes it suitable for various prototypes.
Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) technology is highly regarded as the next level of SLA 3D printing. Laser optics are encapsulated in a Light Processing Unit (LPU). LFS 3D printing considerably delimits the forces implied on parts while printing the object.
This highly advanced printer consists of a concrete tank and linear irradiation to deliver accurate print quality and surface accuracy. Lower print forces support structures that tear away easily, and hence the entire process opens up the infinite door for the futuristic development and production of advanced materials.
SLA 3D printers are relatively more expansive than DLP 3D printers. However, prices have dropped considerably in recent years, which makes this technology widely accessible today. SLA printing is largely popular for precise, smooth, and better quality printing with a dash of fine detailing and fast printing.
How Do DLP 3D Printers Work
DLP 3D printing technology is almost similar to SLP 3D printing, but it differs by using different light sources and liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. This technique emphasizes the use of micro-mirrors to control the light focused on the surface of the printing object.
The liquid crystal display panel is a substitute for a photomask. This whole architecture allows a large amount of light projected onto the machine’s surface to be cured, allowing the resin to harden instantly.
- DLP technology uses a projector as a light source in which projected light affects the entire resin tray only once. A digital micro-mirror device (DMD) is being set between the projector and the resin.
- DMD consists of several microscopic mirrors which one can easily control and activate individually.
- The mirrors directing the light towards the bottom of the tank define the coordinates where the liquid resin is cured within the layer.
- 3D layer is formed from small rectangular cubes, which is nothing but the composition of images on a digital screen. When at an inactive state, a DMD reflects the light towards the resin, which cures it.
Therefore, a certain kind of mask is produced to harden the resin of the desired model. DLP 3D printer provides better printing than FDM printers, giving DLP printer more edge over the latter one.
Types of Post-Processing Required By Resin Printers
Resin 3D printing is a technology that always requires post-processing. However, in other 3D printing technology, such post-processing is not required, but post-processing in resin printing is a must-go. The most basic post-processing steps for a newly printed object are:
This process is most importantly used to remove uncured resin remaining from a 3D print. To achieve this process, images are put into alcohol, water, and left to dry on paper towels. Washing of such resins should be done very smoothly and carefully.
Resin printing needs support to catch an object and put it back on a build plate to prevent falling. This process removes all supporting structures from an object. Such supports are quite easy to remove but a bit time-consuming process. Objects are supposed to be wiped with isopropyl alcohol in the removing process.
This is one of the important post-processing steps after printing. After 3D printing, curing is a process where prints are exposed to sunlight to fortify them better. In 3d resin printing machines, since each layer is exposed to light for several seconds, one must cure it to achieve the goal.
Sanding involves dry sanding tools and wet sanding tools. Wet sanding is used to give a polished surface to a print object. This process removes taps from the support area of the thing, making the surface smooth and shiny.
This process is used for patching the escape hole of the print. It deducts the cost of photopolymers used in printing. The patching process ensures that models can be designed as hollow. Gaps are manually closed with resin so that the structure and appearance can be improved precisely.
Polishing using special components ensures that the surface is clearer and smoother to bring back transparency. Processes in polishing are done either manually or with special machines used in print. These machines are available in markets ranging from semi-automatic units to industrial setups.
The finishing process includes encapsulation of the product to reinforce the materials and hide deformities. Also, one can do a priming process that prepares a surface to receive a fresh coat of paint used in it.
Coating of resins is considered necessary to restrain material from degrading and over curing. This process is also an important aspect of the post-processing of resin 3D printing.
Where You Can Use Resin 3D Printers
Resin 3D printing is quite popular in applications with various materials and technologies appropriate for many industries. Normally such kind of printing revolves around applications having a good amount of digitization and exquisitely smooth surfaces. Although one can use resin 3D printing in multiple industries, most notably, it is used in these sectors:
Resin 3D printing is hugely demanding for tabletop miniature manufacturing. This miniature printing process is quite beneficial for gaming enthusiasts and toy collectors. Miniatures can be served as a model for manufacturing a casting mold. Miniatures and toy prototypes are created by using resin printers.
Resin 3D printing and technology for jewelry making are hugely popular and highly demanding. By using castable resins, precise and smooth products are produced in a short period.
Such prints are sent directly to casting makers to produce the outcome of the jewelry. It is also used for making the mold having multiple parts in the machine.
Animation And Props
CGI is a relatively new technology used in visual graphics, movies, and animations other than props and real action prototypes which are still in action.
Various kinds of 3D printing technologies are there that work for such industries. Vat polymerization is one of these techniques for small and detailed props. Animators, movie makers, and toy-makers use it for better quality products for their respective designs.
Both training models and end-use devices use a 3D resin printing process. Custom-made dental methodologies are printed from a bio-compatible resin. Every dental correcting device is custom made, consisting of extremely fine detail of steps.
Resin 3D printers can create custom-made objects with the use of CAD-compatible software. Resin printing in the dentistry field is now quite evolved. Industry can expect reaping higher profits through cost savings by using these resin 3D printers.
Product Development & Prototyping
Resin 3D printers are responsible for creating objects of various kinds of large product development and prototyping also. Prototypes and developed models should be precise and impactful. Resin printing technologies such as PolyJet creates multi-colored and textured object instantly.
Products with complex textures use such a method of printing. Also, MJ, a resin 3D printing-based technology, is gaining popularity due to its high precision and quality printing used in high-level product development.
Choose Your Budget-Friendly Resin 3D Printer.
The market is filled with many budget-friendly resin 3D printers these days. Since resin 3D printing produces remarkably great printing with a considerably short period, there is a lot of competition between the manufacturers to provide the best resin 3D printer to the customers.
In this listicle, you can have a look for one of the best affordable resin 3D printing machines available on the market.
Elegoo Mars is the most basic budget-friendly resin 3D printer that prints the same quality, just like today’s successive machines. That’s why this resin printer is still the hot cake due to its simple operational work and accessible print preparation. Elegoo photopolymer resin is specifically designed to reduce volume shrinking during the curing process so that the print model can ensure high precision with a smooth finish.
Elegoo Mars is an attractive proposition when it comes to pricing, which is approximately $250. Elegoo Mars consists of a print volume of 129 x 80 x 150 mm to put it directly in and resolution of XY:47 Z:10 µm. Hence we can say that this is one of the cheapest resin printers in the market available.
An upgraded and shinier version of the Elegoo Mars resin printer is available in the market named Elegoo mars pro, which has better upgrades like an improved print plate and newer file compatibility. Some features like a lighter engine, faster printing speed, better surface quality, and added air filtration unit make Elegoo Mars pro a real winner over its predecessor.
Anycubic Photon Mono X
Larger build volume and higher print quality are some of the best features for this high-quality resin 3D printer. Anycubic Photon Mono X has remarkable printing speeds when it comes to productivity. It takes 1.5 to 2 seconds per layer compared to conventional 3D printers.
This printer also provides higher precision, quick curing, and excellent fluidity, making it a favorable resin printer. This 3D printer is also compatible with third-party resins.
Anycubic photon mono X consists of a print volume of 192 x 120 x 245 mm and a resolution of XY:50 µm. This resin 3D printer is slightly higher in price ($650), but still, it’s a worthy printer. You can go for this printer without any hesitation.
Nova3D Bene4 Mono
Nova3D Bene4 Mono appears to be a strong contender among the other budget resin printers, thanks to its faster printing consisting of a monochrome 2K LCD screen. Wi-Fi connectivity and the 8 GB internal storage are the additional features to reckon with.
This resin 3D printer is capable of producing factory leveled print plates, which makes it quite attractive. For purchasing this unit, you need to spend approximately $350, which is still cheaper than other printers. Nova3D Bene4 Mono consists of a print volume of 130 x 80 x 150 mm and a resolution of XY:50 µm.
XYZprinting’s Nobel 1.0 A
XYZprinting has been manufacturing low-cost FDM printers for a long time, but now it has also ventured into SLA 3D printers. It is Nobel 1.0 A printer is an affordable machine that yields high-quality print and great stability.
XYZprinting’s Nobel 1.0 A consists of a 128 x 128 x 200 mm build volume and an automated refilling of the resin vat. It uses standard resins in various colors as well as multiple kinds of resins. You can own it by paying approximately $1000, but it’s guaranteed, you won’t be disappointed.
We hope that you have found this article valuable and helpful and looking forward to your valuable comments.