Best Resin Printer Accessories: My Picks for 2020
If you are interested in buying a 3D resin printer you will also need a few accessories in order to print. You can read my article about what you need in order to 3D print with resin for more information.
The most important accessories you need are related to washing and curing your resin print. Because there is residual resin left on the print you will need a way to wash it off. One method is to use a sealable container filled with cleaning solvent and to shake your print around. The other option is to buy a machine that will wash the print for you.
You also need a method to cure the print. The resin is still not fully cured after coming out of the printer and will need to be exposed to UV light in order to fully cure. The cheapest and easiest solution is to set your print in the sun for a few minutes. You can also build a DIY curing chamber with a light and turntable. Finally, you can purchase a device designed to cure 3D resin prints.
These are the top 3 Accessories for Washing Your Print:
- Pickle Jar (Click here to see price on Amazon)– I started with a pickle jar filled with solvent. This works great but you need to let the part sit and soak for much longer as you are not constantly stirring the solution.
- Ultrasonic Cleaner (Click here to see price on Amazon) – This is a great option. It’s still cheaper than an all-in-one wash and cure station. With a large enough cleaner, you can fit the entire build plate full of prints all at once.
- Anycubic Wash and Cure (Click here to see price on Amazon) – Great solution that allows you to place the build plate directly onto the machine. Constantly stirs the solution and is operated with the press of a button.
These are the Top 3 Accessories for Curing Your Print:
- Sunlight – It’s free and it works well. The drawback is only being able to cure your prints on a bright sunny day.
- UV Light and Turntable kit (Click here to see the price on Amazon) – You can use this setup to build a DIY curing chamber. Use a carboard box and some tin foil and you’ve got yourself an inexpensive and effective curing chamber.
- Anycubic Wash and Cure (Click here to see price on Amazon) – The Anycubic performs both processes with a single machine. I like that I have a single solution for both washing and curing. A big feature is the Anycubic can accommodate a full build plate directly from the printer.
Why I Picked the Anycubic Wash and Cure
- After using a pickle jar for washing and a DIY curing chamber the move to an automated all in one simplified the post curing process.
- Ability to wash the entire build plate before removal
- Constant circulation of the solvent leading to a cleaner print
- Ease of use
- Finished prints look great!
Things to Know When Buying Accessories
- Pick the solution that fits your budget. You really don’t need anything fancy for post-processing your prints!
- If you are purchasing an all in one unit be sure it can accommodate the build plate from your printer. Being able to wash the entire build plate with print still attached saves time and effort.
- Be sure that the unit uses a light wavelength that matches your printer resin. Most home printers use photocuring resin sensitive to 405nm. If you are purchasing a light to make a DIY curing chamber be sure it is 405nm!
- If you are buying an ultrasonic cleaner get one that is big enough to fit your entire build plate.
Other Items You Will Need
You will need appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with the printer resin. You should always wear and appropriate respirator to avoid breathing the fumes. Remember to keep your respirator sealed in Ziplock bag when not in use.
Wear nitrile gloves when handling the resin and avoid skin contact. I recommend using a heavy pair of nitrile gloves or kitchen cleaning gloves (Click here for link to Amazon). You will save money in the long run because you aren’t throwing away disposable nitrile gloves all the time.
You will also need a funnel and paint strainers (click here for link to Amazon) to return any unused resin from the vat to the bottle. The pain strainer will keep any particulate matter from getting into your resin bottle. Foreign matter poured into the vat can ruin prints and even damage the FEP or LCD screen.
I also recommend a rubber squeegee that you can use to mix resin in your vat if it’s been sitting for a couple days between prints. The rubber squeegee won’t scratch the FEP file and allows you to thoroughly mix the resin prior to printing (a must!). I use the squeegee you can find here on Amazon. I also recommend a stiffer squeegee that I use to help remove stuck prints from the FEP (click here for Amazon link).
If you’ve read my post on what you need to 3D print you know that a resin printer has several consumables. While not strictly necessary I highly recommend keeping the following items on hand:
- FEP film
- Extra Resin Vats
- LCD Panel
- Build Plate
About Resin Printers
Unlike fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers where the material starts as a solid, resin printer material starts as a liquid. While the liquid resin is not exposed to UV light it will stay in a liquid state. In order to turn the liquid into a solid it must undergo a chemical process. The process uses UV light as a catalyst causing the chemical composition to change. This change results in the liquid resin changing from a liquid state to a solid state.
To understand how the process works we need to examine the molecular structure of the resin. The resin contains molecules called monomers. Monomers are molecules that can bond with other identical molecules and form a polymer. Polymers are substances with molecular structures that are primarily similar molecules bonded together. Many synthetic materials such as plastics and resins are comprised of polymers.
The larger molecular mass of the polymer produces physical characteristics such as toughness and elasticity. The formation of the molecular assemblies results in semi-crystalline structures. This is known as polymerization and results in three-dimensional networks of polymer chains.
To turn cause the chemical reaction that links the monomers into polymers, the printer uses a UV light source, either a laser or UV LED array, to shine on the resin. Using a laser, the shape of each layer is traced onto the resin causing it to harden. For home use printers, an LCD screen is used to mask out the print layer. The UV light exposes through the clear areas on the screen resulting in a chemical reaction that hardens the resin. Once a layer has been hardened the build plate raises and the next layer is exposed. This process continues until the entire print is finished.
Once the print is done the model is then removed from the build plate and washed with a solvent to remove and residual resin. The model is then placed in a curing chamber to finish curing the resin.
Resin printers can deliver higher resolution prints without the visible layer lines of an FDM printer. While resin printers cost more to run than an FDM the increase in quality of the print make them a good choice for those who need highly detailed prints.