SLA Printer – How to Do it Safely! – Pt 02 3D Printing Basics
This guide includes diagrams, FEP sheet replacement instructions, Parts and motherboard explanations, troubleshooting tricks, cleaning, maintenance, settings, firmware + Bonus Resin Scoop and much more.
So your new 3D printer just came in the mail, but do you know how to use it safely? It today’s article, we’ll discuss what you need to know in order to use your SLA printer safely. This video is a follow-up to the previous SLA printing Basics article.
To begin, it’s very important to know that even if you’re using a plant based resin, they do still contain products which can trigger severe allergic reactions after prolong exposure. This exposure includes both the vapours and the liquids themselves, as well as their cleaning agents. Despite the fact that some have low amounts of odour, the fumes are still present in their environment, therefore proper precautions are still necessary. While new products are being developed by many companies to address these issues, it is best to treat them as the chemicals that they are. Waste disposal is a very common issues for those new to this hobby, as it can often be overlooked and can cause serious long term environmental impacts.
To better address any fumes from these products, it’s always best to have a well ventilated area with a constant supply of clean air, and there are a couple of ways to do this. The first is having ventilation going to the outside and while this is very efficient it may not be possible in colder environments. I personally use multiple carbon filter’s both within my machines and on the outside to help mitigate these issues. This, alongside a slightly open window in my work areas, helps to maintain a supply of clean fresh air. By making sure to keep the cover on your machine closed, and dealing with any liquid messes properly, you can maintain a much safer environment. This can be especially true if you have children or pets. In this case, you should always have these machines in a secured location to prevent any accidental exposure.
When it comes to the handling of the resin liquid itself, safety glasses and gloves are a must-have. I use two different types in my workflow. I use disposable ones when I’m working on something that requires more hand dexterity, and I use re-usable long sleeved rubber gloves for the basic print remove process. Likewise, I find that hanging this above my silicone mat helps keep a cleaner environment, especially if I clean the gloves prior to hanging them. By using a piece of paper tower, I can easily remove these without touching the top rim and can hang these safely. If you happen to get it on your skin, make sure to clean the area thoroughly with soap and water. To clean up any messes, I will use paper towels, making sure to place these out in the sun to cure any leftover resin. Because UV resin is cured in sunlight, you may wish to protect your machine from any of the sunlight coming from the window itself. I use blackout curtains and have an additional curtain around my work area to help mitigate the issue. IF you’re living in a location where you don’t have access to reliable sunlight, you can use a metal bucket and suspend a UV light above it to cure any unwanted resin. I got this one at my local hardware store and picked up this barbecue rack which works great for suspending the UV light. I go through a lot of paper towels for clean up, so I generally try to do larger batches to make my workflow more efficient. Having a paper towel dispenser makes a big difference when your gloves are covered in resin, and I would highly recommend either 3d printing one use using one that’s pre-made for this purpose.
As for cleaning up any messes that you may have, in most cases you’re going to use 99% isopropyl alcohol if possible. While you can use up to 70% it’s normally a better value to get the higher concentration and dilute it yourself. Although you can now buy less toxic alternatives, you’ll most likely want to keep using isopropyl alcohol for the cleaning of your work area, since it doesn’t leave any residue and dries quickly. For cleaning your prints, isopropyl alcohol can be reused several times if allowed to sit and separate. You can use a siphon pump to remove the clean isopropyl alcohol from the top of your container and dispose of the dirty material by letting it cure in the sunlight. To make your clean-up easier in the long term, I personally use multiple silicone dog mats, which I’ve placed in all of my work areas. Because the resin doesn’t stick to it’s surface, it makes cleanup a lot easier overall.
Now, It’s important that I tell you that some of these 3d printers have tinned connections at their terminals. This is something which I’ve actively warned user’s about and is something you may wish to check on your machine. Some companies have started taking a proactive approach with this and have been removing the tinned portions or replacing these with proper connection and ferrules, however some companies have yet to do so. I’ve noticed that some of the more recent machines from both Anycubic and Elegoo have addressed some of these, but I would do some additional research to see if that’s the case with your machine. You can see my full safety article here about what to look out for in some of the most common 3d printers.
- Greenhouse Carbon filters
- Small internal Carbon Filters
- Window Ventilation
- Disposable Gloves
- Re-usable Gloves
- 99% isopropyl alcohol (70% min Recommended)
- Protective Glasses
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.