The biggest problem with SLA printing is handling resin and treating the finished prints. This should be as easy as possible with compact solutions such as the new “ Washing & Curing Machine ” from Anycubic. It goes without saying that we tried it out ourselves.
Anycubic Washing & Curing Machine Review
|UV lamp power||40W|
|UV lamp wavelength||405 nm / 365 nm|
|Voltage||AC110 / 220V 50 / 60Hz|
|Time for cleaning and curing||2/4/6 minutes|
|Maximum print size for cleaning||115 x 65 x 165 mm|
|Maximum print size for curing||140 x 165 mm|
|Dimensions||225 x 220 x 378 mm|
No SLA printing without post-treatment
Anyone who has already worked with SLA (-LCD) printers knows the problem. Not only working with the liquid resin – including gloves and face mask – is a minor annoyance. After the print is finished, the works cannot simply be used directly; they should not even be touched directly. Instead, the remaining resin must first be removed in a bath of cleaning fluid. We use isopropanol (IPA) for this .
The print then has to cure under UV light. In theory, it is enough to put the pressure in the sun. Of course, the resin does not harden evenly and it takes a few hours. At night and in bad weather you are also lost. A UV lamp is more reliable, but here too you have to turn the pressure, that is, you realign the object yourself after a while, or you have a self-rotating platform that you place in front of the UV lamp.
Information about 3D printing with resin
The resin used for 3D printing is a synthetic resin that is highly toxic in its liquid state. Skin and especially eye contact must be avoided under all circumstances and gloves should always be worn when working. If there is contact with the skin, the area should be washed off immediately with soap and water. Brief contact usually has no consequences, but every skin reacts differently to the resin, and the consequences can range from only slight irritation to severe chemical burns. Touching the material in the cured state is harmless.
Cleaning the finished prints
You can make all this easier by using complete solutions like the Washing & Curing Machine. Here you can efficiently clean and cure the prints. Outwardly, the machine is similar to the SLA printer from Anycubic: The transparent cover shields the UV light, the print is hung in the center of the column and it is operated using buttons on the front.
There is an extra container for cleaning, which has a small rotor in the bottom that creates an even vortex to wash away the liquid resin. Cleaning only takes a few minutes – two, four or six minutes can be set . The tank, which holds approx. 3.5 liters, can also be closed so that the IPA can continue to be used. In the open air, the alcohol evaporates in a very short time.
The washed-off resin can be left in the container for now and the alcohol can still be used. If the liquid becomes cloudy, i.e. more resin collects in it over time, it can be replaced. The enclosed instructions also describe a method for skimming off the resin and continuing to use the alcohol.
If you use one of the Anycubic printers (such as the Anycubic Photon S ) for printing, you can hang the printing platform directly in the container with a suitable holder. Other printers (I am currently printing with the Longer Orange 30 ) are not compatible with the bracket, here it is best to first remove the print and place it in the enclosed screen, which you then hang in the container.
Curing under UV light
Once the print has been cleaned, it can be detached from the plate and the IPA container removed. In its place there is a small turntable on which the pressure can be turned off. However, you should let the object dry beforehand . Again you can set the desired time and let the resin model cure from all sides using the UV lamps in the Z-pillar. The main advantage over curing in the sun is that it takes place much faster. You can also simply start the process a second time and tilt the model on its side, because the bottom of the object is not directly irradiated and may not cure as well as the rest of the print.
Conclusion – buy Anycubic Washing & Curing Machine?
Two questions arise: Does the device do both (cleaning and curing) as well as described, and if so, is it worth the price? The principle is not new and the alternatives are much cheaper. UV lamps are available from $15, motorized turntables from $25, and cleaning with isopropanol does not require any accessories other than a container. Here you have everything in one device, and everything happens mostly automatically.
I have to say that I like the device so far. It’s definitely worlds easier than hand cleaning the prints and letting them dry in the sun. But it also costs almost $200, and I probably wouldn’t spend that on it. Those who prefer do-it-yourself solutions will get away with it significantly cheaper.
Those who prefer everything prefabricated and as uncomplicated as possible should at least find the device interesting. Then, as is so often the case, it is a personal decision as to what the “luxury” is worth to one. Question to the 3D printer owners: Is the output worthwhile in your eyes?