3D Printed Resin Curing Station

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Introduction: 3D Printed Resin Curing Station

About: Teacher of Engineering and Mathematics at Cedar Grove High School

I love 3D printing with my FDM printers, but recently I turned my attention to explore the world of resin printing. After reading a number of positive reviews and watching a few demo videos on YouTube, I decided to purchase an Elegoo Mars LCD resin printer.

After printing my first model, I sprayed it with rubbing alcohol to clean it and placed it outside to cure in the natural UV light. The washing and curing process was messy, took too long, and winter was quickly approaching so leaving my models outside to cure was no longer going to be an option.

I turned to the internet and found plans to convert an old toaster oven into a curing station. The video and directions were great and soon I had a custom curing station (I made mine out of a breadbox instead of a toaster oven). Unfortunately, the strip LEDs I used did not have the correct frequency and my prints did not cure.

I found a UV light on Amazon that had the correct frequency for the Elegoo resin I was using (405 nm). Installing the light in my curing station was going to be very difficult, so I decided to design and print the project using Tinkercad.

This curing station effectively cures my prints and has inspired me to continue to explore the world of resin printing. I hope this project inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and try this (now affordable) technology.

Supplies

Step 1: Tinkercad Your Design

Once my 405nm UV light arrived, I was able to double-check all of the measurements and include them in my Tinkercad design. I designed the curing station in four pieces: two side pieces, a back frame, and a lid. I decided to make the body in two pieces so I could print them separately. Instead of a single thirty-hour print, each side was printed in sixteen hours or less. The lid took an additional seven hours to print and the back frame another three and a half hours.

Please note: Check the maximum height of your resin printer before printing the curing station pieces. I did not accurately account for the height of the solar powered turntable, and some of my largest prints do not fit with the lid on the curing station. I fix this by propping up the lid using a couple of skewers for the rare tall print.

I am a strong believer that if you are going to design and 3D print a custom part, have fun and truly make it custom. I added my name to the front and top of the curing station. If you decide to recreate this project, I recommend you do the same.

Step 2: Line the Inside of the Curing Station

Before my pieces were ready to assemble, I decided to line the inside with reflective vinyl. I took this idea from other curing stations I've seen built from toaster ovens. The reflective metal interior of those designs were cited as ideal for surrounding prints in UV light.

I plan to use a solar powered turntable inside the curing station, so I only lined the one side and lid with the reflective vinyl. This has proven to be very effective.

Step 3: Curing Station Pieces....Assemble!

Prior to printing the final Tinkercad designed curing station pieces, I printed a few test parts. I printed hinges and bolt holes to check their fit (see green test-print picture). This saved me a lot of time and headaches. The pieces fit together perfectly.

I used the six washers on the bolts on the back frame. The fit of the bolts on the side hinges was such that I did not feel washers were necessary.

The only change I would suggest would be the use of 25 mm bolts instead of 30 mm bolts to attach the back frame that holds on the light. I did not have this size bolt when I made this and the ends of the 30 mm bolts stick out inside the curing chamber. However, this has not caused any problems thus far. I just think the aesthetic would be improved with this change.

Step 4: Take Your Curing Station for a Test Drive

Once the pieces of your curing station are assembled and you place the solar-powered turntable inside, you are ready to start curing your resin prints.

My favorite print to date is the Tardis pictured above. This is not my original design and unfortunately, it appears the Thingiverse design I downloaded is no longer available. If you are the designer, or know where I can find this exact file, please post a comment to this project and I will update this Instructable. I want to give credit where credit is due, and this is a truly amazing model. There are MANY similar models available in Thingiverse, but I feel this designer paid special attention to all the details.

Step 5: BONUS STEP: Create an Inexpensive Wash Station

As I mentioned in the introduction, spraying my resin prints with alcohol and scrubbing them by hand was messy and took a very long time.

Inspiration hit me as I was looking around in my refrigerator. I decided to repurpose a container designed for storing pickles, into a resin wash station.

This thing works like a charm. It does not require gallons of isopropyl alcohol each time it needs to be changed. All of my prints have fit into this container so far, and the handle/perforated bottom makes it easy to retrieve my washed prints and agitate the alcohol. I highly recommend trying this out.

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    23 Comments

    0
    AngleAh
    AngleAh

    11 months ago

    Out of curiosity, do you think PLA would work/stand up to UV exposure? It's the only filament I have access to at this time

    0
    PunkRocketScience
    PunkRocketScience

    11 months ago

    How are you finding the effectiveness of the power level of the UV light for curing the prints? Is the 6W light enough or should I consider the 20W one?

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Reply 11 months ago

    The 6W is doing a great job for me. My previous version (the breadbox) seemed to tan the prints. My white and clear prints turned yellow. This light doesn't seem to do that.

    0
    PunkRocketScience
    PunkRocketScience

    Reply 11 months ago

    Outstanding! Glad to hear it. I decided to try going with the 20W as I'm thinking of using a larger box at a further distance. Will comment if I have any issues.

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Reply 11 months ago

    Let me know how it works. Always looking to make improvements.

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Reply 11 months ago

    This is a great model. I love the functionality of the design. The model I printed is slightly different, but this is a great version.

    0
    Entropismo
    Entropismo

    11 months ago

    Wow! that vinyl mirror make it bigger on the inside. Very nice project and instructable.

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Reply 11 months ago

    I like what you did there :)

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thank you for your kind words. The TARDIS you shared is awesome, but it's not the same one I used. The top of the design I printed is open and the words are etched in the design. Still, you shared a superior model.

    0
    shalnachywyt
    shalnachywyt

    Question 12 months ago

    So is this "tardis" that you "printed" 3-D or 2D?

    0
    MishterNash
    MishterNash

    Answer 12 months ago

    4D :)

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Answer 12 months ago

    I printed the 3D Thingiverse file on the Elegoo resign printer. I also printed the model using the FDM Lulzbot, but the resulting print was not even close to the quality I got from the resin printer.

    0
    MrErdreich
    MrErdreich

    12 months ago

    Awesome job and thanks for sharing! Good luck in the contest!

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Reply 12 months ago

    Thanks brother. I indebted to you for introducing me to this site. I love all of the projects you post. I'm especially in awe of the detail you add to your 'teacher' projects. You provide students (and teachers) with everything they need for a successful build. This is invaluable, especially when hands-on tech teachers are looking for opportunities for their students to apply their skills remotely.

    0
    pixel tamer
    pixel tamer

    12 months ago

    Very nice design. I imagine that you could print a one inch high extension ring to fit/place on top to make room for your bigger designs, and keep the UV fully trapped inside.

    0
    DCoster
    DCoster

    Reply 12 months ago

    Absolutely. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, but I can't imagine reprinting this model a few inches taller. Extension rings are a fantastic idea.

    0
    gormly
    gormly

    12 months ago

    Very nice. I am lazy, I did the same thing with a Home Depot $5 bucket (also good for those without a large resin/FDM printer)