3D printing with resin is not at all a trouble-free experience. The print quality is better than PLA and others but it’s only when you can get the print finished without trouble. Other times, there are so many hassles.
The print would be fragile, it wouldn’t stick to the build plate, print layers would be separated, print surfaces would be wavy, some parts would move and interfere with the other, small fins and disks would show up on the edges, after the print is finished the print bed would be messy.
But there are always some good reasons that drive people to use resin printers. They are: superior surface quality, high accuracy, speedy multiple object printing,fewer settings of printers to configure and many more.
And they enjoy the blessings at the cost of the problems stated above.
Along with some common problems with resin printing today we’ll go over some issues that are less discussed like what happens when you get resin on your skin or in your eye, smoothing resin edges, curing resin prints without UV light, cleaning resin prints without alcohol etc.
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General Effects of Resin on Human Body
1. Skin irritation
With some mild common symptoms like swelling, redness and itching, touch of resin on the bare skin can do more serious and chronic harm to your skin like allergies when you are exposed for a long time.
2. Reproductive system
Though resin does not affect the human reproductive system directly, some instances have been found that suggest that two of the resin solvents, namely 2-methoxyethanol and 2-ethoxyethanol, caused reduced sperm counts in men.
One of the types of epoxy modifiers has been known to cause congenital disabilities in some animals.
3. Nervous system
Liquid resin can get through your skin into your body and affect your nervous system. Some of the common nervous symptoms due to exposure to resin may be nausea, headache and confusion.
Due to longer exposure to epoxy there may even be loss of consciousness with those who are weak and have low vital power.
4. Eyes, nose and throat irritation
Resin vapors can irritate your eyes, nose and throat which can result in headache. Most cases the effects of resin vapor on your skin and outer organs can hardly be relieved by rinsing water because water cannot wash away this chemical substance.
Later in this article we’ll discuss in detail some of the first aids regarding resin damage on your skin, eyes etc.
Certain types of epoxy resin have been reported to cause cancerous cell growth on the skin especially when your skin is somehow exposed to resin fumes for years.
Closer observation detects that epichlorohydrin is likely to cause this cancer because latest epoxy resins contain less epichlorohydrin and fewer reports of resin burn or other harms are heard.
6. Epoxy Fume
When liquid epoxy evaporates due to high temperature or other reasons, anyone around could inhale it not knowing what he did. After getting inside, the resin vapor gets trapped in the mucus lining of our respiratory system and causes some degree of respiratory issues like dyspnea, asthma etc.
If You Get Resin on Your Skin
Step-1: Precaution and Pores
The first thing about working anything that involves resin is that you need to be very careful and use some safety gears. Wearing long sleeves and gloves will save you almost entirely from getting resin on your skin.
But even after taking the precautions it can get on your skin. Your gloves may have small pores or get thin enough after long use through which resin can get inside.
Step-2: The Trouble
If you can get resin off your skin immediately, it doesn’t damage your skin. The trouble arises when it stays on your skin for quite a while. It is generally called a resin burn.
It happens when the resin is curing into your skin and you feel dermatitis or skin irritation.
Step-3: Perfect Solution
The solution is, however, very easy. It’s your regular baby wipe and isopropyl alcohol. The only important thing you must remember is that it must be 91% isopropyl alcohol. There are 70% or less than that which are weaker for our purpose.
The process is simple. You take a baby wipe, you saturate it with isopropyl alcohol and you wipe down every area of your skin that has resin on it. Within a couple of minutes you’re done.
There is yet another easy way that some of us have found recently. Rub some kind of oil (olive oil, for example, works fine) on the spots where resin has got on.
Then apply some dishwashing liquid. You’ll see how it is coming out. Oil makes resin soft and less sticky. So it easily disappears with the oil when you apply dishwashing liquid.
If You Get Resin In Your Eye
This is a very dangerous situation and you should do something immediately.
Before we go for the solution straight away we’d like to remind you of the precautions. To protect your precious eyes you must wear glasses whenever you paint with resin or clean your 3D print bed.
During scraping the resin off your rubber spatula, for instance, a very small piece of resin may spring up and find your eyes to rest in if you’re not wearing your safety glasses.
What could happen then?
Your eyes will soon be swollen and almost closed, it may get red, you’ll feel the terrible burning sensation and as a natural biological consequence of burning sensation, profuse tears may run down your injured eye.
If resin stays in your eye for some hours it may cause some irreversible damage to the tender tissues of your eye.
If you have contact lens solution at home try spraying it in your eyes. It should soften the resin and lessen the chemical effects on your eye.
A man having such an experience said he used a huge amount of the solution which took almost an hour to get relieved of the ‘panic and pain’. The lens solution works much better than water flow.
If you don’t have the lens solution or something else you know will infallibly work, get medical help/advice over the phone or run to the nearest hospital.
Smoothing Resin Edges without Sanding
Resin prints are by far smoother than PLA prints. But sometimes the edges of the prints can be sharp and can scratch you. There are a number of options, without sanding, to smooth the edges.
1. Using a Deburring Tool
One way is to use a deburring tool which will remove the sharpness of the edges. This process, however, doesn’t smooth the edge perfectly.
You must keep in mind one thing while using a deburring tool in case you’re not quite used to handling it.
You need to stabilize your hand keeping your thumb on the print and use the deburring tool along the edge with the other four fingers.
2. Using Rotary Tools
Another way is to use rotary tools. There are bits of different categories. You need to select a grinding bit or a sanding bit or a polishing bit as per your purpose.
Here, also, you need to be careful not to heat up the resin print rubbing against it for a long time which might make it smoke and discolor. Also remember to put on safety goggles so that no resin dust gets in your eyes.
3. Using Toothpaste
This process is a sort of life-hack but it works just fine. Take a small amount of toothpaste on a towel and gently rub it over the sharp edges. You’ll see how the edges are gradually getting smoother.
Don’t forget to wipe out the toothpaste from the print after your smoothing is finished.
Curing Resin Prints Without UV Light
First, consider whether the sunlight contains UV rays. Yes, it does. But the amount of UV in the sunlight is scanty— not more than 3.5% of the sunlight is UV that we get.
Some double the amount is trapped in the atmosphere. Therefore, it’s somehow possible to cure your resin prints by keeping them in direct sunlight.
Though it takes something between 15 minutes to half an hour, depending upon the type of resin, the model size and brightness of sunlight.
There is, however, another risk of having your print warped in case the sunlight is scorching.
In case you don’t have enough sunlight available you can cure resin print by keeping it in a warm room, approximately 28 degree celsius. Your old filament bulbs can be of use because they provide enough heat when kept near your print.
You can keep your print in an oven as well but it would increase the warping possibility.
Thinking of a way round can show us many of the easier ways to solve so many stubborn, persisting problems.
After you clean your print, remove the supports and simply drop your print into a clear container and set the container in the sun or curing chamber. Cure it for half the time you’d normally cure your print.
Cleaning Resin Prints Without Alcohol
Though isopropyl alcohol cleans resin faster and better its harsh smell is rather repelling and it can often make your transparent print cloudy. So, many people are willing not to use alcohol to clean resin prints.
Fortunately, there are some handy alternatives.
Probably the first and most interesting alternative is using what we can call water-washable resin. For instance, you can try the Elegoo Water Washable Rapid Resin.
Though this resin is a bit more expensive than regular resins on the market it compensates more by omitting your cleaning materials. It also emits a less harsh smell. That’s another relieving factor.
The only caution you’ll need is that the water you’ll use to clean resin print should be well treated and soft, i.e., with a very small amount of salts and minerals.
2. Ultrasonic Cleaner
You can really be satisfied with this All-In-One ultrasonic cleaner machine with its impressive performance. You can choose it simpler, without the ultrasonic part, and use it with any cleaning liquid of your choice.
If you want a professional look of your print you might like to try this Anycubic Wash & Cure machine. This device is going to ensure a resin-odor-free 3D printing experience.
The only risk factor involving ultrasonic cleaner is that if the transducer fails (chances are reducing to almost zero with newly introduced technologies) there may be a micro-explosion, and its connection to the cleaning fluid, which is inflammable, can create a ball of fire.
3. Mean Green
This is no minor option and so many people are using Mean Green to clean resin prints with satisfactory results. It has a less harsh smell and easily goes with your ultrasonic cleaner showing no issues at all. It is also cheap compared to the other alternatives to IPA.
The only downside is that it takes a bit longer to wash your resin prints with it. Sometimes it can make your print surface a bit tacky.
You can get this excellent cleaner here.
4. Other Options
There are more but they have less pros and more cons. You might like to study more on acetone (harsh odor, highly flammable), denatured alcohol or ethanol (highly flammable), mineral spirits (slightly flammable and less effectual)
How Long Does It Take for Resin to Decompose?
There are basically two types of resins: natural resin and synthetic resin. Both types have further subtypes. Among all types of resins only a handful of natural resins decompose.
Eco resin and silicon resin decompose completely. They generally take 5 to 7 days to decompose. Epoxy resin is not composed of 100% organic matter.
So it does not decompose completely. But it does biodegrade to some extent. The leftover can, however, be recycled.
Can You Make Resin Mold With a 3D Printer?
Why not? 3D printers are there to print 3D objects. And molds are certainly a hollow 3D object that you can pour liquid plastic or flexible silicon into.
Just the way you print any other 3D object, create a mold with any 3D modeling software, or select from thousands of pre-designed molds, slice your mold, print it out and you’re done.
There are many other problems that we feel we need to provide solutions to and queries that we should answer. We hope to come with more in future.
Thank you for going through the whole article!