3D printing with resin can get pretty messy with all the liquids, such as resin and isopropyl alcohol, but people wonder how to properly dispose of it. This article will aim to guide people in the right direction in disposing of resin and other materials involved.
To dispose of uncured resin you need to fully cure all the liquid or supports that have come off the model, including any paper towels. Once the resin is cured, you can dispose of resin as you would normal plastic. For the isopropyl alcohol, you can cure your container, filter it out, and re-use it.
Can Uncured Resin Go Down a Sink/Drain?
Never pour the uncured resin into a sink or drain. This may damage the water supply pipes or may disrupt the whole system. Some resins are extremely harmful to aquatic life and pouring them uncured into the drain or sink may lead to harming marine life as well.
If you have uncured resin and or any other remains of it that are considered hazardous waste, cure it properly before throwing it into the trash.
If you choose to, you can either visit your local waste collection centers or call them. These centers can sometimes send a team to collect the material from you and can dispose of it properly.
Depending on your locality, you may not have certain disposal services available so you this isn’t always an option.
You should know the right method to dispose of the uncured resin. Some resin manufacturers imprint the recommendations and precautions of disposing of the resin on the bottle’s labels as well.
If you have an empty resin bottle and you need to get rid of them, swish a little amount of isopropyl alcohol and empty the liquid into a see-through container, then keep it under the sun for some time.
After curing them, you can throw the bottles into the trash, the bottles should be capped tight.
I like to keep my resin bottles just in case I want to make a resin mixture and store it properly. You can mix two resins together to make a new color, or even to give resin better properties such as flexibility or strength.
How Should I Clean Up a Resin Spill?
You should try to clean up resin spills as soon as possible to make sure it doesn’t cure where it has been spilled.
Making sure you are wearing your gloves, then clean up most of the liquid by absorbing and dabbing it with paper towels. Clean up the rest of the liquid resin with paper towels and warm soapy water.
The Wostar Nitrile Disposable Gloves of 100 from Amazon is a great choice with very high ratings.
Avoid using isopropyl alcohol to clean up resin because it can damage some materials on your 3D printer like the top cover. Make sure you are not wiping and smearing the resin over the rest of the area.
If you didn’t manage to get to the spill straight away and it has cured, you can use your plastic spatula/scraper to get the cured resin off the surfaces.
For harder to reach areas or crevices, you can try using a cotton bud and warm soapy water to clean up.
If you somehow got resin on your lead screw, you can clean that up with isopropyl alcohol, a paper towel and cotton buds to get in between. You should remember to lubricate the lead screw afterwards with a PTFE grease.
Remember to collect all the paper towels and cotton buds you used, and let it cure under a UV light so it is safe to handle and dispose of.
You can’t go wrong with the Amazon Brand Presto! Paper Towels, rated highly and works as well as you need them to.
I’d advise extra ventilation of the room by opening a window, turning on a nearby extractor fan, or turning on an air purifier.
If the resin is spilled on the printer during the printing process then follow the mentioned steps carefully to avoid any damages.
- Unplug the printer’s power cable
- Remove the build platform and wipe up excess resin with paper towels so it doesn’t drip around
- Wipe around the resin tank with paper towels then remove it, place it on paper towels, and cover it so UV rays don’t cure it while you are cleaning.
- Now you can properly wipe the printer surface with a combination of paper towels and warm soapy water
- For those smaller areas of your 3D printer, cotton buds with the warm soapy water should work pretty well.
To prevent the resin from spilling, it is recommended not to exceed the maximum filling line.
Try to get the job done using soapy water but if you need to use IPA then test the solvent on a small surface before using it on your 3D printer.
This helps to ensure that it will not cause damages to the material.
Can You Dispose of Cured Resin?
Cured resin is considered skin safe and can be touched with bare hands. You can throw failed prints or supports of cured resin directly into the trash just like your other household normal waste.
Resin is considered hazardous and toxic when it is in liquid form or uncured. Once the resin is hard and becomes completely solid through curing then it is safe to be thrown without any further treatment.
Air and light is the ideal combination to cure resin. Sunlight is a great way to cure prints, especially in water.
If you’ve never heard of water curing, definitely check out my article Curing Resin Prints in Water? How to Do It Properly. It’s a great way to reduce curing time, strengthen parts, and improve surface quality.
Steps for Disposing of Your Resin & Isopropyl Alcohol Mixture
The simple and easy procedure to dispose of the resin is as follows:
- Get your container of resin and set up your UV light
- Expose the container to the UV light or leave it in sunlight
- Filter out the cured resin
- Dispose of it into the trash when it solidifies
- Reuse the isopropyl alcohol or pour it down the drain.
If you’re looking for some high quality isopropyl alcohol, I’d recommend getting the Clean House Labs 1-Gallon 99% Isopropyl Alcohol from Amazon.
All the things that come in contact with uncured resin during this whole process should also be exposed to UV light and disposed of with the resin container.
If the isopropyl is mixed with the resin, it should be treated in the same way. When you put the resin-mixed IPA under the sun, the IPA should evaporate and you will get the cured resin to be thrown into your trash.
It’s similar to when people reuse their IPA when it has resin mixed with it. They cure the resin & IPA mixture, then filter that IPA into another container and use it again.
IPA that hasn’t mixed with resin can be poured down the sink or drain safely. It is quite harsh stuff, so you can dilute it with water and use good ventilation.
For people struggling with various 3D printing issues, you might want have wanted more guidance towards getting ideal 3D printing results. I created a full course that's available to purchase called Filament Printing 101: Beginner's Guide to Filament Printing that takes you through some of the best 3D printing practices early on, so you can avoid those beginner mistakes.