resin for your SLA/DLP 3D printer
Resin printing is a little more complex than standard filament printing. Not only do you need a few must-have 3D printing accessories, but you also need to pick the right resin. When faced with multiple colors and multiple types, it’s also easy to get turned around when choosing the right 3D printing resin. You want it to print quickly but stay strong without becoming brittle. We’ve used as many as possible to bring you some of the best you can buy, but our favorite is Siraya Tech Fast, which prints smoothly and quickly.
Best overall: Siraya Tech Fast
I have been using Siraya Tech Fast for ages now, and it’s consistently the best resin I’ve used. Every print I have made with it so far has printed perfectly, and the resin seems to help smooth out layer lines that may appear. It’s perfect to create hollow prints since the resin maintains the part’s strength without being brittle.
It’s called “fast” resin for a good reason, too. Most resin prints with an exposure time of around nine to 11 seconds, with a first layer exposure in 60-70 seconds. The Siraya Tech can give you the same quality print at just six to eight seconds and the first layer in 40-45 seconds. Now I know those numbers don’t sound all that different, but when you print a model with 1,800 layers, shaving off a few seconds per layer makes a big difference.
Siraya Tech is a great company too. It works hard to make sure you are satisfied and are always happy to participate in community events. I would mention that the only issue is to be careful when you cure the white resin; it can yellow off if you cure it too much.
- No bad smell
- Prints smoothly
- Prints extremely quickly
- The white can discolor if over-cured
Best bulk buy: Anycubic UV Sensitive Resin
When I first got my Photon DLP 3D printer, it came with a 500ml bottle of Anycubic resin, and I loved it straight away. The transparent, almost glass-like quality was mesmerizing, but the bottle had only a 500ml capacity, and I wasted a lot of it learning how to use the printer. Anycubic sells its resins in 1-liter bottles, too, though, so I snagged one to keep me going. If you have a little extra money, it pays to buy in bulk.
If you are going to buy in bulk, make sure you have a cool, dry place to put all the resin bottles and make sure they are away from kids and animals. Resin is dangerous and should be treated like bleach or other toxic chemicals.
- Low price for a lot of resin
- Beautiful clarity
- Easy to print with
- Can appear cloudy if you don’t cure correctly
Best for miniatures: Ameralabs TGM-7
Using a resin 3D printer to make miniatures for tabletop games like Warhammer and Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most popular uses for the technology. The TGM-7 resin from Ameralabs is specially formulated to give you the best minis possible.
While other resins can be brittle, TGM-7 is both tough and flexible. The flexibility in the resin means that dropping a mini doesn’t automatically shatter it into a thousand pieces. I’ve test dropped from 2 feet, 4 feet, and 6 feet, without any adverse effect, and I use a teeny tiny skeleton with a raised sword to do it. It was very impressive.
TGM-7 is also engineered to be easy to paint, so no matter what you want to do with your mini, you can give it the aesthetic it deserves. Now the resin is pretty pricey, but when you can print around 100 minis per bottle, the price isn’t really that unreasonable, and the quality is well worth the extra cost.
- Designed with minis in mind
- Great for painting
- Can survive drops on tile floors
Great all-rounder: eSUN General-Purpose Resin
eSUN general-purpose resin is, as the name implies, a general-purpose material for 3D printing using an SLA/DLP printer. It can be used to print cosmetic models — D&D miniatures look fantastic in it — or used to make more mechanical prints, like replacement parts or prototypes.
The general-purpose resin from eSUN is perfect for those who want to try different printing applications instead of drilling down into something specific. With its high tolerance to heat variances and seemingly magical ability to bring out details even when it’s overexposed, it gives you a chance to experiment without every print failing spectacularly.
Unless you have a particular use case for your resin — metal casting, for example — then the general-purpose resin is an excellent choice for all your needs.
- Great price
- Even coloring
- Prints smoothly
- Bottle is airtight
- Can be a little brittle
- The edges can pale if over-cured
Best budget resin: Elegoo 3D Rapid Resin
I’ve been using a lot of the Elegoo resin recently to reduce my outlays. It’s super cheap and gives a great overall model. Some of the details may be lost, but you can tune it pretty well to provide you with an overall high-quality product. I particularly like the gray as it shows any print issues very clearly, allowing you to fix the print easily.
I would use the Elegoo for those large models without too many fine details, as you’ll save quite a lot of cost. It’s also for those prints you are thinking of post-processing — sanding and painting these prints works quite well.
- Great value for money
- Consistently good quality
- Great for post-processing
- Some definition can be lost
- Very brittle
Best for toughness: Siraya Tech Tough (Blu)
There is a lot of reason to choose Siraya Tech (Blu) as your resin of choice. Firstly the blue is gorgeous — it looks like tropical water on a clear day — but more importantly, it’s tough. Resin can be extremely brittle once it is cured, making it unsuitable for anything other than model making.
As 3D printing enthusiast Chris Russell shows in this picture, you can even make parts for other 3D printers using the Siraya Tech tough resin, and they will look beautiful and be strong as heck.
The Siraya (Blu) is extremely tough and can withstand impacts — even high falls and drops — much better than any resin I’ve used before it. This makes it useful for building cases and objects that are more useful than just pretty models to sit on a shelf.
Siraya Tech also recommends mixing a little Blu with its Fast resin as well. This is helpful because it lets you use the cheaper resin with just a splash of the more expensive but tougher Blu, saving you money without sacrificing rigidity.
- So pretty!
- Good for tough jobs
The Siraya Tech Fast is the best resin out there right now. It’s straightforward to use and very forgiving if you do mess up the settings. It lives up to its Fast name as well, allowing you to print what you need in a much shorter time limit.
I use the Siraya Tech every day, especially when reviewing printers like the Peopoly Phenom. If you want a resin that balances value for money and exceptional results, then this is the right resin for you.
If you are looking to print as many prints as possible, though, you may want to look at the Anycubic 1-liter options. They seem to offer the best deals on bulk buying, and if you are new to resin printing, you will need all the resin you can get!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
James Bricknell has been in the 3D printing game for four years and has one claim to fame; He has met the 3D Printing Nerd. Find his ramblings on Twitter @keridel
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