Resin Printing: Understanding the Basics
Resin printing can seem like a daunting task.
Being technologically distinct from traditional FDM printing can discourage even the more advanced makers & tinkerers. Like other new technologies however, resin printing is a skill that any individual can easily learn & acquire. This article is designed as a starting point to break the ice & help you understand the basic fundamentals regarding 3D resin printing.
The mechanics of resin printing are simple. Your machine will lower a build plate into a vat of light-activated, liquid resin. Then, it’ll cure the first layer of resin onto the build plate (more on how this happens below) & proceed to raise the plate up by a tiny bit. Next, it will cure the second layer onto the first & raise up a bit more. This process repeats until the object is complete. As you can see, unlike traditional 3D printing, no actual “printing” is taking place.
Nevertheless, resin “printers” can achieve much higher resolution than most of their FDM counterparts, and since they cure entire layers in a matter of seconds, they’re much quicker as well. This makes them great for models, figurines, & other small objects.
Types of Resin Printers
The technology behind resin printing has advanced very quickly in the past few years. In a seemingly short span of time, we went through three iterations of resin printers. The key difference between these platforms is the mechanism used to cure the resin.
SLA (stereolithography) printers use a laser to scan the file & cure the resin where it makes contact. DLP (digital light processing) printers, essentially use a video projector rather than a laser. This was considered an advancement because it eliminated the need for scanning and thus enabled whole layers to be cured at once. However, DLP printing requires expensive DMD chips which can drive costs up. More recently, LCD (liquid crystal display) printers were developed which utilize an LCD screen to cure the resin. Not only is this a much faster technique, but it’s also much more affordable. In order to provide the best experience for our customers & to most efficiently promote the mass adoption of 3D printing - at 3dprintergobrrr.com we only offer LCD resin printers.
What Else You Need To Know
Resin printers are faster & can achieve higher resolution production, but it’s not all rainbows & lollipops. The resins themselves are toxic & you’ll want to be cautious & wear rubber gloves while working with them. To clean the resin from your vat, tools & workspace, you’ll need to use Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) which can be difficult to find as a result of COVID. Also, a bottle of resin is usually more expensive than a roll of filament.
Don’t let these difficulties discourage you though. I’ve found resin printing to be fun & simple & I’m sure you will as well. In the coming weeks & months we’ll be expanding our existing stock of resin printers & supplies.
Be sure to check back with this blog for more educational articles designed to help get you started!