SLA 3D Printing is a process of curing liquid resin layer by layer until a solid object is created based on 3D models, which is also known as stereolithography. Compared with other 3D Printing technologies that use powder or filament, the printing material of SLA is liquid resin, making it special not only for the product itself but also the post-processing steps. In this article, we walk through every step of how to deal with SLA 3D prints post-processing.
Image Source: 3DPRINT
SLA uses photopolymer resins as printing material so that the resin can be cured by the UV laser light. Because of printing material is liquid, resin 3D prints have advantages such as smooth surface and high precision, while the post-processing of SLA printed part is unique as well. It is feasible to optimize the quality and mechanical properties of SLA 3D prints by following the correct post-processing. Basically, there are three necessary steps for SLA post-processing, and optional solutions for better surface or color too. However, please prepare nitrile gloves, safety glasses, mask before post-processing, and working environment with good ventilation is necessary. If bare skin makes contact with resin accidentally, please wash with soap and water immediately. After everything is in the right place, let's get started!
Image Source: 3D Printing Industry
After parts are printed, it takes some times for remaining 3D Printing resin on products to run down. Hence, it is better to leave the parts sit for a couple of minutes. When the 3d resin is not dripping from the product any more, it is time for cleaning. Cleaning resin prints, one of the most common and professional ways is ultrasonic cleaning. Fill the container with cleaner liquid to cover the resin prints and let it sit for several minutes. The ultrasonic machine will help take off the uncured resin on the printed part, and showcase a clean and smooth surface. The choice of cleaner can be isopropyl alcohol (IPA), tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether (TPM), and dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether (DPM).
Moreover, washing station is one of the options. Many resin printer manufacturers offer 2-in-1 machine for washing and curing resin prints in one device. While you can also find one which is dedicated to washing. After cleaning the prints, drying is necessary before the next step.
Image Source: Elma Schmidbauer GmbH
As SLA material is liquid, supports are needed during SLA printing to avoid deformation. Therefore, we will see supports on SLA resin printed parts. After cleaning the parts, the next step is to remove supports that attached to the products. However, removing supports can also be done after curing which we will introduce in the next step. It is easier to remove before curing the prints. Normally, the supports are easy to break off by hand as they are fragile and soft. If there are still remaining supports which are difficult to remove cleanly by hand, dedicated cutters can be one option to snip off the supports. Nevertheless, there may be burr on product even after removing supports, a sheet of sandpaper can solve this issue.
Image Source: Formlabs
Curing resin prints comes after. To optimize the mechanical properties for your functional prints, cure the prints by UV light again is necessary. In additions, the curing time depends on what kind of resins you are using for printing and what specific properties you want for your prints, so that we suggest you to follow the instructions from material and UV light curing station manufacturer.
To be specific, there are options for you to cure the SLA prints. Firstly, we recommend you to use curing station from SLA printer manufacturers. Similar as washing stations, many printer manufacturers deliver dedicated curing stations for SLA prints, which is one of the most efficiency and useful ways to cure your resin prints successfully. Moreover, you can follow instructions and guidelines from the manufacturers in case you are 3D Printing beginner. For more creative options, you can try UV light lamp or nail polish curing lamp. However, these choices may not be suitable for large SLA prints.
Image Source: Formlabs
To make your resin 3D prints properties achieve your desired outcomes such as detailed finish, smoother surface, and colorful. There are some optional solutions to better showcase your resin prints including sand blasting, grinding, and painting. But please keep in mind that pay attention to operational safety while you are dealing with mentioned optional post-processing.
Image Source: Formlabs
After introducing all of these post-processing options for SLA resin prints, you may be wondering what if use online SLA 3D Printing service which includes professional post-processing services. Wenext is a manufacturing bureau that provides online 3D printing, including SLA, SLS, MJF, SLM, and a wide range of post-processing choices. Wenext is being able to receive customers' 3D designs from instant quoting engine, then we will process the designs and see if we can optimize the designs to ensure successfully printing. Then we will arrange production as soon as possible and deliver the SLA prints efficiently in order to satisfy our customers at any time. Before shipping out the prints, we will go through every step of strict quality inspection. For SLA prints post-processing, basic processes such as ultrasonic cleaning, supports removing, drying, and curing is what we promise. Besides, threading, tapping, sanding, polishing, and painting are optional for our customers. Wenext makes sure every resin print delivered is high quality and high precision with smooth and detailed finish.
Please feel free to try instant quoting on our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.