3D Printing Resin Prices – the Devil’s in the Details

June 22, 2021 4 min read

Why are some resins available for $40 while others cost as much as $300?  When you see two different 3D printing resin types, the bottles and materials often look the same. So you may be asking yourself: 
  • Why is the price range so wide?
  • How should I go about deciding which resin is best for my intended application?
The devil is always in the details. The quality of your 3D print resin has a substantial impact on your print quality and the safety of your end result. This is due to:
  1. Batch Consistency
  2. Print shrinkage
  3. Toxicity
  4. Sedimentation
  5. UV stability

Quick Facts:

 

Inexpensive Resins

Premium Resins

Batch Consistency

High batch inconsistency requiring user to manually re-calibrate with each new bottle

→ time-consuming

Manufacturing under ISO conditions and quality controlled → accurate and consistent prints

Print Shrinkage

> 200 microns of shrinkage due to lack of quality control

Only within 100 microns of shrinkage

Toxicity

Potentially hazardous to humans

ISO 10993 compliance testing to ensure safety

Sedimentation

Require constant stirring and will result in inconsistent printing results & color variations

Consistent printing results → minimal manual labor

UV stability

Short-lived print results as the print may lose structural integrity

Long-lived applications with a minimal decline in performance within 1 year

 

Batch Consistency

An inexpensive resin typically has a variation in curing time and mechanical properties due to batch production variations. This leaves users with the task of recalibrating the curing time on potentially every new bottle and significantly impacts the consistency, accuracy and success-rate of the 3D prints When purchasing a resin make sure that it is manufactured under ISO conditions – this means the manufacturing environment meets certain quality criteria that is important to the achievement of batch consistency. This way manufacturers ensure that the performance variations between batches is miniscule and the mechanical properties are as declared in the data sheet.  

 

What does this mean for me? → Inexpensive resins will require you to manually re-calibrate the curing time, which is a time-consuming process that might lead to several unusable prints until calibrated perfectly. By purchasing premium resinsright away, you save yourself time & avoid nerve-racking manual calibrations. 

Ackuretta 3D printing resins Curo

 

Shrinkage – the Accuracy Killer   

During the 3D printing process, the resin’s state changes from liquid to solid – this process leads to significant material shrinkage and results in a loss of accuracy. In the worst cases, the print will break off the 3D printing platform and you will have to clean your VAT entirely and restart the process.

3D printed dental applications by Ackuretta

Resin manufacturers are aware of this effect, but only premium resins will ensure that the shrinkage is within 100 micron range. Inexpensive resins often contain cheaper raw materials leading to an increase in the amount of volumetric shrinkage and inaccurate printing performance. Inaccuracies can lead to parts being off by over 200 micron making it suitable only for some prototype models.  Inaccuracies do not just result from the printing process itself, but also develop over time – these are dimensional inaccuracies. Premium resins complete thermosetting shortly after the UV post curing and remain accurate over time. But inexpensive resins come with the risk of becoming unusable by the next day.

What does this mean for me? → If the accuracy of your print is not essential, then you might as well opt for a cheaper resin. But for dental applications accuracy is essential. So we recommend you choose premium 3D print resins.

 

Toxicity findings

As we’ve discussed before: Resins should be handled carefully because they are hazardous to human health and the environment!

But here’s the good news! There is a way to make sure that you are using SAFE resins! 

User safety is always a priority, but many inexpensive resins were never designed for oral use or even just human touch. Skin rashes and burns are a reaction to the toxicity of these resins. Premium dental resins undergo ISO 10993 compliance testing for cytotoxicity, irritation and even long term live testing ensuring the safety of all patients.  And please always abide by the basic safety measures that are required when using resins (for a short refresher, check here:   

What does this mean for me? → If you are a dental professional and you print dental applications, then ensure you buy premium resins that are biocompatible and medical grade. 

 

 

Sedimentation

An inexpensive resin contains heavy fillers that can’t remain suspended in the resin for even a few hours. Users would need to keep stirring the resin after every print job to get a homogenous mixture. As the resin sediments the curing time changes leading to print fails. Even if the print is successful, there is a high chance of color variation in the same print due to the sedimentation layers. 

A premium resin also requires stirring, but can be left in the printer for up to 6 hours without stirring with no change in performance – neither curing time nor color variations. The mixture is fine tuned to ensure long term durability with a shelf life of up to 3 years.  

What does this mean for me? → It is easier to achieve consistent and repeatable print jobs with a premium resin, because premium resins are manufactured using higher quality materials.

 

UV stability 

An inexpensive resin often shows signs of deterioration over time. Parts lose their mechanical properties in months. With the loss of structural integrity, the part will only be usable as a visual model.   

A premium resindoes not degrade as quickly or abruptly. Tests indicate that a small decline in performance can be seen over a year, so premium resins also wins in regard to structural longevity.  

What does this mean for me?  Depending on the application and its purpose, inexpensive resins will lead to a shorter application lifetime.   


To learn more about our resins and how to work with them, check out our YouTube channel:

 



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