3D printing that is based on the resin is not a printing technique for beginners. Resin printing isn’t too difficult but it can be super messy, which is why this printing technique is not for everyone. One thing to know about 3D resin printing is how long to wash resin prints.
The Importance of Washing Resin Prints
Washing resin prints are a super crucial process, it requires some specific practices that will lead to quality 3D printing products. To wash resin prints properly, you need to dedicate a special wash bucket to every single resin. It is going to avoid resin discoloration.
You also need to rinse parts of resin printing products in multiple stages. It is also important to replace the solvent you use regularly, especially if you want to achieve cleaner surfaces with less feeling of waxy or tackiness. When washing resin prints, consider the geometry and part size.
Always read the SDS or safety data sheet from any solvent supplier you use, it should be the primary information source for storage, usage, and also safety. Before washing resin prints, you need to wear gloves. Gloves will protect your skin when handling printed surfaces and parts.
How Long to Wash Resin Prints and How to Do
To get the best quality resin printing products, timing should be the main thing to consider. However, your knowledge about timing will be useless if you have no idea how to wash your resin printing products properly. Below are the steps to wash resin printing products, and how long should you wash them.
Using washing stations
When a part of a product comes out of the 3D printer, the product will be covered with resin that you need to cure. Before entering post-processing, you need to rinse the part off by using a washing station. Washing stations are the most popular option for people who must clean the prints repeatedly.
Many manufacturers offer 2-in-1 machines, and those machines have a specific washing container as well as a turbine. The turbine is going to swirl the liquid you use and finally clean your resin printing product. Many washing stations allow you to wash and cure resin printing products.
However, you can find a special washing station that is dedicated only to washing resin products, without any feature to cure the resin printing product.
Entering ultrasonic bath
This ultrasonic bath is similar to the one you use to clean jewelry. The ultrasonic bath is an expensive and professional way you can use to clean the SLA print. To use the ultrasonic bath, you need to fill it with cleaner fluid first until it covers the 3D resin print.
And then you need to let your 3D resin print sit under the fluid for a few minutes. The process is going to take off the uncured resin’s fine layer that is sticking to the 3D printing model. The result will be a smooth and clean finish on your resin product.
In many cases, you can choose IPA or soak in alcohol with high concentration for the fluid. However, there are many other options available, like TPM (tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether) and DPM (dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether). Those options are non-flammable.
Rinsing water-washable resin
Those who have no ultrasonic bath can consider dunking the resin print part into a basin of IPA. And then move the resin part around before rinsing it well and cleaning it from any resin. This is a brilliant and simple method but it is not going to give you the cleanliness that an ultrasonic bath can offer.
You may have to rinse the resin print part twice or more to clean all the resin that is still sticking on the surface. Water-washable resin is now available, it is more eco-friendly and also represents fewer hazards than the traditional version. However, this new version is less powerful than the traditional one.
Water-washable resin allows you to rinse it in water because it has properties that are going to react to water. It is much easier to clean this type of resin print product than the ones made of traditional resin.
Watching the washing time
How long to wash resin prints? If you are using isopropyl alcohol or IPA to wash your resin printing products, five to ten minutes will be enough. It is going to help clean your printing product from uncured resin, but the washing should be coupled with another process named agitation.
But you can extend the washing time above for larger prints or for prints that have big hollow channels or spaces. You can spend a maximum of twenty minutes washing resin printing products but usually, you don’t have to spend that much time.
After washing the products, you should cure the printing products simply by placing them under direct sunlight or inside the UV box. It is much better to cure the products in a UV box since you only have to spend 5 minutes or less to finish. If you need to cure many prints, use a UV box.
Washing Resin Prints Safely
Uncured resin is dangerous, not only for the environment but also for you. You need to handle it extra carefully and be very diligent in practicing several safety measures when you are washing and curing the parts. Below are some safety measures that will protect you from the harm of uncured resin.
Wear the right gloves
Eye protection and gloves are two crucial things you need to prepare after checking and learning about how long to wash resin prints. Instead of preparing latex gloves, consider preparing and using nitrile gloves. Treat nitrile gloves as disposable after using them to cure resin prints.
You may want to wear heavy-duty latex gloves that will last longer than regular latex gloves. But keep in mind that those gloves will deteriorate after you wear them repeatedly to deal with uncured resin. Never remove your safety glasses when you are working with resin parts.
Before working with any resin print, you need to consider wearing footwear that can cover your feet fully and long pants that will protect your legs thoroughly. Wear protection from your body’s bottom half in case you drip or spill the resin.
Be careful of drips and spills
Drips and spills may happen when you work with any resin printing product. That’s why you need to prepare the workspace and equip it to handle drips and spills. Don’t work with resin prints on a carpeted surface and on other materials that you cannot clean up if there are drips and spills on them.
Place towels close to you so you can grab them quickly and clean up all drips and spills quickly. If there is residue on surfaces, wipe it by using IPA or isopropyl alcohol. Lay down several paper towels right before you start moving the resin print and clean them in your washing station.
Stay away from kids and pets
You should wash your resin printing products in an isolation position so that your kids or pets cannot bother you. The uncured resin’s hazards are going to be dangerous for kids and pets. Those family members should never ingest or touch resin.
The answer for how long to wash resin prints is between five and ten minutes. But if the resin print is bigger, you can extend the washing time. Just make sure that you wash and cure your resin print extra carefully.