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Maker’s Guide| Simple Three-step Post-Processing Method to Clean Your Resin 3D Prints

Post-processing enables you to make the most of your SLA printer and resin. Following the correct procedure will certainly take full advantage of the quality and mechanical performance of your prints. Stumbling blind, nevertheless, can make it hard or even tragic. Therefore, post-processing is critical for achieving the full resolution of your SLA 3D printer.
Below are the best ways to clean your resin 3D prints!

Preparation and Precaution before Cleaning
Before we start on post-processing, ensure that you understand the safety precautions involved with handling SLA resins. These resins are hazardous if they aren't handled properly, and direct contact with skin should be avoided. Spills can even get messy, so make sure that you have a clear work area.

What you'll need to have:
Nitrile gloves
Safety glasses
A clear workspace

If resin accidentally reaches contact with bare skin, wash quickly with soap and water. Avoid leaving resin tracks on things you touch. Clean right away before the resin hardens if a spill happens.


1. Wash Your Resin 3D Prints
When your final resin 3D print comes out of the printer it is covered with uncured resin. You'll need to wash it off before going further with post-processing.



①Ultrasonic Bath
An ultrasonic bath, like one for washing fashion jewelry, is a professional (and relatively costly) way of rinsing SLA prints. Fill the bath with cleaner fluid to immerse your print and make it sit for several minutes. This will remove the outstanding layer of uncured resin stayed on your model, leaving a smooth, clean surface.
 
②Dunk and Rinse
Just dunking your final print into a tub of IPA works as well if you do not have an ultrasonic bath. Drive your final print around and rinse it well to get the resin off. This method is simple and fast, yet may not reach as detailed and clean as the ultrasonic bath. 2 rinses or more might be necessary to remove the resin clinging to the surface.

2. Get All the Supports off Your Resin 3D Prints

Next, clear away the tree-like support structures attached to your model. This can be done before or after curing, but doing it before will be easier. Always keep an eye out for stray little bits of plastic that go flying.


①Break Them Off
If you're not concerned with small details, cracking the supports off by hand is the quickest method to go. If your model has fine features, however, it's ideal to make use of even more care.



②Use Flush Cutters
For more elaborate prints, use flush cutters to carefully snip off the supports. Get as close to the prints as possible without marring the surface. With both methods, tiny nubs will certainly be left on your print. This is inevitable yet quite easily remedied with a little sandpaper and some patience.

3. Cure Your Resin 3D Prints

The last action in post-processing is to UV-cure your print. Because it finalizes the product properties of the model, this is necessary for lots of functional resins.

①Curing Station
Many SLA printer suppliers also sell curing stations, which will particularly optimize for their resins, allowing for finely tuned curing times. Curing Station often works for larger prints and professional applications.

 
②Nail Polish Curing Lamp
This is an affordable and easily accessible method of rapidly curing your final prints. Simply spot it under a nail polish lamp and leave it there through the night. Adding a turntable can help get a much more even direct exposure.
 



③DIY Curing Chamber
Many DIY enthusiasts can make their own cost-effective curing chambers. This is conveniently done by placing a UV light in a box lined with light weight aluminum foil. Location the final print on a solar or battery powered turntable to get an even direct exposure.

 
④Solar Power
To go fully eco-friendly, just use solar energy. Put your final resin 3D prints outside on a sunny day, and you'll have a nice, even, UV light. The main disadvantage of this method is the more patience needed. It will take more time to finish the whole post-process as only the sun is doing the job.