How Long Does It Take to Cure Resin 3D Prints?
When it comes to curing resin 3D prints, people wonder just how long it takes to get this done. I decided to write an article detailing how long it takes to cure resin 3D prints properly.
The average resin 3D print takes around 3-5 minutes to fully cure with a dedicated UV curing light and turntable. For resin miniatures, these can cure in just 1-2 minutes, while larger resin models can take 5-10 minutes to cure. Stronger UV lights with more Watts will cure quicker, as well as lighter colored resins.
This is the basic answer, but keep reading for more useful information about curing resin 3D prints.
Do You Need to Cure Resin 3D Prints?
Yes, you need to cure resin 3D prints after you 3D print and clean them. Uncured resin is a toxic substance that is dangerous to your skin, so curing your model is important to make them safe to touch. Make sure that you cure larger models for longer than smaller models and you rotate the model while curing.
It’s possible to naturally cure resin 3D prints without a UV light by letting it air dry or cure in natural sunlight, but it takes a lot longer.
Uncured resin can actually cause skin irritation and even trigger allergic reactions to some people over time, so curing the resin makes it chemically stable and inactive.
Curing also increases the mechanical properties of the resin model such as making it stronger, more durable, and more resistant to high temperatures.
Finally, curing also helps bring out and preserve the minute details of the model. After you wash the layer of excess resin off the print, curing hardens and sets the print, so it maintains its shape.
How Long Does It Take to Cure Resin Prints?
There are two main options that are used to cure models:
- UV light box/machine
- Natural sunlight
Depending on what method and machine you are using, it will affect how long it takes to cure resin 3D prints.
Curing time is also influenced by the color of the resin. Transparent resin cures faster than other opaque resins like gray because the UV rays penetrate the resin better.
UV Light Box/Machine
The most popular option for curing resin 3D prints is a UV light box or a dedicated machine such as the Anycubic Wash & Cure.
This method cures resin models the fastest because it has a very strong UV light source that shines directly onto your model, usually with a rotating turntable so it cures the model all around.
Depending on the size and geometry of your model, these can cure your resin models in 1-10 minutes.
A cheap option that works pretty well when you are starting out is the Comgrow UV Resin Curing Light with Turntable from Amazon. It has a UV LED lamp that uses 6 high-power 405nm UV LEDs to quickly cure your resin models.
Many users are happy with this product for curing resin models since it doesn’t require much setup and is really easy to use. I’d recommend it for smaller pieces, so if you have a larger resin printer, you want to go with a larger option.
There are also stronger UV lights such as the 200W UV Resin Curing Light from Amazon, if you want to cure your resin prints faster. One user who uses this UV light said they can get resin models cured in 5-10 minutes, while another said it takes a minute or two with their own DIY UV box.
The next option that you’ll come across is a dedicated curing machine, some of which also have a washing function built-in.
The Anycubic Wash & Cure 2 in 1 Machine is a great choice for users that want to wash & cure their models all within one machine. These use around the same level of UV light as normal light boxes at 40W, but also have a built-in rotating turntable that your models sit on to cure.
After you have more experience with resin printing or you just want to go with the better option early on, you’ll want to get yourself one of these machines to cure your models.
They are also very easy to set up and operate. Thousands of users have left positive reviews and they love just how easier it makes the process of resin 3D printing. One user said it takes them around 6 minutes to cure a resin model using this machine.
They also have the Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus for larger resin 3D printers.
These have a timer that you can input for your models, making it easier to cure your models for the right amount of time. I’d recommend doing some of your own testing of UV curing times to see just how long you need to fully cure your models.
You can also choose to cure your models in natural sunlight but these takes much longer. You can cure small resin miniatures in about 2 minutes using a curing box, or you can set it out for about 2 hours in the sun.
Larger resin prints will require about 8-10 minutes in a curing box or approximately a full day in the sunshine to cure properly (5-8 hours).
However, this isn’t set in stone, as it’s dependent on a few factors. The time it takes to cure a resin print depends on the size of the print and the curing method you use.
Check out the video below for more information about how long it takes to cure resin 3D prints.
How To Tell If Your Resin Print is Fully Cured
To tell if your resin print is fully cured, you should inspect the model to see if it has a glossy or shiny surface to it. A fully cured model usually has quite a dull, non-sticky surface that feels like plastic. If your model feels sticky and has a shine to it, that usually means it isn’t fully cured.
Some people recommend that you try tapping the model with something like a tooth pick or similar object to see if it has a soft or hard feel to it. If the model still feels soft, it probably needs to be cured for some more time.
Make sure to keep using your gloves are you handle resin models before you know they are fully cured for sure. You can get a pack of Heavy Duty Nitrile Gloves from Amazon. These gloves are strong, durable, and, most importantly, chemically resistant.
You want to take notice of the geometry of your model because some parts may be harder for the light to reach it, meaning it won’t cure as fast as a simple object.
How to Cure Resin Prints Without UV Light – Outside/Sun
To cure resin 3D prints without a UV light, you want to take advantage of sunshine since it has natural UV rays that can cure models. Some areas will have more sunshine than others, as well as stronger levels of UV rays. Simply placing your model outside in the sun for several hours should be enough to cure it.
The UV rays needed to cure your resin prints are UV-A rays which are between the 320 – 400nm wavelength. They can penetrate through cloud cover and water surfaces to help cure your print.
Sunlight curing still works better in regions with lots of sunshine. For example, in places closer to the equator where there is less chance of cloud cover distorting the rays.
Ideally, you have a UV turntable that you can place your model on top of so it rotates and cures all around the model.
A great curing platform to use is this Solar Turntable from Amazon. It can run on both solar and battery power, so it will still function even when there isn’t enough light to drive the motor. It should take anywhere from 2-8 hours.
You’ll still need to wash the resin 3D print in a cleaning solution like an isopropyl alcohol bath to remove the excess liquid resin.
Another technique you can use to help cure models quicker is to do water curing.
Resin models cure faster when they are placed in water due to the way the UV light rays enter the water.
I wrote an article about this which you can check out for more details – Curing Resin Prints in Water? How to Do It Properly.
Placing the model inside a water bath inhibits the spread of oxygen to the model. Oxygen inhibits curing, and in its absence, the model will cure faster. As a result, more areas are cured at once, and you do not need to turn the print quite as often.
For even faster curing, some users recommend wrapping the water bath with foil. Check out the video below for a visual example of this.
How Long to Cure Resin Prints on an Elegoo or Anycubic?
Curing boxes use high-intensity UV lamps to cure resin prints faster than direct sunlight. There are two main models: the Elegoo Mercury Wash & Cure and the Anycubic Wash & Cure.
Elegoo Mercury Wash & Cure
According to the Elegoo datasheet, here are the curing times you should expect for various print sizes/diameters:
- 26/28mm miniatures: 2 minutes
- 100mm prints: 7-11 minutes.
The Elegoo Mercury Wash & Cure has 14 high-intensity UV bulbs and a rotating platform for curing prints thoroughly and evenly.
Most users recommend that you should start at 2 or 7 minutes (depending on the print size). Gradually increase the time in 30-second intervals until the model is cured to avoid over-curing.
You should know that if your model has a solid infill, the curing time might be slightly longer. You should add about a minute or two to the time.
Anycubic Wash and Cure
The Anycubic Wash and Cure has 16 405nm UV lights and a reflective bottom. It provides the following curing times.
- 26/28mm miniatures: 3 minutes
- 100mm prints: 8 – 12mm
Some users have complained that it’s quite easy to over-cure models in the Wash and Cure. They recommend curing in one-minute intervals when starting to find the sweet spot.
How Long to Cure Resin Miniatures?
You can cure resin miniatures in 2 minutes using curing machines like the Anycubic Wash & Cure or by using a UV LED light and a turntable. Resin miniatures have a lot less area to cure so the UV light can cure it a lot quicker. Some people have even cured resin miniatures in a minute or less.
Curing a resin miniature in direct sunlight has reportedly taken around 2 hours to fully cure.
However, you have to be careful when curing miniature prints because there is a high risk of over-curing the model. This discolors and reduces the strength of the print, making it more brittle.
So, you have to be careful with how long you leave your miniatures out to cure. You can learn more about it in the article Can You Over Cure Resin Prints?
You can also choose to make a DIY UV curing station/box to speed up the curing process.
Curing resin prints is the final step to getting highly detailed, quality 3D models. It can be a bit hard to figure out the ideal curing time at first, but as you continue printing, it should become a breeze.
Good luck and happy printing!