SLA Printer Full Guide

How it all Works

If you’re new or interesting in starting 3D printing, you’ve probably heard that you needed to support your resins prints. But what is this, and how is it important? Today’s we’ll explain this core principle along with how it all works.

Resin prints are created using multiple layers of exposed resin and while this process can be relatively fast when compared to other’s, it does have some important considerations. Everything needs to be connected to the build plate in order for a successfully 3D print to occur. This is mainly due to the fact that the resin is only partially cured, requiring it to be attached to the remaining structure to prevent it from becoming stuck to the FEP sheet or floating freely within the vat. These stuck portions and floating particles can cause serious damage to the LCD screen if not taken care of. In a lot of cases, this will require their removal prior to continuing onto the next print, which results in lost resin as well as time.

Any portions of the print which aren’t connected to the remaining print structure or build plate are known as Islands. Examples of this can be clearly seen in the photon validator or on the layer preview for Chitubox. In this case, I’m showing you a supported and unsupported version, so you can get a better idea of what to look for.

When a print is completed, the material is only partially cured to ensure that all the details are present and not washed out from overexposure. This will often mean that it’s more flexible, therefore these regions need more support to prevent them from flexing or distorting. Portions which hang or extend outwards are known as overhangs. Take special care when dealing with these regions, since they will often need quite a few supports to ensure that the structure prints properly.

Another big consideration is that the print needs enough supports to keep it attached to the build plate. The main reason for this is that a large amount of suction is created when the FEP sheet separates from the build plate. My video on “How an SLA printer works” goes through this in more detail, but you need to know that adding supports is intended to overcome those forces. How a user orients their print, will often affect how many supports are needed, as well as the amount of suction that created within regions of the prints. In these two examples, there’s a large amount of suction created on one version while the second one has a lot less, which is due to their orientations.

The weight of the printed object will also contribute to the number and type of supports which are needed for a given 3d print. Since prints are done upside down, they have to contend with gravity as much as they do with the suction forces. This is often the leading reason why a print will be hallowed out prior to being sent to the printer. By removing any excessive or unwanted resin in the printing process, a user can save on material while maintaining great overall results.

Now that you understand the importance of supports in resin printing, we’ll go over how to set up basic supports.

Important Notes

  • Overhangs
  • Islands
  • Orientation
  • Weight

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Testing results for Conjure Rigid Resin by Chitu System
SLA Printer Full Guide

Testing Results

So is the “Conjure Rigid” by Chitu System any good or not? Well, we’re going to take a closer look at it today. I was sent this product free of charge, but no money has exchanged hands, and they have no say in what goes into this review.

So although I did receive this almost a month and a half ago, I wanted to take my time to do a proper review of this product and really test out their claims. So I tested it for miniatures and functional parts and discovered some things you’ll want to keep in mind if you pick this up. While unboxing this product, I did have some concerns about the design of the bottle. Inside the cap there is an additional seal to prevent leaks, however resin gets easily caught in the edge of the rim when pouring. If this isn’t cleaned properly before being stored, it can start leaking or dripping along the edges of the bottle. Now, so long as the bottle isn’t exposed to UV light this isn’t a huge issue, but it can become permanently sealed if it cures. It is for this reason that storage will be very important when dealing with this product.

The overall viscosity is thicker when compared to most standard resins, however I find this to be consistent with most of the industrial resins that I’ve used in the past. Similarly, the black version is much thicker than any other colour, so ensuring that you use it in an area that’s above the recommended 25°C will help you achieve better results. This product smells extremely strong in comparison to other products and although this isn’t a measure of the level of toxicity, I would recommend using proper ventilation practices as referred to in my safety video.

Chitu Systems did a great job about making the print settings available on their website, and for the most part it was pretty much plug and play with the settings that were provided. The one issue that I did have, was that, due to the flexibility of the material. I did have to modify my support settings to account for this, especially when printing small, detailed prints. So how did I end up changing these to work with this resin? We’ll First off, I added much thicker supports on the main regions of the model which would properly anchor it to the build plate. I then increased my lighter supports middle diameter and top lower diameter, so they would stay more rigid. I unfortunately found that I couldn’t rely on the automated support when it came to smaller models due to them flexing during their printing. While this was more time-consuming, it did mean that I could ensure the supports were far enough not to get stuck onto the model. I also increased the bottom exposure of the first layer, which helped keep the model attached to the build plate. Once again most of these issues were more prominent with the black resin, and although I’m unsure as to the reason it’s something to be mindful.

This resin does come with explicit instructions to use preferably 95% isopropyl alcohol when cleaning. While I can’t confirm this to be the case, since I changed cleaning solution at the same time. I can say that I had more difficulty cleaning the black resin, which is most likely due to the higher viscosity or thickness of the material. It should also be noted that I clean all of my prints with a two container approach, since I’ve found this to work much better overall.

Now, although this material does remain flexible after it has just cured, I found it still sanded and cut quite well. So cleaning up the models prior to painting was fairly easy once cured. While the parts can still break just like any resin, I did find that the shape of the part made the biggest difference in this regard. All the weapons that I printed for my models stood up well to being bent after having just cured, while the tips of the tails keep breaking off. Now, to be honest, this is more about the shape of the design than anything else. Essentially, whenever you have a shape this, you tend to create an area where tension and stress can build up at the pinching point. This in turn makes them more likely to break. So when removing support material, those will be the areas that need to pay attention.

One property of UV curable resins is their tendency to become more brittle over time, and this is important to be aware of when using this material. One of my favourite resins by another company has this same issue, and after about 2 weeks I generally find that the resin has stabilized more, at which point I can better test the fragility of the material for the application. This resin is no exception in this regard, and became much more brittle after the two-week period. While I don’t have the proper methods for measuring shrinkage of a material, I am assuming that there is some additional shrinkage that may be occurring as the resin becomes more brittle. So depending on the application, this is something that should be tested prior to beginning production.

Important Notes

  • Needs to be printed in temperature above 25°C
  • Becomes more brittle over time
  • Is flexible
  • Has a strong odour (use proper ventilation as described in this Article)
  • High Viscosity (very thick)

© Yarkspiri Fantasy Art

How to Properly Clean A Resin Print

    Have you every tried cleaning your resin print only to find that there’s there’s still some residue?  Well, in today’s article, we will address how to clean your 3D prints to get the most out of your machine. Some of these tricks will most likely not be one’s that you’ve might have heard.

    Drainage Holes

    Drainage holes help reduce the amount of pressure buildup when printing a hollowed out model, but can be difficult to clean out.  So long as you’ve properly set up your print, these can still be cleaned easily if you know a couple of tricks.  In this example, I have 2 drainage holes.  This means that while one hole will release air or fluids, the second one will do the reverse, and this becomes more important as we begin cleaning the model.  Before taking the print out of the cleaning liquid, I’ll shake this around a little to dislodge some of the resin prior to draining the model.  I’ll orientate the model so that all the fluid can drain out, but making sure to swirl the fluid around some more.  I do all of this while wearing protective goggles.  To be sure that I’ve removed everything from the inside, I’ll use a fine tipped squeeze bottle to force liquid into one hole and allowing it to drain out of the other.  When you’re using a new batch of cleaning solution, you’ll notice that it will eventually become clear, and this means you’ve removed the excess material.

    Quick tip

    For the really tiny prints, using a tea steeper will allow you to clean these with less risk of losing the small parts.  I would suggest getting one with decently sized holes to ensure that the cleaning fluid can flow more easily within.

    Recommended Tools

    If you made a mistake during the setup and didn’t include enough drainage holes, you can add these later by using a hand drill. This will allow you to force fluid into the area to ensure that it’s completely clean before you begin the curing process.  I use a small prying tool to unclog the hole, but you can easily use a toothpick as well.  When uncured resin stays trapped, it can cause the model to split and crack, therefore it’s worth investing a small amount of time in ensuring that all trapped resin is removed.  I normally have a wide variety of these drill bits handy, since they can often be a lifesaver when working on last minute projects. This is where previewing your model will help keep these issues from arising, since it can show you where a portion of the model can fail. 

    How Many Cleaning Stations

    I highly recommend you have two cleaning containers since this helps prevent any leftover residue.  One container or cleaning station can be used to remove the majority of the resin, while the secondary one will remove the remainder.  You’ll also find that you shouldn’t need to replace the cleaning solution for the secondary material as often as a result.  

    Re-use Some Garbage

    As I scrub my model I often use a rag that I’ve salvaged from an old T-Shirt and I have found it to be the best in removing residual material.  For the tighter regions, I often use the tip of a silicone basting brush because this can easily scrub the tight areas without damaging the surface.  Just make sure to label this so that you don’t accidentally use it for anything else.  

    Softening Supports For Removal

    While some people will use warm water to soften their models, in most cases you don’t actually have to do this.  Instead, simply allowing the model to soak in isopropyl alcohol for about 1 hour will often have a similar effect.  Another method is to use a hair dryer to gently heat the supports, so they become softer as well.  Another benefit of using the hair dryer is that you can quickly tell which area still need cleaning by drying it off and looking for any shiny areas.

    Now that you have a properly cleaned print, you’re probably wondering how to actually remove the supports from your prints.  Well this video I’ll help you do just that, so make sure to watch that one next.

    Personal Notes

    Supplies

    • Protective Goggles
    • Rag
    • Basting Brush (label + only use for this purpose)
    • Fine Tipped Squeeze bottle
    • Prying tool
    • Hand drill + bits
    • 2 Cleaning containers
    • Hair Dryer

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    The full playlist can be found at this link here. https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PLwEQCqKC1zEd2kXuk-AACjrlJVTHIhve4

    The Story

    Under my iron rule, I was to be betrayed by those who could not accept my greater vision. With a name that was stricken from all records, I now lay nameless and have vowed to regain my former grandeur.

    By Today’s measure, I may seem overly elaborate, but within the coldness I hold my dark secret. My blade holds hungering crystals that will prey off the souls the moment they may be struck down. Every living creature contains both good and evil, but many choose to side with what the best suites their own needs. Whether it’s helping those around them, or stomping them out because of their fear, all contain an edge of darkness.

    In those dark moments of hidden memories, I nibble or feast. It is this poison that drives me forwards and gives me strength, but when I’m not fed enough by my wielder, so begin the true test. Only strong wills may contain my greedy hunger because otherwise I become the master puppeteer. As I begin slithering my control within their mind, little do they realize whose decision it was all along.

    Those who are wise and just rarely need worry about my gaze, for they hold little interest to me if they cannot be corruption from within. Oh, what joy I take in eroding the mind of another until they see nothing else but what I choose to feed them. So thine does their will become from my insensitive tutelage, that before long, I am all that remains within the mind. By this point, I am the wielder and master of this vessel, and I’m now free to do as I will.