July 24, 2018
The Peopoly Moai has been a great machine to introduce more people to SLA 3D printing and the possibilities this 3D printing method brings with it. Whether it’s used for printing miniatures for tabletop games, high-resolution anatomical models, or for small but intricate engineer prototypes, there are just some things that SLA is much better suited for than FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printing. There is a different workflow to the process, because rather than printing, removing support, and sanding to make a clean and finished model using FFF 3D printers, you need a couple different tools to make your SLA 3D prints come out that much better.
Once your 3D print is finished, you’ll need to remove it from the build plate. Unlike FFF 3D printing, you have to be very gently removing every print. Whereas you can use a spatula and a good tap to remove PLA prints, you can’t do the same with your SLA prints. My recommended method is as follows:
Some people like removing their supports after everything has cured, but I find it’s more destructive if you wait until then. In my experience, cured supports shatter and have taken off small divots of material where they attached to the print.
No matter how long your print is, there will be some amount of resin on the surface. If you let this harden, it will slightly distort the true shape of the model. In some cases it will harden as drips rather than a full coating and in others it will leave them sticky for a long time, allowing them to attract and stick to any dust and debris.
Even though cleaning off any uncured resin is a great start, the step that really brings out the quality of your 3D print is the post-curing that’s necessary for SLA prints. A high wavelength UV light has the intensity to cure the entire part, it just takes longer for thicker, more solid parts. Peopoly makes their own UV lamp, but there’s a couple things you can do to make it work even better.
That’s everything! Once you’ve cured it with the UV light, you are free to use it as intended. So whether you printing parts for cosplay, prototypes, jewelry, or miniatures, this process is essential for creating stable, usable parts. If you have an SLA 3D printer and there’s something you find useful in your process that I don’t have listed here, feel free to leave a comment down below.
Happy printing and cleaning!
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