Getting your Printer Ready

Before making any print, do the following basic steps to prepare your Ackuray printer. The process is slightly different depending on whether you are doing your first print with a certain resin, or whether you are doing a follow-up print using the same resin as before.

Preparing for a Fresh Print with a New Resin

Follow these steps every time you start a fresh new set of prints. This set of prints can be after not using the printer for some time, or when changing to a different resin after using a resin previously. If you intend to use the same resin repeatedly through one printing session, after initially using this set of instructions, for every print afterwards, follow the instructions in Preparing for a Follow-up Print with the Same Resin.

1. Clean your Build Platform

On the bottom of your build platform, you may see residue from previous. Wearing protective gloves, clean that build platform using a tissue dipped in IPA solution. After all of the residue is removed, reattach the build platform to the Ackuray printer.

Warning

Do not touch the build platform directly with your hands. The oil from human hands sticks to the platform and can prevent prints from sticking to the surface.

2. Inspect your Duravat for Damage

After every printing, clean your vat to ensure that no resin gets stuck on. Even if you do this, it is always a good idea to check your vat before you start printing. Make sure your vat has no damage or deformities caused by previous prints. These are the most common deformities you may see when inspecting your vat:

  • Stains: Failed prints may leave resin stains or burn marks.
  • Tears: Cleaning or removing failed prints may peel away layers of the vat.
  • Scratches: Using a scraper on the vat may leave linear scratches.

Most of the problems with the vat come from unsuccessful or burnt prints. These can usually be prevented by ensuring that your prints are of good quality before putting in the printer, but all prints will incur some damage on the vat. With proper use, Ackuretta vats are tested to last 2-3 months of continual use, or about 100 prints. When your vat begins to show some damage, Ackuretta recommends replacing your vat with a new vat.

3. Clean your Duravat

If your vat has little or no damage, clean your vat once more before using it. Pour a small amount of IPA into the vat, and tilt the vat so the IPA reaches all locations. Use a rubber spatula to push the IPA out into a container for IPA disposal.

Warning

Make sure that any different resins are removed from your vat before adding new resin. Mixing resins can cause your print to crack, break, or burn because of improper heating.

Tip

To maintain your vat, clean your vat after you finish using each particular resin. You can use the same resin for successive prints, but clean your vat when you change resins or finish printing.

 

4. Fill your Duravat

Reattach the vat to the printer and secure the vat with the thumb screws. Fill the vat with about 200 mL of resin, which is 1 cm of depth in the vat. The printer will stir and displace some of the resin during printing, so make sure not to overfill the vat.

5. Connect your USB Device

Attach your USB device to the port on the right side of the printer. The Ackuray printer is able to detect most flash drives and external hard drives, but if you encounter a problem, ensure that your device matches the following specs:

  • USB 2.0 or 3.0
  • NTFS, FAT16, or FAT32 file system
  • The device requires no special drivers, software, or authentication.

Preparing for a Follow-up Print with the Same Resin

Follow these steps only if you have already finished one print in this session and are intending to continue making more prints with the same resin.

1. Clean your Build Platform

On the bottom of your build platform, some residue from the previous print will likely remain. Remove all solid debris from the platform with a tweezers, and then you may reuse the remaining resin.

Pick up the build platform and hold it angled above the partially full resin vat. Scrape the resin off of the platform into the vat with long strokes of the scraper.

After cleaning most of the resin off, clean that build platform using a tissue dipped in IPA solution. After all of the residue is removed, reattach the build platform to the Ackuray printer.

Warning

Do not touch the build platform directly with your hands. The oil from human hands sticks to the platform and can prevent prints from sticking to the surface.

2. Check Resin and Replace if Necessary

Make sure that the remaining resin is acceptable to continue printing. Do the following before continuing to use this resin:

  • Remove any debris from the previous print. Some small pieces or sediment may remain after printing. To clean solid debris out of the resin, remove the vat, and pour the remaining resin through a metal filter into a clean plastic bottle. After filtering, clean the edges of the vat. Pour the resin from the bottle back into the vat. Dispose of the sediment and any resin waste in the same place you would dispose of used resin.

 

  • Check the color of the previous print for irregularities. For a normal print, the color of your resin should remain consistent throughout the entire print. If the previous print has darkened or browner locations in the print, it is possible the resin density is inconsistent or that there is some contamination. The print itself may still match your need and you may continue using it, but Ackuretta recommends replacing the resin in your vat if you see these inconsistencies.

 

  • Make sure your resin is watery. Take a scraper, spatula, or spoon and dip it into several different areas of your resin. Pour out the resin slowly back into the vat. The resin should have a thin, watery consistency. If the resin has thickened or it falls off in strings, UV light may have dispersed over the resin and started to harden it. This may cause your next model to print inconsistently or to become unstable. As such, Ackuretta recommends replacing your resin in this case.

If you need to replace your resin, empty your entire vat into a proper disposal receptacle. Dip a tissue in IPA solution and clean the entire vat so that no resin remains inside. Dry the vat with tissues before refilling the vat.

Bad Resin Sample
Good Resin Sample

3. Fill your Duravat

Whether the resin needed to be replaced or not, fill the vat so it has about 200 mL of resin, which is about 1 cm of depth in the vat. The printer will stir and displace some of the resin during printing, so make sure not to overfill the vat.

 

4. Check IPA and Replace if Necessary

The IPA in the plastic container and ultrasonic cleaner can be reused for multiple prints with the same resin, but should be replaced regularly. If the IPA is cloudy or opaque, it is generally too dirty to adequately clean the prints.

The IPA in the plastic container used for the initial cleaning becomes dirty much more quickly than the IPA in the ultrasonic cleaner. Ackuretta recommends replacing the IPA in the plastic container every 30 prints. Ideally, the IPA in the ultrasonic cleaner should be replaced every second time you replace the IPA in the plastic container.

When disposing of IPA, prepare a container specifically for waste IPA storage. Place a funnel on top of the IPA container, and pour the IPA through the funnel. After emptying the container, wipe the funnel with a tissue dipped in clean IPA.

 

Warning

IPA is a controlled chemical in many countries and must be disposed of properly. Check the federal safety regulations and disposal methods in your country.

When storing IPA, whether for disposal or for use, keep all containers far away from any sources of heat, sparks, or flame.