3D printers come in two fundamentally different options: filament printers and resin printers.
- SLA Resin Prints and Filament Prints
- Can Resin Prints Melt?
- Resin Prints and Heat Resistance
- Formation of an Object by a Resin Printer
- Can You Melt Down and Reuse 3D Printer Resin Parts?
- Cleaning Resin Mix Bowls and Disposing Resin
- How Long Do Resins Last?
- Can You Over-Cure UV Resin?
- Is Inhaling Resin Fumes Bad?
- Epoxy Resin vs UV Resin
SLA printers utilize resin, a light-reactive thermostat material, for 3D printing.
Resin’s properties and resin printers make SLA 3D printing produce watertight, highly accurate, and isotropic materials you can use as prototypes for slim, smooth, 3D surfaces known as resin prints.
This article helps understand whether 3D prints can melt, and heat resistance, and an overview of resin prints and SLA resin materials.
SLA Resin Prints and Filament Prints
Under contact with specific light wavelengths, the resin forms oligomers and monomers into flexible or rigid geometrics.
This polymerization happens after short resin chains unite with intuition after exposure to certain light wavelengths. Thus liquid resin turns to solid form.
After polymerization, liquid resin turns to SLA resin (resin prints). SLA resin is not thermoplastic.
Please note that the difference between 3D resin prints and 3D filament prints is resin prints are smooth while filament prints have larger layer heights.
This difference results from the filament printers’ massive nozzle, which produces large layer heights of at least 1/2 mm.
However, SLA printers work with an order of magnitude of up to 0.05 mm layer heights for the smallest details as the printer can work under optimal conditions.
Can Resin Prints Melt?
Resin prints cannot melt as they retain their definite hardened and solidified form. Since they are not thermoplastics, they cannot liquefy.
However, some resin users say the prints become soft with increased temperature. It is true as some resin prints start softening at 40 degrees.
But this is true depending on the resin type you used and the conditions while curing them (during photopolymerization).
Sometimes resin users think or notice cured resin print melt.
In this case, it has expanded and leaked because of cured resin properties determined by the type of resin used and the conditions around polymerization.
For instance, the uncured resin may get trapped in your resin print. This leakage happens as a result of liquid resin not draining correctly. Which means it will cure slower than usual.
In the curing process, resin produces pressure and heat. The pressure causes the clerking and pushing off your resin print to explode.
Thus, where you see resin dripping from your 3D model, it means that uncured resin builds up pressure which cracks through the model and hence releases the uncured resin.
You must drain and hollow your models properly as the reaction ruins your models.
Resin Prints and Heat Resistance
Some resin prints have a high heat resistance of over 160 degrees. Such resin has optimal performance even under pressure.
Some resins start to soften at lower temperatures. However, if you want more resistant models, you can employ various ways of hardening your prints to withstand high temperatures.
How? By gradually raising the temperature by fifty degrees every fifteen seconds.
Please note that while testing the heat resistance of your resin, you will notice a crackling sound at its optimal temperature.
Afterward, it will deteriorate, showing many cracks and giving off some gas.
An ideal-made resin print softens up and becomes malleable, then burns out when you continue raising the temperature. When resin cracks and softens, it will become hard for you to print.
Formation of an Object by a Resin Printer
The formation of an image depends on how you will position the components in the machine; this factor depends on whether your build plate lifts or drops down.
Most desktop machine users prefer the upside-down orientation as it is easier to fabricate and operate without ruining the quality.
However, you must be keen on the object’s support structures and print adhesion to prevent any part from falling due to gravity.
Can You Melt Down and Reuse 3D Printer Resin Parts?
As seen before, after photopolymerization ceases, it’s impossible to melt down resin prints. Why? Because the resin is not thermoplastic.
The resulting tough resin formed has a dense crosslink system making melting impossible. However, you can grind the leftover components into small pieces.
That way, you can create reusable waste because from the technical viewpoint, once you use cured resin prints, its components are no longer useful.
Also, you can use the leftover cured resin after grinding them. Though you will not have the intended shape, you will have damaged the resin’s structure.
Please note: once your resin cures, you cannot use it for 3D printing. Thus, for those components intended for printing in the future, ensure they are not sealed by the filters you put back in the bottle.
Cleaning Resin Mix Bowls and Disposing Resin
Cleaning resin from your mix bowl first requires you to soak it in acetone.
Then, spray the surface using some rubbing spray (check at Amazon), which is mostly the alcohol spray in your alcohol spray bottle. Lastly, wipe your bowls to ensure they are clean.
A point worth noting is the uncured resin can ruin your mix bowls or cause pollution. Resins are flammable and are insoluble in water.
It could also cause environmental pollution because it is slippery.
Thus, you could dispose of your liquid resin once it expires or you no longer need it. Also, if some equipment may have touched the resin, you want to dispose of them too.
First, put your gloves on and pour the resin into the bowl and leave it for 1-10 days exposed to light to solidify. After it polymerizes, dispose of the resulting hard substance as household waste.
For the materials in contact with resin, you can expose them to light. After the resin solidifies, dispose of them as household waste.
How Long Do Resins Last?
When you seal and store them properly, the resin can stay for months and longer. If you store it in a cool dark place, the resin remains usable, but the quality of its resulting print will vary.
Since most resin jars are UV resistant, you can store them on the shelves. Nonetheless, consider storing resin in a warm and dark space like a drawer.
This option is better as it raises the storage value, maintaining maximum usability.
Can You Over-Cure UV Resin?
UV light damages organic substances with one among them being UV resin. If you print your parts in the UV station for longer periods than required, then you can over-cure your resin prints.
Also, if you apply extreme ultraviolet exposure during drying, your resin 3D prints will be super cured or degraded.
Is Inhaling Resin Fumes Bad?
Resin fumes are also called epoxy. These epoxy fumes emitted by liquid resin as it evaporates, also emitted when you heat the resin, cause an allergic reaction in your mouth.
Its typical symptoms are irritation and inflammation.
Please note: High-quantity and repetitive exposure to epoxy lead to complications, including asthma and sensitization.
Also, when you inhale resin fumes, they affect your lungs, nose, and throat. Sensitization means having an allergic reaction when exposed to these fumes.
Additionally, there is dust emitted by partly cured resin. Once you inhale these particles, the mucus lining of your respiratory tract traps it, attracting severe health conditions.
Epoxy Resin vs UV Resin
The difference between epoxy resin and UV resin is their curing process. The ultraviolet resin is cured by UV irradiation energy, while the epoxy resin (check at Amazon) is industrially manufactured.
UV resin has short durability though it has easy application and has a fast processing time.
These resins have different uses and properties. Epoxy resin has a hardener component coating resin, while UV resin is ready for use and is without the component.
Besides, without any aids, epoxy resin cures while UV resin cures under ultraviolet irradiation. Its layer thickness maximum is 1 mm, while epoxy layer thickness allows up to five cm.
Since UV resin needs a lamp to cure, it is suitable to use in small areas, while you can use epoxy resin over large surfaces like floors.
While using both resins, you must always put on a dust mask (check at Amazon).
Is UV Resin a Heat-Resistant Resin?
UV resin is not scratch or heat resistant. Moreover, UV resin continues evaporating while epoxy resin stops emissions after it cures.
Epoxy resin can withstand high temperatures between 160 to 300 degrees and long.
Heated epoxy can withstand high temperatures of over 400 degrees; this quality depends on the product and the manufacturer.
How Do I Know if UV Resin Has Cured?
UV resin has a short curation process. If you have a UV flashlight or lamp with four watts or above, the process should take three minutes maximum. In testing whether it has cured, you’ll look inside. You can use a toothpick.
Do I Need to Put on a Mask to Use UV Resin?
UV resin keeps on evaporating after its curation process. Furthermore, uncured resins emit toxic vapors that cause health issues.
Thus, yes, you need to put on a mask while using both UV resin and epoxy resin.
How Do You Dissolve UV Resin?
You dissolve UV resin using SPM (sulfur-hydrogen peroxide mixture) and ammonium-hydroxide mixture.
Are Resin Prints Heat Resistant?
Tough resins have a surface coating of glass plus other ceramic particles. Thus, its resulting structure has a smooth surface finish with a rigid and stiff chemical structure.
The tough resin has excellent heat resistance and thermal stability.
What Temperature Do 3D Resin Prints Melt?
3D printed resin prints do not melt. However, polymers have a heat deflection temperature of 150 degrees Celsius and 302 degrees Fahrenheit.
They may soften, not necessarily melt, then burn with continual burning at this temperature.
Do SLA Prints Degrade?
When continuously exposed to UV light, the surface oxides will eventually degrade. However, this depends on the resin you use.
Some SLA resins like epoxy resin or gray resin (check at Amazon) have a prolonged life compared to UV resin.
In conclusion, SLA materials and resin prints soften at a temperature range of 150 -300 degrees. Some evaporate, emitting toxic fumes.
With continuous exposure to UV light, some resins eventually degrade. Happy printing!
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