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8 Kinds Of Resin For 3D Printer

To bring the best out of your SLA printer, you need to use the right materials with it. But there are many types of resins available in the market.

Which resins are the best? What are their special properties?

Let’s find out.

Standard Resin

Standard resin, as the name suggests, is the most used type of resin. It is cheap and sets easily, even if its durability leaves much to be desired. It is much smoother than filament, making it better than a material like PLA or ABS.

The resin is used by hobbyists for general prints. For example, decorative items and prototypes. It can be used for anything, of course. But its lack of durability means that it degrades faster than other materials.                                     

It performs poorly on physical metrics like tensile strength and impact resistance. Thus printing outdoor products with standard resin are not recommended.

Tough Resin

When you need your prints to last a bit longer, you need something tougher than standard resin. Unimaginatively enough, this option is called tough resin.

As you might expect, it is stronger and more durable than standard resin and resists heat much better too.

Make no mistake though; the tough resin is no match for a proper engineering grade material. It is just designed for rough everyday usage, not specialized high-stress applications.

Tough resins are your best bet for printing general end products. Toys, mobile holders, that sort of thing.

It can be used to print objects meant for the outdoors too. Just don’t expect it to hold up as a machinery component.

Engineering Resin

SLA printers are often used for printing machine components or mechanical parts. This is because the light-based process is far more precise than FDM. And accuracy is key in any engineering application.

But this also needs special resins. Normal resin does not have the tensile strength for printing such objects. Or the level of precision required, for that matter

Engineering resin is a resin for 3D printers with better mechanical properties. Grey resin, for example, withstands pressure much better than tough resin. It also sports a very smooth finish with fine details.

Elastic Resin

There are many interpretations of toughness. Sometimes, what you need is increased durability and some measure of impact resistance. At other times, what you are looking for is elasticity.

Elastic resin can stretch easily, without permanently losing shape. When you wish to print objects that can deform under pressure but not break, this is the material you need.

Mechanical components like springs are thus often made with elastic resin. It is great for damping excess motion or soaking up force without taking damage. This makes it useful in many engineering or packaging scenarios.

Rigid Resin

On the other side of flexibility is rigidity. Sometimes you need a resin for 3D printers that is not only strong but capable of surviving impacts.

Rigid resin is just the material for this. Reinforced with glass fibers, the rigid resin is designed to be impact resistant. Objects printed with it do not lose shape to physical shocks.

This resin is thus the perfect choice for printing sports gear. And any other items meant for rough outdoor usage.

It does not fare that well against prolonged pressure though. For such situations, you need elastic resin instead.

High Temp Resin

High temperatures are often the bane of 3D prints. Most prints are created using thermoplastics, which deform easily when exposed to heat. Resins are no exception.

If you want to print products that can be used in super-heated environments, you need a high temp resin.

The name is self-explanatory. High temp resin can survive without melting at extremely high temperatures.

And by high temperatures, we mean really high temperatures. High temp resins are used to create molds for foundry products. Foundry temperatures are high enough to melt metals, let alone plastic polymers.

Such material is impossible to use as a filament, as the FDM process uses heat for printing. Only an SLA printer can use UV rays to cure such a heat-resistant material easily.

Dental Resin

Objects printed from resins are tough and smooth. Also, they do not contain dust or bacteria between their layers. This is in direct contrast to filament printers.

In the FDM process, the layers are exposed to the air during the printing process. This makes the prints unhygienic for food-grade or medical-grade uses.

As a result, SLA printers are often used to print medical-grade products. Obviously, you cannot use just any resin for it though. You need to use a biocompatible material.

Dental resins are specifically certified for use in medical applications. This consists of dental implants for the most part. Orthopedic implants are sometimes printed too.

Castable Resin

The greatest advantage of resins is their ability to display fine details. This is because the SLA printing process uses focused light instead of an extruder. The resultant print resolution is higher than FDM printers.

This makes resins an amazing choice for printing small, high-detail decorative items. Jewelry, for example.

The problem is, jewelry is made of precious metals. 3D printers cannot exactly work with metallic alloys.

This is where castable resin comes in. It is a quick setting, easily melting resin for 3D printers, used to create finely detailed prints. 

These prints are used to create molds by the lost-wax process. The molds are then used to cast the jewelry in question.

Conclusion

Just like with filaments, there is a vast variety of options in resins too. From standard to tough, elastic to dental, there is a resin for every use case.

And unlike filaments, there are no extra requirements for using the best resins. The heat resistance of the material has no bearing on the printing process, as SLA uses UV rays.

Whether you are printing with a standard resin or something else, it is easy. All you need is a good SLA printer to start using these resins in your own prints.

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