Resin Cleaning Alternatives – For 3D Printed Miniatures
In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at alternative cleaning solutions for your resin prints. During the writing of this article, there’s currently a limited amount of products on the market for cleaning resin prints. As someone who develops and produces their own products, this has been problematic, so I’d thought I’d share what I discovered in my testing.
To begin, let me make it clear that no company has paid me to review their products, and that all the products that you see in this video were purchased by me for this purpose. There’s a fairly large list of products which I’ve tested, however I will be showing you the ones which were spanning the largest range of products and if some of them didn’t work at all they were not included but mentioned latter. For these tests I will be using a slightly less toxic resin which is advertised as being safe, however I still recommend taking the normal precautions when handling this material.
Let’s also establish some basic testing guidelines for the products which were used. First and foremost, I didn’t use any heat while testing the products. This is important since heat can often change the properties and in certain cases begin releasing fumes. Also, other than water in most cases, no other products were mixed together. Other than agitating the product within the confines of a jar, no mechanical scrubbing was used. Wherever possible, items which weren’t toxic, corrosive or flammable were tested, however for certain products this couldn’t be avoided. If obvious signs of melting were noticed a more diluted version was also tested, however if the results weren’t promising these were deemed as failures and in certain cases weren’t included in the final notes.
To start things off, I printed a series of test calibration models, mainly the AmerLabs Calibration Test as well as Twisted Rook. And the products that were tested were quite varied indeed. I tested Alcohol Free Mouth Wash, oil soap, odourless solvent, Mr Clean M.Net, Backing Soda, Vinegar, Simple Green, but the most interesting results came from a select few products. Isopropyl Alcohol is our control sample from which we’ll be comparing all the results to. Isopropyl Alcohol has many benefits, included it’s re-usability if used currectly. Although it removes the resin, if it’s allowed to sit the resin will separate from the Alcohol, allowing you to poor it into another container. Doings this greatly increases its longevity.
Simple Green is an all-purpose cleaner which boasts being a non-toxic biodegradable alternative. This product is similar to a liquid soap in certain aspects. According to the instructions it’s intended to be diluted with a 1 to 1 ratio for heavy-duty applications and this is how it will be tested.
Vim was tested at full strength as well as it’s diluted counterparts and as you will see the results were very similar.
Natural Safe Strip is an interior paint and varnish remover which is labelled as natural, ready to use and non-corrosive. In the instructions it mentions not to dilute with water, therefore two tests were completed with this product. The first test was a 50% mix of the remover with 50% water, while the second test was in its purest state.
CLR is a multipurpose cleaner which is known for cleaning calcium, lime, rust and boasts that it doesn’t damage the septic pipes. This product also comes with its fair share of warnings, which include specifics about its hazardous nature when mixed with other chemicals. This mainly means that this could potentially react with anything other than water, and is something to keep in mind when testing.
Murphy Oil is a wood cleaner, which is an oil soap that’s commonly found in most local cleaning supplies stores. Most of the products used to make this cleaner are biodegradable and are fairly safe when used as directed.
Terpenoid Natural is somewhat similar to isopropyl alcohol in that it doesn’t mix with the original resin and can be poured out once settled. It is, however, more of an oil soap cleaner, so testing it for residues will be a very important step. This product it also claims to be non-toxic and doesn’t have corrosive properties, which makes it more interesting as a possible alternative.
Mr Clean M. Net is a concentrated product which is normally diluted prior to being used. This product normally recommends being left on the surface for approximately 10 minutes prior to wiping and cleaning the surface, and therefore 2 tests will be performed. The first test will be in it’s diluted state, while the second will be the full concentration.
Goof Off Pro Strength Remover is a cleaner which is well known for removing glue, tar, dried paint and adhesives. This cleaner requires a well ventilated area since it has strong odours and comes with both a poisonous and flammable warning on its label. This is a cleaner which when used normally doesn’t tend to leave any residue since it evaporates quickly.
Generic Odourless Solvent was one which I found through my local art store and is normally used for oil painting purposes. This does help clean off oil or thin oil paints and this particular no name brand is marked as odourless, HOWEVER….. This product does still release toxic fumes and should always be used in a well ventilated area. It should always be caped while not in use.
Degreasers are normally used to prep surfaces for future finishes and are normally used for cars. In this case, it’s a shampoo which is formulated to wash and strip away waxes or sealants. Normally this product would be heavily diluted for this purpose, and it is for this reason that I will be testing it in it’s diluted state.
The following products produced such terrible results that there weren’t included in the final video. These products include water, vinegar, Alcohol Free Mouth, backing soda, degreaser, generic odourless solvent and lighter fluid. During testing, certain cleaners such as Yellow Magic Cleaner 7, Isopropyl Alcohol, acetone, denatured alcohol or methylated spirits weren’t tested because of local shortages. It is important to note that these products have yet to be tested for painting or casting after treatment, and those will be a separate upcoming coming videos. If you’re interested in those results, please keep an eye out for those in the future.
So what were the final results? Isopropyl Alcohol did very well cleaning the final prints without leaving any unwanted residues and finished with an expected 10 out of 10 result. Simple Green wasn’t very effective in it’s cleaning properties, leaving a substantial amount of residue on the finished print. It was for this reason that it scored a simple 2 out of 10 in its results. Vim scored very similar to the Simple Green, with the same amount of residue left on the surface. As a result, it got the same score, with 2 out of 10 being its final mark. Natures Safe strip scored extremely well in its final marks with a result of 10 out of 10. This product left very little residue if used with a 1:1 ratio when mixed with water. When used at 100% concentration, the results were actually poorer than when diluted, and may be because of the difficulty in being able to apply this product along its surface. CLR didn’t fare so well, with a score of only 2/10 because of the amount of residue left on the surface of the print. Murphy oil hand the worst results, scoring 1/10 with it’s wet and sticky residue. Terpenoid Natures had decent results with a small amount of residue along the surface and ranked a 7.5 out of 10 in its final score. This product is probably best suited for applications where a second cleaning cycle is present or where the item can remain submerged in water after the initial cleaning cycle. Mr.Clean didn’t do well in its performance tests, ranking only a 2 out of 10 in its final score. Furthermore, I can confirm from personal experience that residue will react with certain silicons in a such a way as to prevent these from fully curing. Goof off did very well in its testing applications and was compatible to isopropyl alcohol. This product didn’t leave any residue and was quick in it’s cleaning application, even if the smell was quite strong.
Seeing as there’s been a significant supply chain disruption, some of these may work as a suitable alternative for the time being.
- No heat was used.
- Only water was used to dilute products (based on instructions).
- No scrubbing. Only Agitating the cleaning Jar.
- If melting was noticed, a diluted version was tested.
Scores (higher is better)
- Isopropyl Alcohol = 10/10
- Terpenoid natures (Canada only product) = 7.5/10
- MR.Clean = 2/10
- CLR = 2/10
- VIM = 2/10
- Murphy Oil = 1/10
Yasmeen completed both the 2D and 3D animation course at Algonquin College and worked in the animation industry as a freelancer for a number of years before being hired to manage the 3D printing services at ItsYeBoi. While using the Alias of "Jenny" during her services, she was responsible for the testing, maintenance and upgrading of the machine while also filming and developing 3D printable assets for various projects.