Best 3D printer resin – CNET
Resin 3D printing is a little different from what you might think is normal 3D printing. Most best 3d printers use a material called filament to produce prints, but some use reactive resin to create incredibly detailed models.
These printers use a special type of UV resin available in a variety of colors and chemistries, each of which can create a different type of end result. Many of these are specialty resins that you probably won’t need every day, but it can get tricky when looking for the right material. We’ve put together this helpful list of the best resins to choose from. The list will be updated as more resins are tested by our team.
Siraya Tech Fast is the perfect balance between price per gallon and functionality. There are cheaper resins, but many of them tend to crack or become sticky if not handled properly. Rapide has been my go-to for the past few years and never lets me down when it comes to reliability.
I also use it for all my resin 3D printer testing to see what each printer can handle. The smoky gray color is my favorite, but there are some amazing colors to choose from.
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The holy grail of clear resin is staying clear after curing. When you add UV light to clear resin it tends to yellow slightly making it look more like nicotine stained glass than freshly made glass. Anycubic’s highly transparent resin resists the yellowing of other transparent resins, and as long as you don’t over-harden it, it will retain the crystal clear appearance.
Pro tip: After hardening the model, spray it with several coats of high gloss clear varnish to really make it shine.
When you’re just starting out, it’s helpful to buy a set of inexpensive resins to start your collection. This pack of four 500 gram resin bottles can be mixed and matched so you can have four different colors, perfect for creating different effects on your models.
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While Elegoo touts its herbal resin as non-irritating and safe, it is far better than all other resins in this regard. It should always be handled with gloves, respirator and goggles until fully cured.
It is however cheap, easy to use and gives reliable results for the price. I also like that the smell of resin is almost non-existent with vegetable resins.
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Resin can be quite brittle, and if you’re building parts that need to be stressed, a resin like Anycubic’s Hard Resin could help its longevity.
Hard resin works the same way as other resins but allows some flexibility in the final model. This reduces the chances of it breaking into pieces like dry spaghetti.
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One of the coolest things I’ve ever done with a resin printer is making a casting for jewelry. I used some of this resin to print a Green Lantern ring, then took it to a friend of mine with an oven. She wrapped it in plaster and baked it. The resin has a high wax content which helps it melt, leaving behind a perfect mold for pouring the silver.
This resin isn’t cheap, but if you want to make your own jewelry and have access to an oven, this may be for you.
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3D Printing Resin FAQ
Resin 3D printing is very different from other types of additive manufacturing. It can be dangerous, but it’s incredibly rewarding if you can get it right. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the process.
Is 3D printing resin dangerous?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: yes, if you’re careful, it’s fine. Touching resin with your bare hands can cause chemical burns, and the more you handle it, the more likely you are to become allergic to it. Now I have to be very careful, because I get swollen eyes if liquid resin touches my skin. This is not a joke. Making sure you are wearing the proper protective gear is vitally important when using resin. At a minimum, you should use nitrile gloves whenever handling uncured resin, although I recommend a pair of safety goggles and a respirator to keep toxins away.
Can I use normal resin from Michaels?
The type of resin you might see at Michaels or other craft stores is not the same as 3D printing resin. Most of these resins are two-part systems that bond chemically when mixed. UV resin cures under, you guessed it, UV light. However, it only does this at certain wavelengths, so not all resins will work. You will need to use resins specially labeled as 3D printing resins.
What happens if I don’t cure the model?
There are two main curing stages for a resin printed model. The first is curing, which occurs inside the printer when UV light hardens a layer of resin to form the model. The second happens after the model is finished. When you first remove the model from the build plate, you should always use gloves to handle it, as the outside will be coated with uncured resin. You will need to wash the model in isopropyl alcohol – 90% or more is best – then cure it one last time in a UV chamber or in the sun. This will harden the outer surface and make it safe to handle.
If you don’t do this second cure, the model will remain sticky and unsafe to handle. Even covering it in paint won’t stop it from being dangerous to you and everything around you, including animals and plants. I would recommend a wash and dry system to streamline this process.
Can I 3D print something in resin that is food/body safe?
No. 3D printing resin is never food safe. While curing makes it safe to handle, it’s never 100% and ingesting any amount of resin is a big no-no. The best way to make food safe products from your resin prints is to make a silicone mold out of it and use it to make food safe resin products.
Are there different types of resin?
Although all UV resins are essentially the same, some have different properties that help you achieve different results. Standard resin is great for many projects, but can be quite fragile. Some have a lot of flexibility but don’t lend themselves to fine detail, making them perfect for more practical prints. There are even resins that can be used to make denture molds, so the uses are endless.
Siraya Tech Fast – the best overall resin on our list – can be mixed with other types from the brand to create different properties so you can buy the cheapest resin and mix it with a small amount of more expensive resin with properties different.
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