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10 Easy Mistakes When Printing With An SLA Printer

SLA printing can be confusing at first, there is a lot of room for mistakes. Have a read through this guide to make sure that you don’t fall for them when you start with your machine. Software 1. When setting …

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Ross Campbell

September 22, 2020

SLA printing can be confusing at first, there is a lot of room for mistakes. Have a read through this guide to make sure that you don’t fall for them when you start with your machine.

Software

1. When setting up an SLA printer you are able to set up the Layer Thickness, the mistake here is setting the layer thickness to the highest resolution. Unless you are printing extremely detailed parts this level of detail just isn’t needed as it drastically increasing the print time for not much of an improvement in print quality.

2. When using Formlabs or other SLA printers you need to rememeber to angle the part correctly. Failing to do this will result in more force being exerted on the print everytime the platform raises up by a layer as there is a larger surface area. As a result of this the qualtiy of the parts are worse.

3. SLA printers do not have an infill option like FDM printers do and so will print solid objects unless they are told otherwise. This means that making sure the CAD model is hollow is very important as otherwise the part will take longer to print and be harder to cure.

CAD Model for 3D Printing
CAD Model For 3D Printing

Operating the Printer

4. An easy mistake to make when replacing the resin tank on a SLA printer, is to touch the optical surface on the underside, don’t do this! Touching this will leave a mark which then can cause the print to have problems.

5. In order for a stable print you need to make sure that the printer is on a level surface otherwise the prints frame may twist. You can find a step by step process for a FormLabs printer here: https://support.formlabs.com/s/article/Level-the-Form-2?language=en_US

6. When you replace the resin catridge make sure the catridge is the same type as the resin in the tank (the printer will remind you of this). A simple mistake is leaving the air vent cap shut; make sure that the air vent cap on the catridge is flipped open so the resin can flow into the machine. (the printer will remind you of this as well)

Form 3 printer in use
FormLabs Form 3 Printer

Resin Care

7. When the printer isn’t in use keep the lid closed and store any resin not in use in a room temperature dark place. This is so the resin doesn’t interact with any UV/Sunlight that will casue it to cure.

8. When carrying the resin tank, keep the platform facing upwards so no resin drips off as it’s difficult to clean. Also make sure to shake the resin catridge before you put it in the printer.

Post Printing Process

9. After the print has finished the printed part needs washing. It’s relativley simple just make sure the part is in the wash for the correct amount of time. A guide to the Form Wash time settings can be found here: https://support.formlabs.com/s/article/Form-Wash-Time-Settings?language=en_US

10. Finally the parts will need to be cured, the mistake here is curing the part for too long or at the wrong temperature. A guide for the Form Cure time and temperature settings can be found here: https://support.formlabs.com/s/article/Form-Cure-Time-and-Temperature-Settings?language=en_US

Extra Tip

Remember to use saftey goggles and gloves when operating SLA printers as the resin is toxic. Also remeber to be careful with the IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) as it is flamable and should be stored away from ignition sources.

Final thoughts

Solid Print3D is here to help you make the right decision with your next 3D Printer purchase. For more information, please call Solid Print3D at 01926 333 777 or email at info@solidprint3d.co.uk

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