For those looking in for the first time, I’ll simply start at the end to show you my current 3D model collection (minus models I’ve given away) now that I’ve cracked using this excellent Crealty printer – and then we’ll head back to where it all started after the printer arrived from Banggood. But here at the end of the journey – the photos below represent my latest results – all hollowed to save on resin and with a dash of chrome paint applied to one of the Easter Island men and matt clear spray to the other. What fun!!
Oh and yes, one of the Easter Island men now has a LED-illuminated wooden base I borrowed from elsewhere – I should soon have my new engraver and will make my own bases. Update: Ikea (at least on the coast in Spain) have some inexpensive glass containers with decent wooden base. I just bought one to house my larger Easter Island guy along with various colours of matt acrylic paint at the Chinese stores at the coast.
I recently finished Darth Buddha for me and a Dobbie’s head for one of my neighbours – the white model two photos down is my largest and first hollowed out result – I printed the Minion and Yoda (further down the page) on the same day – a job which took 5 hours overnight. The large white hollow model took 7+ hours (no effort involved – I just left the printer to get on with it).
And now (October 23, 2020) I have the first of my coloured resins – clear red. I can’t wait to try this out… Ordered this Longer3d.com product on October 4, 2020 from AliExpress and just arrived today.
While I’m here, Banggood also sent a 110-260v 405mn UV Resin Curing Light. Just be sure not to look at the actual light – at least not without protective UV glasses as UV light is deceptively dangerous (obviously you can’t see the UV bit)… and why would you need one of these? Well, the models come out of the printer, functional but with a slight slimy feel. You can daylight cure models of course – which is what I did originally – but then this WAS in the HOT Spanish sun and it took ages. As winter approaches there won’t be so much of that – indeed in parts of the UK it has probably given up for the year. These handy LED-based 6W UV (effective equivalent power 60w) lights, properly used can speed up the curing process remarkably (under a minute for small models) – I just need to make a support stand for it – no doubt using the 3D printer.
And now, back to the models…
Below, after a spot of best Spanish Chinese-store 1.80-a-can spray paint… (now I have matt varnish but at the time I didn’t)… all of this is thanks to the Crealty LD-002R printer from Banggood – no I’m not on commission nor do I do affiliate schemes. They did provide the printer for evaluation – I paid for all the materials, cleaners, resins etc.
I picked the resin at random – looks like I made a good choice – 500ml of Shenzhen Weistek Standard Photopolymer Resin. Endless models are (mostly freely) available on Thingiverse, All3DP, Free3D, Zortrax and elsewhere. And I thought the programming resources out there in the cloud were great.
Now, here’s a point – up to now I’ve only used the one resin and had NO problems at all – however as I learn more about the subject it seems that exposure time per layer is important. On the LD-002R I left all settings at default (and asumed the plate had been properly aligned by the manufacturer) – that is – in Chitubox under “settings – print – exposure time” I used the default 6 seconds (indeed I used defaults for all settings) but I’m just about out of the original Weistek resin – it seems out of stock everywhere. Next stop, the new clear “Longer” RED resin I just received. I wonder if the same exposure settings will work.
I’ve also ordered some grey resin from a third supplier to try next and now I’m aware of the importance of correct exposure (the value of which may vary with humidity, resin manufacturer and age of the resin to name just a few examples) I’ll be making a couple of tiny models at first with the new resin. This fellow explains the potential issues well and reminds us of a useful test.
In the beginning
Next time I take on a project – I must remember – read the manual.
How hard could it be to print a simple test model on the Creality 3D® LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer ? First things first I had to go it and buy some RESIN and a bottle of isopropyl alcohol for cleaning.
A friend of mine gave me a simple file (.STL) – the output file from a 3D design program – a louvred case for a BME280 humidity sensor. All I had to do was pop the liquid UV-hardening resin (white in this case) onto the USB stick supplied with the new printer and select the file. WRONG. This model of printer does not take .STL files – it takes .CTB files, created in the free Chitubox PC program, from standard .STL files – had I read this before starting, I could have saved hours.
So, armed with an original .STL file and the output .CTB file from the above-mentioned PC program Chitubox – in the USB stick, I guessed how much resin I would need – in this case – Shenzhen Weistek Standard Photo Polymer Resin which I picked up from Amazon.
You can quite inexpensively purchase a wide range of colours of photo-resin both clear and opaque. The amount does not have to be precise as you can always pour the excess back into a spare darkened bottle (it is recommended NOT to mix new and used resin – though I did – up to now with no adverse results).
Waiting for paint to dry is EASY
I pressed the PRINT button and immediately the printer sprang to life – only to tell me I had a mere 2hrs 37 mins to wait for the result.
These printers are not at all expensive and include all manner of bits and pieces (see below) to go with them – rather than go into all the specs here I’m simply going refer you to a full list in the top link in this page. As this tiny BME280 housing was my first 3D RESIN LCD printing job, I spent half of the afternoon losing the will to live, waiting for my first tiny enclosure to be ready.
By the time I got to my second model it all became obvious – but the suspense the first time around nearly killed me. Anyway in the Chitubox PC program above, all I did was OPEN a new project – ADD a file, SLICE (press a button) and SAVE to the USB stick which I then inserted into the printer.
Thankfully it was all worth the wait as, after 2 hours and 37 minutes, my simple job sat there waiting to be pulled off the base.
As you might well imagine, after the initial rush, it turned out that this first attempt at a louvred housing was not QUITE perfect – as I lost a tiny edge at the rear right in the picture when removing (with a supplied blade) the model from the base – but all-in-all, with NO supports or post-treatment, I was very happy with the result. Over on the lower left of the above image is a countersunk mounting hole. I went back to my friend who modified the off-the-shelf artwork and the MK II design ended up with two mounting holes and was thickened at the end to ensure no further issues getting it off the plate.
The printer comes complete with spare release film, gloves and masks, brushes, a screwdriver and Allen keys… Oh – safety – use the gloves and wear glasses (I have varifocal lenses and they are never off unless I’m sleeping – safety glasses would be better) – the resin is apparently toxic until it is UV-hardened – I’m still here despite not realising that – and also at first not using the gloves – but different folk have different reactions to this stuff and also to the isopropyl alcohol I used to clean up. In Europe the latter is widely avalable and cheap (6 Euros a litre at a local store here in sunny Spain).
My friend Aidan who has far more 3D printing experience than myself, updated the artwork and I printing out a pair of the “improved model” BME280 case using Chitubox to copy – paste – exciting!! BUT the print time was around 3:46hrs due to the increased height of the modified design. Should have flattened it in Chitubox but at the time I didn’t realise I could do that.
Thanks to Banggood, Aidan and patience… wheeeee.
And here we go.. As Dr Zzs says – I was now part of the club 🙂
Next – some prints for the relatives and a skull for me… This is getting too easy… So THEN having realised I was using LOTS of resin for these models – I went off looking at Autodesk MeshMixer to figure out how to hollow out the solid items – only then to realise that this is built into Chitubox. I have to say, watching the hollowing process is FASCINATING.
Dawn of a new skill
I inserted the original Easter Island guy – with one button press – hollowed it him out to a reasonable 1.5mm thick and tried again – that saved LOADS of resin AND it meant I could light him up from underneath. 7+ hours processing to make my first, large, hollow Easter Island man. See below then head back to the top to see my current collection. The new hollow guy is bigger than any of the other models I’ve done.