Resin 3D Printing – What Is It And What Are The Main Benefits Of Using It?

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Industrial manufacturers and home hobbyists take full advantage of Resin 3D printing as a very useful and fascinating technology. Resin for 3D printers is highly preferred in the industry right now and it is easy to understand exactly why this is the case when we take a look at the numerous advantages associated with it. But, before we discuss that, let’s see what resin 3D printing actually is.

Understanding Resin 3D Printing

The first thing to know is that we are talking about a general media etc. It encompasses several 3D printing types with the main similarity that liquid raisin is used as material. Professionally, the process is also known under the name vat polymerization. Three main types exist:

  • LCD – Liquid Crystal Display (also referred to as MSLA – Masked Stereolitography)
  • DLP – Digital Light Processing
  • SLA – Stereolithography

The actual technology used does not necessarily have to be understood by the user. You can still use the resin 3D printer. However, the more knowledge you have, the easier it is to pick up a great machine for what you intend to use it for.

The resin used in 3D printing is a photopolymer. This means it is actively reacting to light. Alternatively, it can also solidify when light hits it.

The SLA printer is using mirrors. This aims a number of laser beams toward the liquid resin. This cures it or solidifies it so you get the object you are interested in printing.

After, the printer’s build plate is moved up. The printer solidifies the following layer. This creates the item layer by layer.

SLA machines are not budget-friendly since they contain several moving parts and the laser. They tend to be considered professional, with a starting price tag of around $3,500. But, we are talking about very accurate 3D printers, even if they are slower.

DLP resin 3D printing hardens a single layer with light. UV light sources are directed through mirrors. The process is fast but fine details tend to be sacrificed. Each layer’s image is made out of pixels of a square shape.

Just as the name implies, LCD 3D printers use an LCD screen. UV light is put through it to hit the building plate with one layer slice. Similarly to DLP, square pixels are used. Print granularity is defined by LCD photomask pixel size. This means print quality is automatically linked to printer size and LCD density.

The big difference between the 3D printing resin technologies mentioned is the light engine used when curing resin. Many of the professional-grade manufacturers use patented and slightly unique vat polymerization variations. You can thus see some specific terms that are used by machine makers.

Resin 3D Printing – Main Benefits

Speaking in a broad way, the huge advantage of 3D printing technology is that it is capable of producing a print that has more fine details. The surface finish is also smoother. Let’s compare this with plastic filament-based 3D printing (also known as FDM – fused deposition modeling). With resin 3D printing, you gain more intricate details and the layer lines are less noticeable. However, this does not mean that resin is automatically better.

The machine counts with 3D printing. There are 3D printers using resin that are inferior to 3D printers using plastic filament, although this is not the case if the machines have similar prices.

Hobbyists interested in printing figurines with very fine details, original sculptures, or toys will most likely gravitate towards something like Elegoo Saturn 3. Its price tag makes it highly affordable and it is capable of delivering a resolution of 35 microns. You cannot gain such detail levels when you use a filament printer with a similar price.

When working as a dentist and you want to print high quality dental models, the resin printer you choose has to be able to offer such find detail levels, together with it being able to use biocompatible materials. An example of such a 3d resin printer is the Asiga Pro 2.

We also see 3D resin printers being very popular among jewelry makers. This is due to the possibility of printing small features, which is mandatory with several jewelry models, especially when referring to mold-making. Something like Formlabs Form 3+ is a good pick but get ready to put you back close to $4,000.

We can also highlight industrial resin printers. These are much more advanced and complex than what a home hobbyist would utilize. Be ready to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on such a 3D printer. As an example, the $400,000 3D Systems SLA 750 Dual is capable of printing really large volumes with the consistency, accuracy, and speed needed for big applications, like an auto part.

To keep things as simple as possible, the 3D resin printer is highly appreciated because of:

  • Material variety available
  • Fine details printed
  • Smooth surfaces obtained
  • Very fast printing
  • Lattice structures
  • High throughputs

Conclusions

3D resin printers like from Elgoo are very good for people interested in creating unique structures in the comfort of their home but they are also appropriate for business purposes. We simply cannot deny the advantages highlighted above. However, this does not mean you can simply go out and buy the first 3D printer that uses resin.

Take the time you need to first understand what you will be using the 3D printer for. This will quickly give a short list of options to take into account. Then, you have to think about how much money you have available since budgets limit options.

As soon as you get your shortlist of resin 3D printers that are suitable for your purposes, just look for reviews written by people or businesses who actually used them. This will let you know if there are some problems the manufacturer does not want you to know about. It can also help you decide what the best option truly is in the event that you are not sure what to choose out of 2 3D resin printers that look similar to you.

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