Intro: Low Cost UV Curing Box for 3D Resin Prints
SO about two years ago I got my first 3D Resin printer and I LURVE IT! If you haven't tried one you will be amazed at the 'coarse' resolution prints. After a print finishes you wash the uncured resin off and allow it to cure. They are a little sticky at that point. You need to let them cure with a little UV light.
I live in Florida and we get a lot of natural UV and so I used to just set prints on the window sill. This was not convenient half of day (guess when...) or in the happenstance we had a lot of cloud cover. A lot of people talked about making UV light 'tanks' to shorten the curing time. I had a UV nail lamp for exposing photosensitive masks for PCB etching and I thought I would try it why buy another piece of equipment right?).
And it did help. Curing time went way down. The only problem is that the UV lamp has a really short height. So I decided to build a box.
Step 1: Mats
This project can be built for about $30 if you use some on hand products. Minimally, you will need:
- a 36W UV Gel Nail Dryer Lamp —between $19 and $29 on amazon like these
- some aluminum foil $3ish
- an adhesive (tape, glue stick, spray adhesive — I had this on hand, maybe you will also)
- a cardboard box of some sort I used a printer paper box
If you want to build the deluxe version you will also need
- a second box on the smaller than the first box (come on you can find a free box, no?)
- more foil ($0 - use the rest of that roll)
- Rotating Mini Display Stand - Solar Powered like this (scored mine on Amazon for $6)
Step 2: Your Basic Unit
Of course you could just put the parts in the UV Nail lamp with out all this stuff, but the height is limited. We are going to use the box as a deeper container. I opted for a printer paper box that was on its way to the recycling bin. It has a convenient lid and a lot of height and volume in general.
Simply line the inside of the box with the foil using you favorite adhesive product we used some spray adhesive but you could do the same with tape or a glue stick.
Line the under side of the top panel as well. and cut a hole just slightly smaller than the opening bottom of the nail lamp light chamber. Our had a slide out tray and so we cut it just smaller than that. I lined this scrap piece with foil and also used it to block the side entrance of the nail light.
Step 3: Customize the Depths, Add the Rotator
Now that you have a nice deep well of reflective surface to direct the UV light into, you might want a mid-size riser for those middle sized pieces. To get them closer to the lights. This is where I took the mid sized box and covered it in foil. Now you will have three level. Really small pieces can go onto the mid-sized box with the lamp directly set on top. Mid-sized pieces use the riser in the larger box. Take out the riser for tall pieces or a lot on smaller prints.
Now if you want to really customize that baby, you use the Solar Rotating stand. The rotating stand will spin the object allowing more of it to be exposed to the lamps. You will find that you need to turn you objects every so often to get full cure on all surfaces if you don't use this. The UV lamp is just enough to get the platform turning. Between that and the reflected light it helps cure all sides.
Happy Resin Printing!