MH Build Photopolymer 3D Printing Resin is the go-to quality photopolymer material that specializes in providing amazing fine details for its low price-breaking cost. Using an epoxy-free resin formula stored in a pouch engineered to empty out every last drop in its container, MH Build Resin is designed for makers who produce D&D figurines, educational anatomical models, early concepts of industrial projects, and more without breaking the bank. Staying within budget without sacrificing reliability with resin has never been easier. Produced in Orange County, California, MH Build Photopolymer 3D Printing Resin innovates the fine balance between quality, price, and color selection to offer makers an affordable, top tier option in the resin market. Beginners can learn a new method of additive manufacturing and experts can produce beautiful initial prototypes starting at just the low cost of $16.99 for 500g and $27.99 for 1kg.

Table of Contents

With MH Build Photopolymer Resin, you can choose from a variety of vibrant colors to successfully produce gorgeous SLA 3D prints.
With MH Build Photopolymer Resin, you can choose from a variety of vibrant colors to successfully produce gorgeous SLA 3D prints.

WHAT IS PHOTOPOLYMER RESIN?

Photopolymer resin is a light-sensitive polymer that solidifies from a liquid to a solid when exposed to ultraviolet light—a process known as photopolymerization. Photopolymer is composed of monomers and oligomers (short chains of molecules), which are what form the resin’s liquid state until it is hit with UV light. The energy from UV light (typically in the form of either a beam or projection) is enough to cause the ends of the monomers and oligomers to react with each other and combine to form long polymer chains that eventually become the solid plastic layers of a photopolymer resin 3D print. These prints are generated using stereolithography (SLA), a form of additive manufacturing technology that utilizes photopolymerization using one of the following light sources: Laser, LCD (also called masked SLA [MSLA]), or Digital Light Processing (DLP).

Resin 3D printing technology uses three different methods
Resin 3D printing technology uses three different methods—Laser, DLP, and LCD (also known as MSLA). Note this graphic demonstrates a general representation of each technology—some technologies and machines may printer faster than others and some manufacturers may have different hardware setups, but the concept is the same.

Depending on its formula, a photopolymer resin may specialize in the quality of finish, durability, flexibility, bio-compatibility, and more. This versatility in enhancing a specific characteristic is one of many reasons that make SLA 3D printing a worthy member of additive manufacturing to learn. How does one successfully produce one of these amazing 3D prints out of materials like MH Build Resin? To understand how to achieve an awesome print with a particular brand of resin, we’ll need to understand what printer settings and other aspects are important to the success of printing for most resins. Continue reading below for a helpful guide that will improve your success with 3D printing MH Build Standard Photopolymer Resin and other SLA resins.

Maximize your photopolymer resin's efficiency to your SLA printer by following our guide below!
Maximize your photopolymer resin's efficiency to your SLA printer by following our guide below!

DIALING IN THE RIGHT SETTINGS

Tuning a 3D printer’s settings to a material is essential in achieving the best print results possible. Some resin 3D printers have their own brand of resins, which are designed to achieve great results with minimal adjustments. While the lack of tuning is a nice convenience, makers often want to experiment with a variety of SLA resins. Thanks to open-source resin 3D printers, as well as other printers that allow adjustment of basic print settings, trying other brands like MH Build Standard Photopolymer 3D Printing Resin opens up a whole new world of resin with cost savings and a variety of special qualities. When printing with resin that does not currently have any recommended settings by 3D printer manufacturers, any user can fine-tune settings on their own by adjusting the total depth of cure, leveling the build platform for a successful first layer, and setting the right layer cure time. Read below for in-depth instructions on how to calibrate each setting with an SLA 3D printer.

Profile settings can make or break the success of printing beautiful, accurate prints. Make sure to dial those in before deep diving into a project!
Profile settings can make or break the success of printing beautiful, accurate prints. Make sure to dial those in before deep diving into a project!

ULTIMATE DEPTH OF CURE

The first step to dialing in your SLA printer settings with a new resin is to establish the ultimate depth of cure (DoC)—the maximum thickness/depth of resin that your printer will cure.

This will ensure that you are able to achieve good bottom layer adhesion to the build platform which is essential for successful prints. For this test...

  • Put goggles and nitrile gloves on. Always wear safety gear before handling any resin.
  • Remove the build platform and fill the resin vat with a small amount of resin.
    • Make sure to shake the container of resin well before pouring it into a vat. Most, if not all, 3D printing resins need a good shake to unsettle the color pigments within the formula.
    • Make sure there is enough resin to cover a 2” square in the center of the vat.
  • Do not install the build platform for this print.
  • Download the DoC test square here and load it into your 3D printer software.
    • You don’t need to use this file. You can use any model you’d like, but we will only be printing the first layer. If you want to use a model taller than 0.05mm, you will need to stop your printer after the first layer.
The Depth of Cure Test print helps making dialing in settings easier.
The Depth of Cure Test print helps to make dialing in settings easier.
  • In your print settings…
  • Set the first layer cure time to 60 seconds
  • Set the layer height to 0.05mm
  • If your printer or slicing software allows you to control the power of your light source, set it to 100% power.
  • Run the print.
  • If you are not printing the DoC test square, be sure to stop the printer after the first layer is complete.
  • When it’s finished, carefully remove the printed square from the resin vat.
  • With calipers, measure the thickness of the square.
  • The thickness should be between at least 100μm (0.1mm) and, at most, 500μm (0.5mm).
  •  If the thickness is under 100μm...
    • Make sure you confirm that these were your print settings:
      • First Layer Cure Time: 60 seconds
      • Light Source Power: 100%
    • Try increasing the first layer cure time to 90 seconds.
      • Note: Resins that take more than 60 seconds to achieve a layer that is at least 100μm thick may not be best suited for your machine.
The thickness does not need to hit an exact number. As long as it measures within 0.1mm to 0.5mm, your resin is most likely compatible with your printer. If it's less than 0.1mm thick, you can make a few more adjustments to double-check compatibility.
The thickness does not need to hit an exact number. As long as it measures within 0.1mm to 0.5mm, your resin is most likely compatible with your printer. If it's less than 0.1mm thick, you can make a few more adjustments to double-check compatibility.

GETTING THE FIRST LAYER ADHESION RIGHT

Once you have established that there is an acceptable DoC, the next step is to confirm proper bed leveling and first layer adhesion. Like FDM 3D printing, SLA 3D printing requires the first layer to adhere well to the build plate for a successful print. To do this, we are going to run the same test as for the DoC, but with the build platform installed:

  • Attach the build platform to your 3D printer.
  • Follow the leveling guidelines for your printer’s build platform.
  • Run the print.
  • When it’s finished, allow excess resin to drip back into the vat or carefully wipe any excess resin from the build platform back into the vat. A silicone spatula or plastic putty knife is helpful in wiping resin back into the vat.
  • With a nitrile glove still on, gently rub your finger across the print. It should have well adhered to the platform. Ideally, it should require a scraper and light-moderate force to remove it from the platform.
If you need a scraper with light to moderate force to remove the print, your first layer is a success! Now you can focus on fine-tuning layer cure time.
If you need a scraper with light to moderate force to remove the print, your first layer is a success! Now you can focus on fine-tuning layer cure time.
    • An issue needs to be resolved if...
      • The corners are lifting
      • There are air pockets underneath
      • The part easily slides off the platform with just your finger
    • Common resolutions to poor first layer adhesion are:
      • Re-setting the Z=0 height
      • Re-leveling the build platform
      • Ensuring adequate resin in the vat
        • Air pockets/bubbles typically indicate there’s not enough resin in the vat.
      • Lightly scuffing or sanding the surface of the platform
        • Follow your 3D printer’s guidelines for this
  • If the part was well adhered to the platform, great! Remove it and measure the thickness with calipers.
  • The difference between this thickness and 0.05mm (which is what the first layer height was set to) is essentially your Z offset.
    • This Z offset doesn’t generally require any further action, but it can be useful to note should other issues arise later.
No further action needed when measuring the thickness of the print after testing first layer adhesion, but it's a good number to jot down for future knowdlege.
No further action needed when measuring the thickness of the print after testing first layer adhesion, but it's a good number to jot down for future knowdlege.

LAYER CURE TIME

Once you get the first layer adhesion right, then you can focus on fine-tuning layer cure time. Generally, larger layer heights require longer cure times and smaller layers require shorter cure times. Any change to the layer height will likely require some change to the cure time for optimal results.

  • If the ultimate depth of cure test was within the acceptable range (0.10 - 0.5mm), and you had good adhesion to the build surface, then we recommend starting with a 13 second cure time for 0.03mm layers.
    • Some machines may not allow 0.03mm layers, but have 0.025m—this is ok to use.
  • Print the MatterHackers Resin Test Tile with a 13 seconds cure time, 0.03mm layer height. Your first layer cure time should still be 60s, and you should have at least 3 first layers.
    • There are 7 hex tiles in the print and each demonstrates a particular geometric condition.
    • For layer cure time, we mainly need to make sure that all of the tiles are successfully printed.

This should take about 30-40 minutes to complete.

MatterHackers' Resin Test Tile is a great model to use for confirming how fine-tuned your resin is relative to your current settings.
MatterHackers' Resin Test Tile is a great model to use for confirming how fine-tuned your resin is relative to your current settings.

FAQ

Here are some answers to questions you may have during your SLA 3D printing experience.

  • Q: Do I need to clean and cure the DoC square before measuring?

    • A: You do not need to clean and cure the DoC square before measuring. Wiping the resin off of the square (while being mindful of what surfaces you're touching) will suffice.
  • Q: I hear that scuffing the build platform can help with adhesion. Is this true and what grit sandpaper should I use?

    • A: Adhesion issues when first starting are mostly due to either print settings, print orientation, the print’s design, and/or the brand/age of the resin. Most, if not all, build platforms come with a textured surface already (though those textures tend to get lost after printing with a couple of liters of resin). If the previously listed issues are not the cause, then using sandpaper to scuff the build platform is a possible option. Lightly use 220 grit sandpaper or higher (i.e. 320grit, 400grit, etc.) to create some texture on your build plate that either may not be initially there or may have disappeared due to resin filling in those textures over time. You may need to sand your build platform after every 5L of resin used. Only sand the build platform if there are adhesion issues.
      • If sanding your bare build platform isn't desirable, check out LayerLock SLA Resin 3D Printing Surface–the build sheet designed to go onto your printer's build platform, take the brunt of sanding, and give you that strong adhesion to keep your resin parts holding on during any print job.
  • Q: My print got these weird white spots when it was curing! Does it have to do with the resin?

    • A: If you used isopropyl alcohol to clean the print right before curing, then that is most likely the cause of the white patches on your print while curing. If the isopropyl alcohol has not completely dried after cleaning, then you'll have resin mixed with alcohol on your print, which will cause those white spots that are not removable/cleanable once cured. To avoid this, make sure to completely dry your print before curing. Using compressed air helps. Also gently blotting your print and giving it some time to dry will also help.
  • Q: How long can I leave resin in the vat without printing before I need to return it to its container?

    • A: For best practice, we suggest not leaving the resin in the vat unused for more than a day. Resin tends to be a magnet for flying dust and hair particles so it’s best to return any unused resin into a light-proof container if not actively using your 3D printer within the day. Otherwise, depending on the brand you use, the resin can be left out in the vat within the printer for days. Every day the resin is left out runs the risk of potentially degrading the quality of the resin if it’s sitting in nonideal conditions (i.e. sitting in a room above recommended storing temperatures, sitting in a dusty room, having sunlight shine where it’s stored, etc.)
  • Q: What is the best method for changing resins once the vat is already full?

    • A: For best practice when changing resins, do the following:
      • Carefully pour the resin that’s in the vat through a strainer and into a light-proof empty container. Scrape as much of the resin back into the bottle as you can. For instructions on properly pouring resin back into a container (separate from your container of fresh resin), check out the instructions listed in the description here.
      • If there is cured resin stuck to the FEP, gently scrape it off using a plastic putty knife or silicone spatula. Avoid using strong force as much as possible. Do NOT use a metal scraper.
      • Wipe off any resin that may be dripping off the side of the vat with a paper towel. With isopropyl alcohol on the paper towel, wipe the outer sides of the vat where resin may have dripped.
      • Pour a little isopropyl alcohol into the vat and swish it around to clean up any small remaining traces of resin and pour that mixture into a separate container that you will leave out to dry in the sun. It should evaporate so no liquids will be disposed of.
      • After cleaning the vat with some isopropyl alcohol, gently wipe the FEP with either a lint-free cloth or cotton cloth. Repeat the previous step and this step until you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of the vat. Let the vat completely dry before reuse.
  • Q: How should I clean the prints after they're finished?

    • A: Once a print has completed, you may choose to clean off any excess liquid resin on the print using a brush. We strongly recommend using a soft bristle brush as hard bristles can scratch up your green (uncured) resin print that has not fully hardened yet. Also, do this cleaning above a surface that is covered with a silicone mat, paper towels, newspapers, or disposable tray so your work surface remains clean and safe. Depending on your resources and preferences, there are a few ways you can choose to clean your prints after they’re finished.
      • Use an ultrasonic cleaner, in which case follow the manufacturer's guide on using the device and what cleaners are safe to use.
      • Clean prints manually using isopropyl alcohol in a container. If you do not have isopropyl alcohol on hand, dish soap with water is also an acceptable alternative. Swish the print around in the container until you are satisfied with the amount of resin cleaned off. You will need a separate container of water to wash the isopropyl alcohol or dish soap off the print after.
  • Q: How should I post-process the prints after they're finished?

    • A: Once your prints are clean and dry, remove supports by either manually snapping them off or using flush cutters to snip them off. Then use either a UV lamp (preferably within a reflective container/setup) or the sun to cure the print until it is fully hardened and dry. After, you may choose to use sandpaper, hobby knife, or other tools to clean up any other parts of your print.
  • Q: When will new colors for MH Build Resin become available?

    • A: MH Build is currently in the process of developing new colors. Stay tuned!
  • Q: My prints keep separating from my supports but these settings work fine with other resins, what’s happening?

    • A: A number of factors may affect your prints separating from supports.
      • Ensure you are printing within the right temperature range the resin manufacturer notes is ideal for printing.
      • Decreasing the lift speed between layers may be necessary.
      • Increasing layer cure time may be necessary.
      • If your FEP sheet was replaced in between using resins, make sure the sheet is not too tight or too loose. It needs to only be slightly flexible to properly release the print from the FEP with each lift.
      • If the print was not printed in the same orientation as it was with previous resins, then the orientation may be the cause.

When finding the cause of an issue, please remember to test one factor at a time. Testing multiple factors at a single time will make it difficult to establish the root cause.

Successfully produce amazing resin prints with MH Build Epoxy-Free Photopolymer Resin and other SLA materials using this helpful guide!
Successfully produce amazing resin prints with MH Build Epoxy-Free Photopolymer Resin and other SLA materials using this helpful guide!

Thanks for reading How to Succeed with MH Build Resin! If you're looking for other helpful tips on how to succeed, check out our article Essential 3D Tools for SLA Resin 3D Printing.

If you have any comments, corrections, or contributions, please drop us an email or give us a call. We are always looking for tips, and best practices—and we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out with any specific questions to our Support team over at support@matterhackers.com.

Happy Printing!

- MatterHackers