A Guide to Resin 3D Printing and How Strong it Really Is

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3D printing is revolutionizing the way we create objects. From medical tools to engineering components, 3D printing has made it easier than ever before for people to quickly and easily produce complex designs in a variety of materials.

One of the most popular 3D printing methods is resin 3D printing, which offers incredible resolution and surface finishes that are hard to beat. But how strong is resin 3D printing?

In this article, we’ll explore  how strong prints made with resin are, and why they’ve become so popular for so many uses. We’ll also look at some tips on how you can make sure your resin prints turn out as strong as possible.

How Strong is Resin 3D Printed Objects

Resin 3D printing has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. It could change the way things are made, from making prototypes of complicated designs to making finished products in large quantities. But how strong are objects made with resin 3D printing?

The strength of a 3D-printed object depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of resin used, the layer thickness, and even how it’s post-processed. In general, things that are printed with a high-strength resin can be almost as strong as parts that are injected-molded.

When using an industrial-grade resin for prototyping or production purposes, parts can reach a tensile strength of up to 50 MPa (7,250 psi) with a layer thickness of 0.04 mm (0.0015 in). While this may not be as strong as traditional injection-molded plastic parts, it is still more than enough for most prototyping and production applications.

Aside from the type of resin used for 3D printing, post-processing is also an important factor when it comes to strength. For a 3D-printed object to be as strong as possible, it should be treated with heat or ultraviolet light after it is made. This can increase tensile strength by up to 70%.

Ultimately, resin 3D printing has come a long way in terms of strength and can be used for a wide variety of applications. With the right type of resin and post-processing, it is possible to create strong parts that rival injection-molded plastics.

Resin 3D printing can be a very useful tool, whether you’re making prototypes of complicated designs or making a lot of final products.

Overview of Resin 3D Printing

Resin 3D printing (also known as SLA or stereolithography) is a type of additive manufacturing technology that uses liquid photopolymer resins to create high-resolution, three-dimensional parts.

It is one of the most popular and widely used ways to make intricate designs with smooth surfaces and lots of small details.

At the start of the process, strong UV lasers are used to cure the resin layer by layer, following the 3D model made in CAD software. The laser beam traces out each cross-section of the design, hardening it into solid layers while at the same time bonding them together one after another until completion.

This makes it possible to get very accurate results in a lot less time than with traditional production methods like machining or injection molding.

Materials Used in Resin 3D Printing

Resin 3D printing uses special materials that help make the prints strong. These materials are usually made of plastic and other substances that make the print very hard and durable.

Depending on the variety of resin used, different material strengths can be achieved. Some resins are designed for high-impact applications and will be very strong, while others may be better suited for more decorative prints that don’t need as much strength.

The common types of resin used in 3D printing are explained below.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane is one of the most common resins used in 3D printing. It is a strong, durable material that can be used for a variety of applications. Polyurethane has great tensile and impact strength, which makes it a great material for parts that need to last, like tools or car parts.

It also has good thermal stability, which means that it doesn’t lose its material properties when heated.

Polyurethane is also resistant to chemicals and can stand up to many solvents and acids for a long time without breaking down or corroding. This makes it suitable for use in harsh environments where chemicals are present.

Also, polyurethane prints have a great surface finish because the resin is smooth and hardens quickly when exposed to UV light. 

The combination of all these traits makes polyurethane an attractive choice for anyone looking to create strong parts with high-end finishes quickly and easily through 3D printing technology.

Polyurethane is ideal for automotive components or tools and many other high-strength applications. 

Pros

  • Excellent tensile and impact strength
  • Good thermal stability
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Great surface finish quality
  • The smoothness of the resin when cured properly with UV light exposure.

Cons

  • Prone to warping due to its high shrinkage rate
  • Difficult to print intricate designs with small details
  • Not as strong and durable as some metal

Acrylate Resin

Acrylate resin is one of the most popular materials used in 3D printing. It’s a type of photopolymer that can be cured using ultraviolet (UV) light, and it produces parts with excellent mechanical properties and surface finishes. 

Acrylate resins are generally available in two varieties: rigid and flexible.

Rigid acrylate resins are often used in prototyping applications for things like rapid prototyping, making parts that work, and even making high-precision molds for injection molding or other casting methods.

They have good tensile strength, impact resistance, thermal stability, chemical resistance, dimensional accuracy, and surface quality, and they cost less than metals or ceramics.

Flexible acrylate resins are becoming more popular because they can make parts that are very flexible and have good tear strength and elongation at break.

This makes them ideal for applications such as automotive components like seals or gaskets; medical device components like catheters; consumer product housings; protective pads; grips on tools or handles; sporting goods components like ski bindings; shoe soles, heels, or straps; keypads or buttons on electronic devices; and more.

Most acrylate resins that are flexible can also be painted, dyed, or machined after they have been made.

Acrylate resin is ideal for fluidic devices, prototyping, and production.

Pros

  • High dimensional accuracy and surface quality
  • Good thermal stability, chemical resistance, and impact resistance
  • Ability to produce highly elastic parts with excellent tear strength and elongation at break values
  • Can be painted, dyed, or machined after they have been made.

Cons

  • Limited heat tolerance (generally up to 110 °C)
  • Shorter shelf life than other photopolymers
  • Parts can be brittle and prone to cracking under impact.

Photopolymer Resin

Photopolymer Resin is a type of 3D printing material that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is made up of liquid polymer and photochemical initiators, which together create an incredibly strong and durable material when exposed to light.

Because of this, it is a great way to make complicated objects with fine details, like those used in jewelry, medical applications, industrial applications, tooling prototypes, and other things. Photopolymer resin also has the advantage of being able to be printed on more quickly than metal or plastic filaments.

The strength and durability of photopolymer resin can vary depending on the type used and how it is cured during the manufacturing process.

In general, high-quality resins will make parts that are very strong, have a smooth surface, and can withstand temperatures up to 260 °C (500 °F). They also don’t react negatively to chemicals because they don’t shrink much when properly cured.

Because of this, 3D-printed parts made from special photopolymer resin work well in places where strength and reliability are important, like in automotive parts or industrial tools.

Photopolymer resin is ideal for creating intricate designs with high surface finishing properties.

Pros

  • Outstanding quality
  • Low shrinkage and high precision
  • Wide applications
  • Fast curing and great stability
  • Low shrinkage and high precision.

Cons

  • Costly materials and set-up costs
  • Require specialized equipment and expertise to use.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is a common material for 3D printing because it has many advantages over other materials. It’s strong and durable yet lightweight, making it ideal for use in many applications. Epoxy resins are also very flexible, which means they can be changed to meet different needs.

Also, they are easy to work with and have great adhesion, which makes them great for making complicated designs with lots of small parts. With all these benefits combined, epoxy resin is an ideal choice for 3D printing projects of any size or complexity.

Epoxy resins come in two parts: the base resin and the hardener. When chemicals are mixed in the right amounts, a chemical reaction happens that makes the bonds between the molecules stronger. This makes a solid piece of plastic or metal that can be shaped into almost any shape you can think of.

The curing process usually takes anywhere from several hours up to several days, depending on the type of epoxy being used and environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity levels.

Due to their molecular structure, epoxy products are stronger than traditional plastics once they have hardened. This makes them perfect for projects that need to last a long time, like car parts or outdoor furniture that will be exposed to high temperatures.

Epoxy 3D printing is a great way to create highly detailed and complex shapes that would otherwise be impossible to produce with traditional manufacturing techniques. As such, it’s becoming increasingly popular in the world of product development and engineering.

Epoxy resins can be used largely for complicated designs and small parts.

Pros

  • Hard as a rock and has no bubbles
  • 1:1 ratio by volume and easy to use
  • 100% money-back guarantee and not yellow after curing
  • Crystal clear and self-leveling
  • Wide use and non-toxic.

Cons

  • Not UV resistant

ABS Resin

ABS resin is a type of 3D printing material that is commonly used for prototyping and manufacturing applications. It is a copolymer of acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene that has great mechanical properties, such as high impact strength and toughness.

ABS resin can be used to create parts with greater accuracy than traditional injection molding, as well as parts with complex geometries, without the need for expensive tooling or machining processes.

Also, it can stand up to heat well, so it can be used in places where temperatures can change a lot while the machine is running.

ABS resin offers a number of advantages over other materials when it comes to 3D printing. Its relatively low cost makes it attractive to those who are looking to produce large numbers of parts quickly and efficiently without breaking the bank.

Also, because it stays the same size, designers can get precise tolerances while keeping the structure’s integrity. This isn’t always possible with materials like PLA or PETG resins, which are more brittle.

Finally, because the layers are smooth and the thicknesses are all the same, ABS-like tough resin prints have excellent surface finish quality. This makes them perfect for making finished products that look good even after they have been sanded and painted.

ABS resin is ideal for creating parts like prototypes, figurines, and even functional parts.

Pros

  • Good mechanical properties, including high-impact strength and toughness
  • Excellent accuracy for parts with complex geometries without expensive tooling or machining processes
  • Heat resistance is suitable for applications where temperatures may fluctuate significantly during operation.
  • Smooth surface finish quality is due to uniform layers, resulting in aesthetically pleasing finished products.

Cons

  • Susceptible to warping, especially in large prints
  • Not suitable for use with delicate parts as its strong impact strength may cause cracking or breaking.

Other types of materials used in resin 3D printing include:

  • Nylon Filament
  • Polypropylene Filament 
  • PLA Filament

Different Filaments and Resins’ Tensile Strength (Mega Pascals)

Tensile strength measures a material’s ability to resist breaking or tearing apart under tension. The tensile strength of resin 3D printing materials varies depending on the type of resin used.

Resin/FilamentMPa
Polypropylene33
Epoxy41
ABS28
Photopolymer60
PLA37
Nylon85
Polyuethane1–5

Advantages of Resin 3D Printing

With its incredible accuracy, speed, cost-effectiveness, and versatility, it’s no wonder why resin 3D printing has become one of the most popular methods for producing parts quickly with amazing results.

Strong Parts

One of the biggest advantages of resin 3D printing is that it can produce strong parts that are ideal for many applications.

Several things, like larger layer height, infill density, and the type of material used, affect how strong the parts made by resin 3D printers are. A thin layer height lets prints show more accurate details and also cuts production time by a lot. However, this will result in a weaker part than if a thicker layer were used.

Infill density is a measure of how full or empty an object is from the inside out. Higher densities make prints stronger, but they take longer to make because they need more layers.

Lastly, different types of materials have varying levels of strength depending on what they’re made of,  some being stronger than others when properly cured after printing.

Accurate Details

Resin 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing that is very precise and can make parts with a lot of small details and high levels of accuracy.

It is becoming more and more popular for making prototypes and finished products because it can make complex shapes that would be hard or impossible to make with traditional methods.

In addition, resin 3D printing offers faster production times than other forms of 3D printing, making it an attractive option for short-run production runs.

Resin 3D printing can be accurate to the micron level, which lets designers make parts that fit together very tightly.  This makes it perfect for applications where precise measurements are needed, like in medical device parts or aerospace parts, where exact measurements are needed to make sure that performance and safety requirements are met.

Resin 3D printing has another benefit in that it can make parts with very thin walls that are still strong. This allows manufacturers to use less material while still making strong, lightweight parts.

Fast Printing Speeds

Another advantage of using resin 3D printing is its fast print speeds, which can produce parts much faster than traditional FDM or SLA machines.

The speed at which parts are printed on a resin printer depends on several factors, such as layer height, exposure time, and resolution settings. 

In general, prints with higher resolutions will take longer to finish because they have more layers, but the surfaces and details will be of higher quality.

For smaller parts where detail isn’t as critical, it’s possible to increase the layer height, resulting in faster print times while still maintaining an acceptable level of accuracy and quality. 

Resin printers can make prints in minutes instead of hours like some other types of 3D printers. This makes them great for projects that need to be done quickly or for prototyping multiple designs at the same time.

Smooth Finish

When it comes to 3D printing, one of the best things is to get a smooth finish. Fortunately, resin 3D printing is one of the best methods for achieving this goal. 

Resin 3D printers use liquid photopolymer resins that harden when exposed to ultraviolet light to make parts with very smooth surfaces and small, precise details.

This makes them ideal for applications where aesthetics are important, such as prototypes or end-use products that will be visible to customers. 

The ability to achieve a nice surface finish also allows users to create parts with complex geometries without having any noticeable layer lines or rough edges on the surface, resulting in highly accurate prints that look great from any angle.

Also, because these machines can make prints with a lot of detail, they are often used to make miniatures and other small objects that need a lot of small details.

Low Cost

Resin 3D printing is a cheap way to make parts that are accurate and detailed and can be made quickly.

Resin 3D printing can save you money in a number of ways, such as by using liquid photopolymer resins, which can be less expensive than the traditional filament-based materials used in FDM printers.

Additionally, since these machines can print faster than other types of 3D printers, they require fewer man-hours for setup and production, resulting in further savings in labor costs.

Finally, since resin prints often require little post-processing, they can save time otherwise spent sanding, painting, or finishing printed objects before they’re ready for use, saving both time and money over the course of a project.

Comparing the Strength of Resin 3D Printing to Other Materials

Resin 3D printing is becoming more and more popular as a way to make 3D objects because it is cheap and easy to use. But how does its strength measure up against other materials? 

To answer this question, it’s important to look at a variety of factors, such as durability, tensile strength, hardness, and more.

Durability

Resin 3D printing offers excellent durability. When compared to other materials like nylon, it is more resistant to wear and tear due to its flexibility, which allows it to withstand a higher level of pressure without cracking or warping.

Also, resin 3D prints are less likely to break down over time in the same way that traditional plastics do. This makes them a great choice for components that need to be used over the long term, such as automotive and industrial parts.

Tensile Strength

Resin 3D printing also offers good tensile strength. This refers to the material’s ability to resist stretching without breaking or deforming.

The higher the tensile strength of a material, the more durable it is. In most cases, resin 3D printing offers tensile strength that is comparable to other materials like ABS and PLA.

Also, depending on the type of resin used and the layer height, it is possible to achieve a tensile strength of up to 50 MPa (7,250 psi) – making it a great choice for applications that require strong parts.

Hardness

Hardness is another important thing to think about when judging the strength of 3D printing with resin. Harder materials are better at withstanding outside forces like impacts and wear and tear.

Resin is a good material for 3D printing because it is hard, especially when compared to PLA and TPU, which are softer. Its hardness is comparable to that of many other materials, like ABS, PETG, and Nylon.

Flexibility

Flexibility is an important factor to consider when evaluating the strength of 3D-printed objects. Flexible materials are able to withstand external forces such as impacts or abrasion better than rigid ones, and can also be used in applications where tight tolerances need to be maintained. 

Resin 3D printing offers good flexibility, making it a great choice for a variety of applications.

One key benefit of using flexible materials for 3D printing is that they can conform to complex shapes without deforming or breaking. This makes them ideal for projects that require intricate details or parts with curved surfaces, like automotive components or medical devices.

Additionally, this type of material has a higher degree of elasticity, which allows it to absorb shock more effectively than rigid materials, making it perfect for use in products where durability is critical, such as outdoor furniture or toys.

 Flexible materials are also well suited for prototyping because they can be easily manipulated into different shapes without requiring additional post-processing steps like sanding or painting, which would normally take longer and cost more money.

 Furthermore, these types of prints tend to have lower shrinkage rates compared to other forms of 3D printing, meaning they are more accurate and contain fewer defects as a result.

Tips for Maximizing the Strength of Your Prints

Resin 3D printing has seen a huge surge in popularity over the past several years, and with good reason. Resin 3D prints are very precise and can make small details that can’t be made with other printing methods.

But even more impressive is the strength of resin 3D prints. Thanks to their strong inter-layer adhesion, prints made with resin 3D printers can be surprisingly strong, making them ideal for a variety of applications.

However, in order to get the most out of your prints, there are some tips you should keep in mind when printing with resin. Here are some tips for maximizing the strength of your prints:

 Increase  Layer Thickness

One of the best ways to make a 3D-printed object stronger is to make the layers of the object thicker. By increasing the layer height, it creates more surface area for each layer of material, which makes it more robust against external forces such as impacts or abrasion.

Also, thicker layers help reduce porosity and warping, which can weaken the print.

Higher layer heights also increase speed and reduce material consumption. As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to use a layer height no thinner than 0.1 mm for general-purpose prints. For stronger parts that need more detail, you can go as low as 0.04 mm for layer heights if needed.

Slow Down Printing Speeds

Slowing down printing speeds can have a positive effect on print strength since it allows for better adhesion between layers. This helps reduce warping and porosity, which weaken the overall structure of parts when they are exposed to external forces like impacts or abrasion.

When using higher resolutions with thinner layers, slowing down the print speed makes sure that each layer has enough time to cure properly before moving on to the next one. It also keeps blobs or other flaws from forming in places where too much plastic is extruded at once. 

Additionally, slower printing speeds help reduce stress on motors and belts, resulting in more reliable prints over time as well as less wear and tear on your printer’s components.

Increase Resolution

Raising the resolution is another way to make sure that each layer of plastic sticks well, which makes the parts stronger. Higher resolutions also give you more accuracy and detail, which can be helpful when you want to print something with a lot of small parts or sharp edges.

When increasing resolution, it’s important to keep in mind that it will take longer to print the object since the printer has to apply more layers of material.

Use a Support Structure

When 3D printing with resin, it is important to think about using a support structure. A support structure is a lattice-like framework of material that is printed around the object. This gives the object more stability and keeps it from sagging or warping during the printing process. The use of a support structure can also increase the strength and accuracy of the final part.

When using a support structure, it’s important to choose the right settings for your particular application. To get the best results, different materials need different settings, so it’s important to read the user manual for your printer to learn more about these parameters.

Following these tips can help you maximize the strength of your resin 3D prints. With improved strength, your prints will be able to withstand more wear and tear, making them perfect for a variety of applications.

FAQs

Is 3D Resin Printing Strong?

Yes, 3D resin printing can be incredibly strong. The strength of a resin-printed part depends on many factors, such as the type of resin used, its layer height, and post-processing.

How Strong Is Resin?

The strength of the printed part depends on the type of resin used, as each resin has different mechanical properties.

Is Resin Print Durable?

Yes, resin prints can be very durable. How long your 3D-printed part lasts depends on the type of resin you use and how you strengthen it after printing.

Does Resin Break Easily?

No, resin-printed parts can be incredibly strong and durable. But it’s important to keep in mind that the printing and post-processing methods should be carefully thought out if you want a strong and durable part.

Why Do 3D Resin Prints Fail?

3D resin prints can fail for a variety of reasons. This includes using the wrong settings for printing, the wrong post-processing techniques, and the wrong type of resin.

Final Thoughts

Resin 3D printing is a highly reliable and efficient manufacturing technique. It has the potential to revolutionize product design with its high-resolution prints that provide a superior surface finish.

The process of resin 3D printing also requires minimal post-processing steps which helps save time and money. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder why more companies are turning to this technology as an alternative or complement to traditional methods such as injection molding.

Even though there are some problems with using resins in 3D printing, they have shown that they can make parts for a wide range of uses, such as medical devices, car parts, and consumer products.

By using all of the things that these materials have to offer, manufacturers can continue to push the limits of innovation while also making their products more efficient.

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