Products > 3D printing

SLA 3D Printer yet?

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I am starting this separate thread so as not to pollute the existing, very good thread, on FDM printing.

I have been using FDM 3d printers for about 3 years now. I have two printers at home for hobby projects and I am very pleased with the results I can obtain for medium and large objects.
Most of the stuff I print is things like custom enclosures for hobby electronics projects, plastic couplers for my cyclonic extractor modification to my workshop vac, etc.

Small and fine detail stuff is simply a fail with FDM - quite understandable.

So I want to move into SLA for the smaller objects and for stuff that needs more strength than FDM is able to offer. FDM will still have its place in my workshop.
I am looking at purchasing the ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X 3D Printer 4K 8.9 Inch LCD UV Resin Printer 192*120*250mm from the manufacturers shop on AliExpress. I will also purchase one of their washing and final curing machines if I go down this route.
Key reasons for this model are: Good service and support from Anycubic with my FDM printers, fairly large build volume and high resolution.

Most of the videos I have watched portray the process as very successful, albeit potentially a bit messy.

I am well aware of the safety requirements of working with this type of resin, so I will not dwell on those here.
Key questions to the experienced of you out there:
1. How do you know or measure when the Isopropanol used for rinsing the objects and equipment is saturated with uncured resin? How do you know when to replace it?
2. The MSDS for the Anycubic brand of standard resin is easy to find on the internet, however a spec sheet containing other information such as dielectric strength and cured temperature stability eludes me. (Other data such as Hardness, Shrinkage, Tensile Strength, etc are readily available.) Does anyone have this data?
3. Obviously the resin is cured using UV light, but how stable is it outdoors in natural UV light for extended periods after you have finished the process?
4. If one was to print toothed gears and worm drives, etc, what lubricant would you use on the resin parts? Would a common silicone grease be suitable?
5. Some videos recommend not returning resin from the print vat to the original bottles of unused resin. Some videos do return it to the bottle. It seems both expensive and wasteful to not reuse the non-cured resin. What is the advice of experienced users?
6. What sort of things have you printed using SLA and possibly why you chose that method over FDM?

Many thanks in advance for sharing any tips and tricks, recommendations and avoidances.

I, too, am interested in the answers to these questions.  Some of them I had already had in the back of my mind, but you have a couple more that I had not considered - but upon reading, I would also like to know.

Ok, so I have pulled the trigger...

Anycubic Photon Mono X 3D Printer 4K 8.9 Inch LCD UV Resin Printers 192*120*250mm
Anycubic 3d Printer Wash and Cure Machine 2-in-1 UV Resin curing
10 * 1 litre bottles of Anycubic 405nm UV Resin - assorted colours

Over the next couple of weeks I will build the fume cupboard to contain the printer and washer machines.
Actually it is just an extension to the existing fume cupboard around my FDM printers.
PLA is almost odorless, but when you start printing with ABS you most certainly need a fume cupboard.

I will continue to attempt to research my above questions. If I find sensible answers I will copy here.

I will keep this thread up to date with my journey down the SLA path.

I was looking into getting the Anycubic Photon Mono X but they've increased the price so -- NOPE!  Even before the price increase it wasn't cheap, compared to the Elegoo Saturn for example, though compared to some of the older players in the game it's price was not bad.  Still, they increased the price by about $140USD so I guess I'll wait to see if Elegoo can get there delivery act together.  At current prices the Saturn is more than $200USB cheaper.  Both, it should be said, use 4K monochrome LCD's with pretty much the same build volume.


One thing to consider with all LCD-based SLA printers is the LCD panels are prone to failure from continued exposure to UV light.  Some estimates are around 200~400 hours of printing before 'dead' pixels and "leaky" areas of the panel (light no longer being adequately blocked by the panel) begin to disrupt printing.

This can be a fair expense - for instance - Prusa sell a replacement panel for their SLA printer for about $100 USD.  That's not too bad if it lasts as long as estimated but it's a cost to consider above resin.  The consideration has to be here, how easy is the panel to service and are spare parts (in assembled form) regularly available? 
At a former workplace we had a Form 2 (laser-based SLA printer) and nothing but problems with that printer, really quite disappointing.  I think the issue was the laser was beginning to wear too much so it could not expose the resin as well.  The prints would regularly fail - at least a 40-50% failure rate - by failing to adhere to the bed.  This was despite adding additional support on top of the recommendations from the Form software.  I am led to believe that this is actually uncommon with the Form 2 - it may have affected earlier units - but we were out of warranty by the time we realised the problem and Form would charge well over £1000 to service the laser unit on our printer.


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