How To: Change 3D Printing Resin
With dozens of new resin 3D printers available, resin printing has become more accessible than ever. As interest in resin printing grew, so too has the material offerings, from vibrant color opportunities with epoxy-free MH Build resin to flexible finished prints from Liqcreate. Knowing the best practices when switching from one resin to another between prints is an essential part of the process, so the Pros at MatterHackers have gathered our best advice to help you succeed. Let’s get started.
Supplies You will need:
- Paper towels
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Nitrile gloves
- Safety goggles
- Rubber squeegee
- Empty bottle for resin or its original container
- Silicone funnel
- UV lamp or a spot in the sun.
- Workspace surface protection, like a silicone mat or a tarp
Most of these items can be found in the MatterHackers Premium Resin Tool Kit which makes sourcing all these necessary tools quick and easy.
- Don the protective equipment and prepare your workstation
- Remove the build plate from its mount while keeping it above the vat to catch any drips
- Use the rubber squeegee to remove as much resin as possible from the build plate into the vat.
- Once the build plate is mostly free of resin, set it on your protected surface and prepare a paper towel with isopropyl alcohol.
- With a dry paper towel, wipe resin off of every surface of the build plate, from the printing surface to the clamping knob. Repeat as necessary
- With the prepared isopropyl alcohol paper towel, wipe off the build plate again to remove any residue.
- Set aside used paper towels. We will discard these later
- Carefully remove the vat from the resin printer. If possible, keep room lights low to prevent any curing of the resin. Set on the protected surface.
- Set your storage container on your protected surface and place the funnel and strainer into the opening.
- Begin slowly pouring resin into the container using the pour spout in the vat. You may need to “burp” the funnel to allow air into the container and keep the funnel flowing.
- Once the vat is mostly empty, use the rubber squeegee to move the rest of the resin to the side with the pour spout. Alternate between squeegeeing and pouring until most of the resin is in the container.
- Put the lid on the container and put it into storage.
- When the vat is mostly empty, clean the squeegee with a dry paper towel, then an isopropyl alcohol paper towel. Set aside the squeegee as you will not need it again.
- Clean the inside of the vat using dry paper towels then an isopropyl alcohol moistened paper towel.
- For cleanliness's sake, clean the outside of the vat and the inside of the resin printer itself in the same way.
- Once everything has been wiped down and the alcohol has had time to evaporate, reinstall the build plate and the vat back in the printer.
- Shake up your new resin pouch or bottle, you need any pigments or dyes to thoroughly mix in before printing and it’s much easier to shake than it is to stir in the shallow vat.
- Carefully pour resin in up to the max-fill line. If you have upgraded your build plate in some way that increased its overall thickness, be sure to leave enough room to account for that and not have it spill over.
- For final clean-up, take all the used paper towels and lay them out flat on your workstation. Hold the UV lamp over them for a minute or mount it the lamp and let the paper towels cure while you put other things away. If you don’t have a UV lamp, set the paper towels outside in the sun. Let paper towels fully cure until the absorbed resin is hard and does not release any residue when touched. You can now throw it away with regular trash.
- Now, why are we taking such care for something we are just going to throw away? Resin of any sort is not a healthy material to get on your skin or in your eyes, hence all the PPE, so we want to take care to render anything inert before it ends up in the trash.
- Put the printer’s lid back on and you’re all set to start your next print.
And that’s all there is to it! It’s a bit of a messy process, but an essential one to learn how to do properly, as you will need to regularly clear out your vat and clean off your build plate. Doing so will help remove any small particulate from failed prints or give you an opportunity to renew the surface of the build plate if you’re finding diminished bed adhesion. Or if you’re interested in experimenting with the variety of colors you can find with MH Build resin, having an array of storage bottles on hand can help make changing through them all an easy task.
Best of luck with your resin printing!
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