3D PrintingAnycubic Photon Users (+other SLA's?)

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vcp

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
So I know that there are at least a couple of other Photon users on TRF. I've bought one and have it sitting here, but haven't even plugged it in yet. So many questions, and years of FDM printing experience don't seem to apply much. I know there's a Photon group on Facebook, and I've gotten a lot of information off there, but it's such a crapshoot; sometimes conflicting advice. I'd like to connect here with folks that are using resin printers for the same sort of stuff that I'm doing. Here's a bunch of topics, what I know about them, and what I don't:

RESINS

• Aside from what came with the printer, I have no clue.
• I did see a Facebook thread recommending mixing between 1-20% of flexible resin into your regular resin to reduce brittleness, but there was no consensus on the percentage or brand.
• Pre-heating the resin in a warm-water bath?
• Gentle shaking/mixing of the resin is recommended before use. How come there is no nutating mixer on Thingiverse? Google - there is one here, maybe? Wait, that's cool, you have to sign up to the service there to get the paper on it, but that's easy. Just a couple of parts from Amazon, and print it up - alter or make a new platform to fit a resin bottle.
PRINT CLEANING/CURING

Yes, I saw the Prusa CW-1; way out of my $$range. I've seen lots of recommendations, here's what I'm moving towards: • 'Dirty' IPA wash. • 'Clean' IPA wash. • Soft brush. • Hot water rinse. • Support removal. • Soft brush. • Air blast - just a shot with an air brush compressor. • UV cure - now I see that a heated cure is sometimes recommended. Too much? Someting else? • I bought a set of canisters to use as wash/rinse stations. They're about the perfect size, but I don't yet know if they're suitable for IPA. • Thinking of doing something like this, but I'd have to resize it for the canisters I've got (the ones in that Thing are in the UK). • I did get this mixer. • Where would be a good local source for IPA? WalMart and pharmacies seem way$$.

TOOLS
• Sprue cutter for support removal. I already have several of these for wire cutting.
• Gloves. I understand that nitrile is recommended but I already buy vinyl gloves 1000 at a time for other uses. I haven't seen anything that specifically recommends against vinyl.
• Spatula. I just have what came with the Photon. Wondering if a Cricut spatula would be good; I have one here somewhere.
• Need to find a soft brush - I hear that a toothbrush can be too hard.

PRINTED ACCESSORIES
These are some of the things I've FDM printed or plan to print off of Thingiverse for the Photon. I've collected these things and other stuff here.
• Vat drain tower. I've printed this and it actually looks like it might be practical; we'll see.
• Build plate 'drip-off' bracket. There are several of these and this appears to be the simplest. Looks useful.
• Resin funnel. I haven't found one of these I like that looks like it would work well with the drain tower. I may make up my own.
• Switch protector. I hate the way the USB thumbdrive sticks out the side ready to be knocked off. This should help.
• Leveling gadget. No idea if this is useful but there are several on Thingiverse.
• Vat cover.
• Vat box.
• There are several air filtering upgrades for Anycubics. I haven't looked at them closely and don't know if anything will be needed for the Photon S - its filtering is supposed to be better than the Photon.
• Photon door handle. Yeah, it needs one.
• FEP replacement tool. Stupid simple, maybe useful.
OTHER ACCESSORIES
• I bought a pack of these LCD screen gaskets after seeing reports of resin leaks on Facebook.
• FEP film. All I have is what came with the printer.

SLICING
I guess most people don't bother with the Anycubic slicer; Chitubox seems to be recommended. I haven't looked at it at all yet, but I notice that there's some user's guide videos on Youtube. I also came across a video that recommended using the Prusaslicer as a better way to add supports, then exporting the .stl into Chitubox for slicing.
CURING
I got one of these UV lamps - need to make up some sort of box for it; maybe heated?​

RCBrust

Well-Known Member
These inexpensive resin printers are pretty cool. There are a lot of impressive videos of the Anycubic and Elegoo units on YT, however, they all seem to be printing figurines instead of mechanical parts. They seem extremely precise, but I'm curious to see what kind of dimensional accuracy you can get out of them.

Gary, do you plan on trying any of the water soluble resins?

Randy

BDB

Absent Minded Professor
The biggest thing you are forgetting is something to deal with the smell. There are lots of mods on Thingiverse. I haven't used my Photon in nearly a month because I need to build a heated and ventilated enclosure for mine. There are some resins that don't smell, but my favorite thus far, Sirya Blu, stinks up my basement and it works best at warm temperatures.

vcp

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Ok, finally got the Photon S set up for use. First had to update the firmware from the Anycubic website and that went smoothly. Next, I installed one of these gaskets under the vat, that is supposed to protect against vat leaks messing up the printer. Looks like it should work well, but they need to improve the installation instructions - it's difficult to get it on straight and smooth.

Tramming the build plate (I dislike the misnomer 'leveling') was straightforward.
I just ran the sample print that came with the printer, and, it came out perfect. I was using the Anycubic green that came with the printer, and the smell was... almost imperceptible. I could only smell it if I was sitting directly in front of the printer. I didn't notice it anywhere else in the small closed room. My wife couldn't smell it, and the cat didn't seem to mind. The IPA was much more obtrusive, but I don't plan to use that in the future. (Yes, I understand that other resins will be much worse.)

The prep for printing was no mess at all, just pour the resin into the vat. After the sample print, I'm not planning to print again until I have some subjects ready in a few days, so I decided to do a full cleanup and drain the vat. The only mistake I made there was that I hadn't printed a funnel for the bottle yet, and the paper filter cone overflowed (just because I poured too fast), but that just went onto the vat drain tower. Cleaning up that overflow was probably 80% of the cleanup process and shouldn't happen again. The drip-off bar for the build plate worked well and the plate was easy to clean. The vat was easy to clean after it had drained on the tower and the FEP looks pristine.

The print spent a few minutes in IPA on the magnetic mixer, and a few more in water on the mixer; then a few minutes in a makeshift UV cure box. I'll get a decent UV box put together soon, and I've got an ultrasonic cleaner on the way that I'll use with Mean Green instead of IPA.

True, I didn't have to deal with figuring out supports/drains/slicing or exposure times with this simple sample print, but overall, the process was much less complex and messy than I had expected.

manixFan

Not a rocket scientist
...<snipped>...True, I didn't have to deal with figuring out supports/drains/slicing or exposure times with this simple sample print, but overall, the process was much less complex and messy than I had expected.
Hmm, well for my son that was the hardest part. It's not a trivial exercise figuring out where to place supports and at what angle to print a piece. Unlike filament 3D printers, you can rarely print a part flat on the printer bed. And you have to be aware of the 'fluid dynamics' of the resin as the part lowers and raises in and out of the resin vat. But the detail is amazing once you get the hang of it.

I highly recommend watching several youtube videos on placing supports. My son uses Chitubox, which I think is pretty standard. The other interesting thing is that there is no time penalty for printing as many parts as possible at the same time, as long as they are roughly the same height. So it does have some time economies that filament printers don't have.

Tony

Charles_McG

Ciderwright
Does anyone put a water scavenging molecular sieve or an oxygen sink in the resin during storage?

BDB

Absent Minded Professor
Does anyone put a water scavenging molecular sieve or an oxygen sink in the resin during storage?
Not that I know of, but that’s a really good idea.

Thus far, I haven’t had an issue with resins going bad. But I’ve only had my printer for 5 months, and the resin has been stored in my basement at 60-65 deg F.

DanSavage

New Member
Hi All!

My first post in this forum. I bought my Photon printer several months ago. I got it to prototype parts that I sell on Shapeways.com.

I've used my printer for model airplane parts and for guitar parts, specifically a new design for Ovation guitar saddle and a jig/fixture for assembling Ovation rosettes.

I'm currently working on a static display stand for the Estes 1/35-scale Mercury Redstone. I'm attaching a screen shot of what I've got done so far.

I'm also passing along a link to a Google Doc page that is an aggregation site for peoples' experiences using different brands of resin with this printer.

Edit: Oops! I thought I was going to pass along the URL, but the forum is interpreting the link as being spam.

Dan