Liquid Resin Offers Multiple Options for 3D Printing

By Shaun Bryant

Instead of using powder or filament, STL files use a liquid resin to produce 3D prints. It is a liquid material, so more often than not, you will need to provide a support structure for overhanging parts and cavities.

A resin 3D print is created in a tank filled with liquid resin. The 3D printing process starts with a layer of UV-sensitive liquid polymer being spread over a platform. A UV laser is then used to harden selected parts of the liquid, hardening where the laser beam strikes. The remaining material remains a liquid. Then, the platform is lowered, making room for the next layer of polymer to be drawn (hardened) on top of the previous one. This process is repeated until the 3D model is complete. The supports, for overhanging parts and cavities, are automatically generated, and once the process is finished, the 3D model can be raised out of the tank and the supports removed.

Resin comes in five forms:

  • Standard resin
  • Gray resin
  • Mammoth resin
  • Transparent resin
  • High detail resin

The names of each type of resin are self-explanatory: Standard resin is translucent, gray resin gives a gray metallic finish, mammoth resin allows for larger 3D prints, transparent resin has a glass-like quality, and high detail resin allows for a high level of detail in the 3D model.

The Tinkercad materials guide states that resin comes in many options. You can have white, black, or transparent resin. There is white detail resin, high detail resin, and transparent, paintable resin. It can be rigid and sometimes delicate. It is a liquid photopolymer cured with ultraviolet (UV) light. It comes in white and black and most typical colors. It 3D prints to about 10 layers per 1mm and has a 1mm minimum wall thickness. The figure shows some resin prints from the Tinkercad materials guide.

tinkercad-resin
The Tinkercad materials guide for resin.