I would like share my thoughts and what I have learned over the last 6 weeks. I’m not an expert, but now very comfortable with this process.
Things everyone should buy before you print anything.
- Safety glasses
- Mask to protect against chemical vapors
- Disposable Nitrile gloves
- Re-usable Nitrile gloves
- Paper towels (lots)
- Silicon Mat
- Silicon funnels
- Two Pickle Containers
- Paint strainers
- Alcohol prep wipes
- IPA or Methyl Hydrate
Mr Green or SimplyGreen
- 1 dedicated trash container for all the waste, paper towels, used paint strainers, etc.
Warning :- The trash in this container has nasty chemicals, so don’t leave around if you have small children or animals who might go poking around. Chemical burns are not pleasant! Waterbased resin are much better, less smell, less burns BUT still highly toxic.
- When you do your recycling don’t dispose of your used paper towels with the other house hold paper because they often have nasty chemicals on them. You don’t want your partner or children to touch these waste products. This waste needs to go to your hazardous waste center,
Setting Up your printer
Place the silicon mat on a table which does not have any direct light & then place your printer on the silicon mat! The silicon mat makes cleanup much easier because you will get drips on the table.
Remove the vat/tank and place on your desk.
Now place a piece of paper under on the display and press the home button to move the printer bed down onto the display. The plate will slowly move down on top of the paper. Gently try to remove the piece of paper. It should slide out evenly. If one side of the paper pulls easier than the other you must level the plate! Unscrew the bolts, and now press firmly on the build plate and carefully tighten the bolts.
Use the controls to move the build plate up, reposition the paper and then press the home button again. Test if the paper is nicely clamped and pulls out evenly. Repeat if the paper still does not pull out evenly.
Move the build plate higher using the up button. Now place you print vat/tank in position and screw firmly into place. Just finger & thumb tight…
Put on your gloves and safety glasses, give the resin a bottle a good shake and pour into the vat/tank but don’t overfill leave 1/4" from the top!!! When the print bed lowers into the resin it will displace about 1/8" of the resin which is why you must never overfill the vat/tank.
When we buy a new resin printer we all want to create interesting objects.
But I think you should first do a exposure validation test becomes it saves you lots of time & money going forward. I wasted a lot of resin and caused my self lots of frustration because I thought I could just use some default settings for resin exposure. I assumed the manufacture of the resin provided a reasonable estimate, but I did not understand these times are often based on the RGB technology displays.
This exposure test take about 12 minutes per test and can be used on any resin printer with any resin. Download the test object and watch the video. Its so simple to compare the holes & posts and then adjust the layer exposure up or down based on the test object.
How to use Validation Matrix (Tyler Schubert)
My mono printer only requires around 2 seconds per layer for all the resins I have tried! Your machine may be different!
Printing you first real object
Select object you want to print, use your slicing software to prepare the object for printing. Most objects have a side which will never be seen, orientate the model so most of your supports will build into this surface. Models are normally orientated 25 > 45 degrees so the printer prints the model evenly per layer (smallest surface area). Then export the exposure slices to your USB stick.
Double check your build plate & VAT/tank is secure. If you forget to tighten the vat or build plate the print will fail! Nothing worse than an over night print to find you did something silly.
Place the UV hood over the machine and select the model you intend to print. The build plate will move down and expose each layer. Typically a few hours to many hours depending on the height of the model.
When your object is complete, remove the UV hood on the printer and the wash & cure station. Take care when handling the UV covers for the printer & wash & cure station, remember your gloves often have nasty chemicals on them that can make a mess on the UV covers. I tend to only handle these once I have removed my gloves and washed my hands. The UV covers are easily damaged, so place on the floor or table with care. I have cracked one of mine because I placed on the tile floor a little too hard.
Put on your nitrile gloves and safety glasses.
Tear off a few pieces of paper towel and place in front of the printer.
Add methal hydrate or IPA into one of your pickle containers. This will be your dirty cleaning container.
Add MrClean or Simple Green into your second container OR your wash & cure container. (Some users use IPA in the second wash container)
Remove the build plate from the machine place on the kitchen towel. Using the metal scraper that came with your machine in your dominate hand & hold the build plate firmly. Slide the scraper under the printed object. It can sometimes be tricky to pry the object off the print plate.
Leave the supports on the object, now wash the printed object in your first container of IPA or Methal Hydrate. I use a brush or tooth brush and lightly scrub the side of the print which has no supports trying to remove resin in the detailed areas. When I’m using water based resin I find a quick 10 > 15 second bath removes almost all the resin. Normal resin might need a few minutes in the first tank.
DO NOTE SMOKE and ALWAYS uses safety gloves. A mask is a good idea.
Do NOT touch your skin when you are wearing the gloves because some resin do nasty chemical burns. One time when removing gloves I did not notice the resin on my wrist and the chemical burn was painful for a few days!
Now place the object into the second tank and give it a good wash. I use a wash & cure station so normally put it on a 10 minute cycle. You might need to lightly scrub with a tooth brush detailed areas.
I use Mr Green or simply green in the second tank because it’s easy to find and inexpensive and is not flammable. Some people use IPA or Methal hydrate in both wash tanks.
I now wash the object in hot water, hot enough to be slightly uncomfortable with gloves on. The supports can now be easily removed with a gentle action. Place the supports in your plastic recycle bucket.
If you plan to do objects with lots of fine detail, an ultrasonic cleaner works really well, and I use this for the 3rd wash.
Put the object on clean paper towel and let dry OR use a hair dryers on cool setting to speed up the process. The object may be slightly sticky because it needs curing.
Place in your curing station or place outside on a sunny day. Most objects only need a few minutes to cure.
If the print was successful the vat/Tank should be clean with no debris! You can check using the silicon scraper by very carefully brushing the bottom of the vat. NEVER EVER use a metal scraper in the resin tank!!! The plastic FEP is delicate and easily damaged.
Everyone experiences failed prints and parts stuck to the FEP sheet in the resin tank! Don’t panic it’s simple process.
Make sure you have your gloves & safety glass on. Place your resin bottle on the desk, place a silicon funnel into the resin bottle & a paint strainer to prevent any debris going into your resin bottle. Very carefully pour the resin from the vat into your bottle. Use a silicon scrapper to wipe any surplus into the paint strainer.
Put the lid on the resin bottle!!! It’s too easy to knock it over which creates a real mess, but you then understand the value of a silicon mat which has a ridge around the edge!
Now wipe the metal part of the vat with a paper towel. DO NOT touch the FEP sheet!!!
Use a alcoholic wipe to clean the fep sheet.
Next I use my finger on the underside of the fep sheet and very gentle massage any stuck resin from behind. Often this is all it takes to remove the resin and just a another alcoholic wipe and you are ready to print again.
Some times resin is stuck very firmly to the fep sheet. In this case I pour a little clean IPA into the vat and scrub lightly with a paint brush trying to work IPA under the edge of the stuck resin. Sometimes I try a very gently push on the back side of the FEP.
If it’s really bad I will leave the IPA i the vat for a few minutes.
Never scrape the FEP sheet! Don’t try to pry stuck resin off with a finger nail!
Slow gentle manipulation is all that is required. Remember the FEP sheet is easily damaged. Even a pin hole in a fep sheet makes a real mess of your display & printer.
If you do damage a FEP sheet, don’t panic, they are easy to replace. Its a skill you will need to learn. FEP sheets are a consumable item.
Enjoy your hobby…