3D Printing Post-Processing: Essential Cleaning Tools for Resin 3D Prints
For SLA 3d printing, post-processing steps, such as cleaning and curing, are always more complicated than FDM 3d printing. And you are very apt to mess up without the aid of useful tools during post-processing. We've made a recommended list of cleaning tools for resin 3d prints that includes reusable accessories to help you handle uncured resin more safely and effectively.
Before starting your post-processing, it is crucial to make sure that you are wearing a mask and gloves and working in a well-ventilated area while cleaning your resin. Even if your objects are printed with plant-based UV resin, it is still necessary to take protective measures to prevent direct contact with the liquid resin and any potential harm to your health.
Resin-based 3d printing can be fun and creative, but it can also be dangerous if you come into direct contact with uncured resin. Wearing nitrile gloves protects your skin, as they are made from rubber, highly resistant to chemicals, preventing sticky resin from causing skin allergies and other potential hazards. After use, you can clean the gloves by washing solvents such as IPA.
A silicone mat is an essential tool for keeping your workspace clean and protecting your workdesk from resin spills. It can catch any resin that drips or spills from uncured resin prints, when scraping off a finished print from the building platform or removing supports. Cleaning the mat is convenient - simply expose it to the sun to allow the leftover resin to fully solidify, and then bend the mat so that the cured resin pops out, making it easy to remove.
The process of removing support requires your care and patience. You can use your hands to slowly break off the support structures of varying thicknesses generated by the slicer, however, this may accidentally damage the print's surface. In this case, you may need a sharp pair of cutting pliers to easily snip off the supports.
A spray bottle can be a useful tool for cleaning resin 3D prints. It can be filled with a solvent like IPA to work with delicate or intricate prints. The Anycubic cleaning kit comes with a spray bottle that has three different modes. You can change the mode by turning the nozzle of the bottle. They are straight line mode for focused cleaning, fog mode for large-area cleaning, and shutdown mode for preventing wrong spraying.
Liquid resin can splatter during the printing and post-processing process. Given that using disposable paper towels for cleaning is not environmentally friendly, and cleaning cloths can be a more sustainable alternative. Cleaning cloths can be used to effectively clean the machine, printing platform, resin vat edges, workbench, and other areas. However, when you are cleaning the resin vat, be careful not to use any abrasive cleaning tools to the FEP film that will probably damage the fragile film. Using IPA to clean any residual resin on the cloth is a good practice before the next use.
Funnel with Strainer
To ensure the quality of the next printing after changing resins or cleaning the resin vat, it is important to utilize a funnel to filter out any lumpy resin that may have settled at the bottom of the vat. While there are various funnel material options such as plastic, silicone, and stainless steel, it would be more convenient to opt for an integrated funnel that comes with a strainer, so you don't have to buy them separately.
Wash & Cure Machine
Most 3D printer manufacturers will provide post-processing machines for their printers to make post-processing easier for users. For example, Anycubic which specializes in desktop 3D printers worldwide, offers two models of washing and curing stations for their resin printers of varying sizes. They support two cleaning methods: basket or hanging washing. The bottom of the station is equipped with a reflector and a rotating platform to enable resin prints to receive UV light from 360 degrees and achieve complete curing.
The specifications for the two machines are compared below.
|Wash & Cure Machine Plus||Wash & Cure Machine 2.0|
|Lamp beads quantity||20||12|
L-shape strip light