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Can 3D Printing Resin Freeze?

If you’ve ever crossed paths with a 3D printer then you may have noticed a liquid substance at the bottom of the tank. This substance, commonly known as ‘resin’, helps the printer produce accurate and detailed prints. However, before it’s of any use, the resin needs to be completely solidified.

Resin, used in 3D printing can definitely get frozen under low temperatures. The material is known to work flawlessly at room temperature, however, anything below freezing point instantly causes it to solidify. Resin manufacturers claim that the usual freezing point of resin lies between -10°C to -15 °C.

Storing 3D printing resin in freezing conditions won’t completely solidify the fluid. It can, however, significantly change the behaviour of the resin and alter a few of its properties.

Behaviour Of Resin In Low Temperatures

Ideally, one wouldn’t want to print 3D objects in extremely low temperatures as it significantly reduces the quality of your print. However, as we’re touching on the topic of resin and low temperatures, it’s essential to know how cold temperatures can negatively affect your creations.

Flexural Strength 

Every type of resin has different properties than the other, including different flexural strengths. Storing the resin in cold temperatures reduces the speed of chemical reactions. This significantly lowers the polymerization speed and makes the resin more rigid. The solidified resin can consequently cause random failures in your 3D printer, hindering the entire printing process. 

Strong X Resin

However, not every resin’s flexural properties are hampered because of cold weather. This is because each resin has a different structural strength. A type of 3D-printed resin, known as Strong-X, was tested to perform in temperatures as low as -21°C for nearly 170 hours

The resin was benchmarked against the reference, which was measured at room temperature (21°C). However, the experiment failed to show any drastic changes in the flexural properties of the resin. 

Warping Problems

Different printing materials call for different temperatures. If you’re printing ABS plastic, it’s likely to get warped in the process and turn out pretty ugly. On the other hand, Polylactic acid (PLA) is quite comfortable at low temperatures, giving you a perfect print even at 15°C

However, it’s noted that as long as you keep your temperature constant while printing, you won’t be faced with such issues. 

Cure Time 

We know that cold temperature slows the cure time of the resin. Therefore, we need to ensure that the resin stays at an adequate temperature so it can be of any use. Moreover, resins have also been observed to become pretty brittle as the temperature drops below the freezing point. This can become catastrophic if they are exposed to dynamic loads.

Viscosity 

Freezing temperatures also hugely influence the viscosity of the resin. The 3D printing resin becomes more viscous as the temperature drops. This affects the flow of the print and can produce an unsatisfactory result as compared to when the resin is stored at higher temperatures. 

Ideal Temperature For Printing With Resin

As discussed earlier, extremely cold temperatures can cause certain types of resin to become more brittle and viscous. Because of the volatile nature of the particles in the resin, there is no exact ambient room temperature for them. Instead, we can follow a temperature range to achieve the maximum quality of our resin. 

For a 3D printer to produce the optimum results, a standard room temperature of around 18-28°C should be maintained. Storing the resin at this room temperature can greatly affect the 3D printer’s performance. Furthermore, try to ensure that the humidity level does not go beyond 40%.  

Humidity Range For Resin

If you’re looking to keep things under control while creating your 3D print, you should know the ideal humidity levels for your resin. 

Humidity LevelEffect
Below 45%Ideal for all types of resin
55-60%Poor print quality
Above 75%Extremely stringy print (if you’re successful at getting one)

How To Store Resin?

If you work under extreme climatic conditions, you might be worried about maintaining normal room temperature to store the resin. Most 3D resin printers nowadays come with a preinstalled heating mechanism or enclosure. However, if your printer doesn’t feature one, there’s no need to worry as we’ve compiled everything you need to know for temperature control.

Warm The Resin

To warm the resin, follow these simple steps:

  • Pour the resin into a bucket 
  • Shake the bucket several times to ensure the resin absorbs heat properly and evenly
  • Wait until you feel it becomes less viscous and more fluid

Alternatively, you can also use a bucket of warm water: 

  • Fill a bucket with warm (not boiling) water
  • Place your bottle of resin inside the bucket (make sure the resin is tightly sealed so no water seeps through) 
  • Allow the resin to sit in the water for at least 10-15 minutes
  • Dry your bottle off before opening them in order to prevent any water to come in contact with resin

Since heating speeds up the curing time for resin, be mindful that the warmed-up resin would reduce your 45-minute working time to 10 mins. 

Install A Small Heating Pad 

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and safe method for raising the temperature of your resin, a small heating pad is a way to go. Attach a small, 6.5W  heating pad to the base of your printer and ensure your resin stays at a stable temperature. 

Do remember that buying an inexpensive heating device, such as the BLACK+DECKER Ceramic Heater, will increase the temperature of the surroundings. Although you can use them comfortably in chilly areas, if you live in a hot environment, you might have to build an enclosure.

Install An Enclosure

If you live in hotter climates, it’s better to install an enclosure around your 3D printer and ensure the temperature remains constant. A tent-like enclosure not only helps in increasing the temperature of your resin but also aids in keeping the ventilation under control. 

If you want to store your printer, you can purchase the warm enclosure by Creality which is not only safe to use but economical and sturdy. This heating enclosure will maintain a constant temperature and reduce the impact of harsh weather on the resin. 

Moreover, you can also double down and install the enclosure along with a heating pad to get the temperature of your resin to rise even quicker. 

FAQS

Q) Does a 3D printing enclosure require ventilation?

Ans) 3D printing releases dangerous gases, which when inhaled, may not be toxic but harmful to your body. Therefore, it’s always advisable to keep your 3D printing setup well ventilated.

Q) Is it possible for resin prints to melt?

Since resin prints aren’t thermoplastics, they cannot melt. However, subjecting them to extremely high temperatures will deteriorate their condition. Most resins lose their elastic properties around the 70°C mark.

Q) Is resin heat-resistant?

The answer depends on the type of 3D printing resin being used. The thermal stability of certain resins, such as the Peopoly Nex resin, is incredibly high. The heat-deflection temperature of these resins can be around 200°C. Others, such as the Anycubic resin, start softening at temperatures as low as 40°C. 

Q) Is 3D printing resin expensive?

The standard resin costs around $50 per liter but can go up to $300 per liter if bought from quality suppliers. This makes resins a lot more expensive than filaments. 

Conclusion

While it’s nearly impossible for 3D printing resin to freeze, there’s nothing wrong with having precautionary measures installed. Controlling your temperature following the methods mentioned will provide you with the high-quality prints you’re hoping for. So what are you waiting for, power up your printer and enjoy the best 3D prints you can make!

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