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Introduction to nine common photosensitive resin printing materials

Among desktop 3D printers, melt extrusion molding 3D printers (FDM) are undoubtedly superior in terms of price and versatility and are now blooming at home and abroad. However, when higher precision and better surface details are required, low-cost stereolithography (SLA) and digital light processing (DLP) 3D printers are dominant. As more and more high-quality and low-cost SLA and DLP 3D printers enter the market, they have also led to the evolution of photosensitive resin material technology. Today, I will lead you to take a look at the most widely demanded photosensitive resin materials on the market.

general resin
​In the beginning, although manufacturers of 3D printing resin equipment all sold their proprietary materials, in response to market demand, a large number of resin manufacturers emerged, including MadeSolid, MakerJuice, and Spot-A.
​In the beginning, the color and performance of desktop resin were very limited. At that time, there were probably only yellow and transparent materials. With the development in recent years, the colors have expanded to include orange, green, red, yellow, blue, white, and other colors.

Hard resin
​Photopolymers typically used in desktop 3D printers are somewhat fragile and prone to breaking and cracking. To address these issues, many companies have begun producing stronger, more durable resins.
​For example, Formlabs’ newly launched Tough Resin resin material strikes a balance between strength and elongation, allowing 3D printed prototype products to have better impact resistance and strength, such as manufacturing parts that require precision assembly of parts. Part prototypes, or snap-fit prototypes.
investment casting resin

​Investment casting resin
The traditional manufacturing process has a complicated and long production process and is limited by molds, which makes the design freedom of jewelry low. Especially compared with 3D printing wax models, there are additional mold-making processes for the wax models.

The expansion coefficient of this resin cannot be high, and during the combustion process, all the polymer needs to be burned away, leaving only the perfect shape of the final product. Otherwise, any plastic residue will cause defects and deformation of the casting.

In this regard, equipment manufacturer SprintRay and specialized material manufacturer Fun To Do both provide such resins. Domestic Plastic Technology has also launched the resin material CA for investment casting.

Flexible resin
Flexible resin manufacturers include Formlabs, FSL3D, Spot-A, Carbon, Plastic Technology, etc. The performance of these resins is that they are medium-hard, wear-resistant, and repeatedly stretchable.

The material is used in hinges and friction devices in parts that require repeated stretching.
elastic resin

Elastic resin
Elastic resin is a material that shows excellent elasticity under high-intensity extrusion and repeated stretching. Formlabs’ flexible resin is a very soft rubber-like material. It will be very soft when printing thicker layers, and it will be soft when printing thicker layers. It becomes very elastic and impact-resistant.

Its application possibilities are endless. This new material will be used to create perfect hinges, shock absorbers, contact surfaces, and other engineering applications for those with fun ideas and designs.

High-temperature resin
Undoubtedly, high-temperature resin is a research and development direction that many resin manufacturers are closely focused on because we know that in the field of liquid resin curing, the aging problem of these plastics has long been a problem for consumer-grade and industrial-grade applications.

Carbon’s cyanate ester resin has a heat distortion temperature as high as 219°C. Maintaining good strength, stiffness, and long-term thermal stability at high temperatures, it is suitable for molds and mechanical parts in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Currently, the heat distortion temperature (HDT) challenged by high-temperature-resistant resin materials has reached 289°C (552°F). In the field of high-temperature-resistant resins, carbon is not alone. Formlabs has also launched the latest high-temperature-resistant materials.

Desktop 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs is unique in biocompatible resins. Formlabs’ dental SG materials comply with EN-ISO 10993-1:2009/AC:2010 and USP Class VI standards, making them safe and environmentally friendly.

​Biocompatible resin

Desktop 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs is unique in biocompatible resins. Formlabs’ dental SG materials comply with EN-ISO 10993-1:2009/AC:2010 and USP Class VI standards, making them safe and environmentally friendly.

The resin’s translucency can be used as a surgical material and pilot drill guide. Although it is targeted at the dental industry, this resin can be adapted to other areas as well, particularly the medical industry as a whole.

Ceramic Resin

When it comes to ceramic resins, we have to mention the high-temperature ceramic 3D printing technology in California, USA. Researchers use ultraviolet light curing to quickly form ceramic preceramic monomers, or “precursor conversion polymers.”. Ceramics made from these polymers shrink evenly, with almost no porosity.

This resin is fired to create dense ceramic parts after 3D printing. Super-strong ceramic materials 3D printed using this technology can withstand temperatures exceeding 1,700 degrees Celsius.

The ceramic photocuring technology on the market mostly adds ceramic powder to a photocurable solution and uses high-speed stirring to disperse the ceramic powder evenly in the solution to prepare a ceramic slurry with high solid content and low viscosity.

Then the ceramic slurry is directly solidified layer by layer on the light curing molding machine, and the ceramic parts are accumulated to obtain the blank. Finally, the ceramic parts are obtained through drying, degreasing, and sintering preparation processes.

Solar resin

Daylight resin is a very interesting resin. Unlike resins that cure under ultraviolet light, they can be cured under ordinary sunlight, so they no longer rely on UV light sources. An LCD screen can be used to cure this type of resin.

This resin is expected to significantly reduce the cost of DLP 3D printing, and the prospects are very good.

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