How to Post-Cure Your 3D Prints
If you use a stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer, it’s essential to know how to post-cure your 3D prints. Post-curing enables parts to reach the highest possible strength and become more stable. This step is especially important for Functional Resins. For example, post-curing is required for a successful burnout with Castable prints, and Flexible Resin doubles its strength with post-curing. For a full exploration of the post-cure process, access our white paper How Mechanical Properties of Stereolithography 3D Prints Are Affected by UV Curing.
For small prints, a low-cost UV nail salon is an effective post-curing tool. To maximize mechanical properties, consider building or purchasing an enclosure around a powerful 405 nm UV light, such as Formlabs' Form Cure.
Learn how to make your own cure box for under $30 in this tutorial.
Recommended Time and Energy
The proper light, heat, and time will optimize your prints' mechanical properties. Cure time depends on your equipment, resin choice, and part geometry. Thick, bulky parts require more time because they take longer to heat to the proper temperature. In general, over-curing is better than under-curing, so don’t worry about post-curing parts for too much time.
In terms of energy, we discovered that a 405 nm light source during post-cure is superior to an equivalent level of lower wavelength light, such as 365 nm. Post-curing at higher temperatures results in a shorter time to full cure and ultimately higher mechanical properties. The proper post-curing method will give you strong, highly detailed prints that last for years to come.
Access the full white paper to start improving your prints with post-curing. You’ll learn:
- The exact time, energy, and temperature needed to fully post-cure your prints.
- How to post-cure Standard, Tough, Castable, and Flexible Resins.
- The science behind optimizing your prints’ mechanical properties.