While maintaining your printer is important to reduce repairs and downtime, proper care of your resins is important for minimizing material costs and time spent purchasing new resins. Ackuretta resins are photopolymers with a wide range of properties, but the following tips and tricks generally apply to all Qura resins.
Before handling any resins, read the Safety Guidelines for resins and wear proper safety gloves and eye protection.
Keep Resins Separate
The first thing to know about working with resins is that they can easily cross-contaminate each other. Resins of different consistencies, densities, curing times, and material properties can make prints fail, even if only a small amount of one resin mixes inside another resin. When working with multiple different resins, store and label the resins and their accessories in different locations. Specifically, you will need to separate the following:
|Resin reuse bottles||When you are finished using a resin, do not pour the resin into the original bottle that you poured the resin from. Instead, find a clean, dry, opaque bottle that has not been used for other purposes to store the unused resin in. Label that bottle with the type of resin you used and the date of reuse. From that point, do not use this same bottle for other resins.|
|Duravats (resin tanks)||After you have begun using a Duravat (resin tank) for one resin, do not pour a different resin into that same vat. If you intend to switch your resin to a different type, switch your Duravat as well. You can reuse a Duravat for other prints involving the same resin that has been used. Ackuretta recommends labeling and storing one Duravat for each resin type that you use.
|IPA solution||The IPA solution that you use to clean your prints during post-processing fills with resin as you perform repeated cleanings. When you perform additional cleanings, a small amount of residual resin from previous cleanings will adhere to prints that are dipped in the same solution. Then, when you perform final curing with the UV oven, that residual resin will cure along with the print.
If multiple resins mix in that final curing, the print may have inconsistencies in material properties or inconsistencies. Because there is potential for this problem, Ackuretta recommends changing your IPA solution every time you switch resins during a printing period.
|Sponges or cotton balls||If you dry your print using a sponge or cotton balls, switch your drying material every time you switch your resin. This is for the same reason Ackuretta recommends changing your IPA solution every time you switch resins.|
Clean Residue Immediately
Working with resin can be time-consuming, messy work, but if the resin isn’t cleaned right after use, it can also be costly. Resin buildup during any part of the printing process can make a follow-up print cure inconsistently or fail. Moreover, direct contact with uncured resins on the skin or eyes can cause irritation, so resin should not be left on surfaces unattended. To keep your environment clean and safe, clean the following locations immediately after printing:
- The bottom of the build platform
- All parts of the Duravat resin tank
- The outsides of any resin bottles
- Any funnels or wire meshes used for filtering or pouring
- The ultrasonic bath and UV oven
- Scalpels and scrapers
- Your work area
After usage of any of these items, pour out any remaining liquid and dispose of IPA solution and liquid resin properly. Clean the surfaces of these items by dipping a dry tissue paper into IPA solution and gently removing any lingering debris or residue. After all residue has been wiped away, dry the surface with another dry tissue. Finally, after cleaning, thoroughly wash your gloves to remove any lingering resin and IPA on them.
If you touch any resin or IPA directly with your skin, remove your gloves and find an uncontaminated washcloth. Thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water using the washcloth. Put the washcloth aside for later cleaning, and wash your hands before putting your gloves back on.
Store Resin in a Secure Place
One fundamental concern with resin maintenance is how and where you store your resin. If stored without a proper label or in an easily accessible location, other team members or unqualified people may accidentally tamper with your resins or your resin may be too exposed to oxygen, and may deteriorate. To make sure that resins are stored properly, do the following:
- For reused resin, use only dry, opaque containers that have not been used for any other purpose, including other resins.
- Store resin in a dry, ventilated space with temperatures not exceeding 35°C (95°F).
- Keep resin away from sources of heat, ignition, and fire.
- After pouring or filling any resin container, close the container tightly.
- Label reused resin containers and vats clearly with the resin name and date.
- Ensure that the storage location is out of reach of children and is secured from unqualified personnel.
- Dispose of resin stored for reuse that has been in storage for more than 2 months.
Dispose of Resin Properly
Completely cured (solid) resin presents no major environmental concern and may be disposed of by simply throwing cured pieces into the garbage. Liquid and semi-solid resin, however, is a potentially hazardous chemical and must be disposed of according to local and federal regulations. Contact your local municipal council for waste regulations.
When cleaning your vat, build platform, prints, and other parts, use IPA solution to make sure that as much resin as possible cleans off the surfaces. Put of all waste on tools used in the process, such as scrapers and filters, directly into your waste IPA solution, because that solution is already contaminated and will need to be disposed of properly anyway. For the majority of prints, you will not need to waste any resin.
If you have uncured or failed prints, you can cure them using your UV oven in order to easily dispose of them. Place the print into the oven and cure it for 4 minutes at high temperature. After it has been over-cured, let the print cool, and then dispose of it in your general trash.
If you have contaminated or deteriorated resin that must be disposed of, one method that you can use is to allow the resin to cure in sunlight before disposal. Pour the resin into transparent bags in small portions (around 100 mL). At this point you can either cure it in your UV oven, or place it directly into the sunlight for about 1 week while it hardens. After curing it either way, you can dispose of it in your normal trash.