How to Post-Cure Your 3D Prints
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If you use a stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer, it’s essential to know how to post-cure your resin 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.
Many methods for post-curing exist, from curing simply with light (natural sunlight, UV nail salons, UV curing stations, DIY UV cure boxes, etc.) to using both light and heat. Heat accelerates the process and enables even more complete bond formation, resulting in increases in material properties impossible to achieve with light alone.
For small prints, a low-cost UV nail salon might be an effective post-curing tool. But to maximize mechanical properties, consider purchasing an enclosure around a powerful 405 nm light, such as Formlabs' post-curing unit, the Form Cure.
Form Cure, uses 405 nm light, the same wavelength as the lasers in Formlabs SLA 3D printers to ensure exposure and effectiveness, while many other curing devices use UV light (wavelengths between 10 nm and 400 nm). Even sunlight will post-cure parts, though exposure and effectiveness are weather-dependent.
Learn more about the science of post-curing, in our introduction to post-curing SLA 3D prints.
Recommended Time and Energy
The proper light, heat, and time will optimize your prints' mechanical properties. Post-cure time depends on your equipment, resin choice, and part geometry.
Visit our support site to see up-to-date settings recommendations for Form Cure.
An ideal post-cure setting achieves the properties you need in the shortest amount of time. For Standard Resins (White, Grey, Black, and Clear), this amount may be none at all, or a short 15-30 minute post-cure. Where strength, rigidity, and temperature resistance are needed, Engineering Resins improve with post-cure up to 60 minutes. Biocompatible materials require specific post-curing procedures to achieve both biocompatibility and optimum mechanical properties.
Start Improving Your SLA 3D Prints With Post-Curing
Use Formlabs Post-Curing Guide to understand how post-curing affects the key properties of each Formlabs resin, and determine the optimum post-curing plan for your application. Download the guide to learn:
- How post-curing affects the key properties of each Formlabs material
- Optimum post-curing recommendations for material-specific applications
- Strategies for avoiding common post-curing issues