Choosing between water washable resin vs normal resin is a choice that many people find confusing to make, so I decided to look into comparing these two types of resins.
This article will go through the pros and cons, as well as the features and experiences of using both water washable resin and normal resin, so keep reading through this article for some useful information.
Is Water Washable Resin Better? Water Washable Resin Vs Normal
Water washable resin is better in regard to cleaning your models since they are easier to clean and doesn’t require isopropyl alcohol or another cleaning solution. They are known to smell less than other resins and can still produce similar great details and durability in models. It is more expensive than normal resin.
Some people did complain about water washable resin being more brittle, but there are mixed opinions on this, with others saying it works just fine as long as you use the correct exposure settings and don’t over cure your models.
Many reviews on water washable resin mention that they still get great details on their models. One user said that he gets more cracks and splits when using this type of resin, especially with miniature parts like swords or axes that are thin.
After trying water washable resin from searching for resins online, a user was thrilled by the quality of the prints he received, stating that it was equal to the standard resin he usually gets.
The supports were just as strong but much easier to clean, as well as any accidental spills that occur. He simply uses a wash tub with some water. He did try to get a comparison of tensile strength ratings directly from Elegoo but didn’t receive an answer back.
Pros of Water Washable Resin
- Can be washed in water and doesn’t need isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or other cleaning solutions
- Known to emit less fumes than normal resins
- Cleaning any resin spills is a lot easier
Cons of Water Washable Resin
- Known to be brittle with thinner parts
- They take a longer time to dry off
- Trapped water in prints can cause over-curing, cracks and layer splitting
- Durability of prints may decrease over time depending on how they are stored
Pros of Normal Resin
- Produces durable prints
- Has smooth and clear finish with high precision
- Requires little time to dry off after cleaning with isopropyl alcohol
- Resin is more affordable
- Hollowed models can be printed with thinner walls and with less chance of cracking
Cons of Normal Resin
- Requires extra chemical solutions for cleaning prints which can be slightly costly
- Spills are harder to clean up since it doesn’t dissolve very well
- Known to have more of a stronger smell
In terms of the overall costs between using normal resin with a cleaning solution and paying more for water washable resin and using water, you would probably be better off with normal resin because IPA can be reused for a long time, while the resin is used just once.
A 1L Bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol from Amazon will set you back around $15 and can last you many months of use. You can either use small plastic tubs or something like a Wash & Cure Machine that has inline fans that agitate the liquid to wash prints better.
The difference in price between normal resin and water washable resin isn’t massive. You can find a 1L bottle of normal resin for around $30 while water washable resin goes for around $40, give or take a few dollars.
Since water washable resins are washed with water, they may take more time to dry off while normal resins that use IPA as cleaning agents take lesser time because IPA dries faster than water. If the prints are not properly dried before curing, the prints can crack or leave marks.
I have noticed that hollowing prints with thin walls made from water washable resins can prove difficult even when you use the default settings on ChiTuBox while other types of resin can print absolutely fine with hollows.
They can be a bit brittle, unlike the normal resin which can be flexible even with thin parts and can also be easy to work with.
On another note, one user said that their biggest turn-off with water washable resin is that you still have to dispose of the water the same way you would dispose of IPA if the water has resin in it.
Another difference is that water washable resin produces a low toxic smell, unlike regular 3D resin. This has been the excitement that most users have had with the water washable resin since this means there will be a reduced risk of inhaling toxic fumes.
Some people did mention that different colors have different smells, so one user who tried Elegoo water washable resin in red, green and gray said green and gray were fine, but red was quite strong smelling.
I am going to share a video by VOG with you that shows a review of the water washable resin and a regular or normal resin.
Exposure Time Comparison – Water Washable Resin Vs Normal Resin
Water washable resin and normal resin usually have similar exposure times so you shouldn’t have to make adjustments for either type of resin.
As you can see from the Elegoo Mars Resin Settings Spreadsheet, the standard resin and the water washable resin have very similar cure times for the Elegoo Mars & Elegoo Mars 2 & 2 Pro printers.
If you look at other printers and similarly compare their curing times with these two types of resins, you’ll see identical times which shows that they both require about the same exposure time.
Here is the Elegoo Mars curing times.
Here is the Elegoo Mars 2 & 2 Pro curing times.
Can You Mix Water Washable Resin with Normal Resin?
It’s possible to mix water washable resin with normal resin and still get great results as many users have done. You shouldn’t have to adjust your exposure settings since they tend to use the same curing times. It kind of defeats the purpose though because it probably won’t wash very well with water.
The issue that surrounds mixing water washable resin with normal resin is the right resin setting that should be used after mixing them together.
It’s a better idea to partially mix water washable resin with a flexible resin to reduce the brittleness and add some durability to the model.
Is Water Washable Resin Toxic or Safer?
Water washable resin isn’t known to be less toxic or safer than standard resin in terms of skin contact, but it would be easier to wash off with water since it is designed that way. I’d still recommend using nitrile gloves as usual and handling the resin with care. People mention water washable resin smells less.
The problem with water washable resins though is that many people think it is safe to wash in the sink and have the contaminated water pour down the drain. This can still be very environmentally damaging so water washable is more likely to have a negative effect due to user error.
Even though water washable resin is known to have less fumes, you still want to operate your 3D printer in a well ventilated area, with some air purifiers to help even more.
In terms of toxicity from skin contact, Elegoo once made a post on Facebook about how they have just released the new water washable resin as a better means to reduce the rate of injuries.
However, they advised people not to touch the resin with bare hands and also to always clean it off immediately if it comes in contact with the skin.
This water washable resin review by Uncle Jessy on YouTube gives some good more insight into water washable resin.
What is the Best Water Washable Resin?
Elegoo Water Washable Resin
One of the best water washable resin that you may want to get for yourself is the Elegoo Water Washable Resin. They are available on Amazon in different colors.
It is one of the best-selling water washable resins on Amazon with a 92% of 4-star ratings at time of writing, coupled with a lot of amazing written feedback from users.
Here are some of the amazing features that the resin has:
- Reduced printing time
- Prints come out with clean and bright stunning colors
- Reduced volume shrinkage which results in smooth finish
- Adequate and secured packaging that prevents leaking
- Stability and hardness that guarantees stress-free and successful printing
- Well-detailed prints with high precision
- Compatible with most resin 3D printers
- Comes in different colors to suit your needs
With an Elegoo water washable resin, you can print your 3D models successfully and clean them up with tap water. It is said to require about 8 seconds for normal layers and 60 seconds for bottom layers for an Elegoo Mars printer.
Print times vary a lot depending on what printer you have, especially if you have a monochrome screen which had normal exposure times of around 2-3 seconds.
A user who was printing at home with no good workshop for cleaning saw the resin by chance and decided to try it out. They found it helpful in printing their miniatures with great details and precision on the models.
A lot of users have equally expressed their delight with using the Elegoo water washable resin and how it has given them a worry-free process during and after printing.
Phrozen Water Washable Resin
Another water washable brand of resin that I’d recommend is the Phrozen Water Washable Resin which can be found on Amazon also.
Here are some of the amazing features that the resin has:
- Low viscosity which means it has a light, runny consistency making it easier to clean
- Low odor so your whole room won’t be smelling
- Designed to cure faster without having a negative impact on quality
- Parts printed with this resin should be sturdy and tough
- Has a surface hardness rating of Shore 80D
Many users talk about how great this resin is once you dial in the settings properly. I wrote an article about dialing in resin settings called How to Calibrate Resin 3D Prints – Testing for Resin Exposure.
I also have another article that explains resin settings – How to Get the Perfect 3D Printer Resin Settings – Quality so feel free to check those out to improve your resin 3D printing journey.
One user mentioned how easy it was to clean up resin prints with just water and a toothbrush, taking just one minute to get clean. He has tried many other water washable resins and found this one was the least brittle out of them all.
He said he hasn’t had any failures yet on his Elegoo Mars 2 Pro, even though he’s been printing non-stop since he got the printer 2 months ago.
How Do You Dispose of Water Washable Resin?
To dispose of water washable resin and the contaminated water, take the container and cure it with a UV light or by leaving it in the sun. You then want to filter out this cured resin solution and let it slowly separate out the water. You can then take the cured resin, throw it away and dump the water.
You don’t want to dispose of water mixed with water washable resin without curing it because it will have negative effects on the environment, especially on aquatic life.
It can be safer to just get an ultrasonic cleaner to use with water in cleaning your water washable resin prints.
Some people do still choose to clean water washable resin prints with alcohol, so that’s still an option if you choose. They say it makes the prints a lot easier to wash than normal resin.
Here’s a video one user made on how to dispose of 3D printing waste liquids.
How Long Should I Cure Water Washable Resin?
With a strong UV light or Wash & Cure machine, you should be able to cure water washable resin prints in anywhere from 2-5 minutes depending on the size of the print. If you have a weaker UV light, it could take you anywhere from 10-20 minutes to cure a model.
A great UV light that several users have is the Comgrow 3D Printer UV Light & Solar Turntable from Amazon.
In the YouTube video earlier in this article from Uncle Jessy where he reviewed the Elegoo water washable resin, he mentioned that he used about 10 – 20 minutes to cure each side of his Gambit Bust Eastman model.
Alternatively, you can also experiment and find out the best cure time that works for your water washable resin. This is because I have come to realize that cure time differs with the type and nature of resin used in resin 3D printing.
In many cases, curing times of 2-5 minutes can work well so it really depends on the complexity of your model and if it has nooks and crannies that are hard to get through to.
You can also use something like a UV torch to cure hard to reach areas. I’d recommend going with the UltraFire 395-405nm Black Light from Amazon.
How Strong is Water Washable Resin – Elegoo
Elegoo Water Washable Resin has a Flexure Strength of 40-70 Mpa and Extension Strength of 30-52 Mpa which is slightly less than Standard Elegoo Resin which has a Flexure Strength of 59-70 Mpa and Extension Strength of 36-53 Mpa. Water washable resin can be brittle in some cases, but many have great results.
Elegoo water washable resin comes with great hardness and produces durable prints.
Many users have talked about their experience with water washable resin. Most users have said that the resin prints just fine with highly detailed and durable prints.
However, a user once used different types of resin including the Elegoo Water Washable resin to 3D print 3 different miniatures. He noticed that the water washable resin was more brittle and had more tendency to break than the other prints.
They also tried another experiment that involves trying to smash the prints with a hammer. The user did not use smash the prints by manual force but allowed the hammer to fall on the prints by gravity.
The Elegoo Water Washable Resin was not the first to break and barely had dents from the hit.
You can watch the YouTube video below to see exactly how this experiment was carried out and how it proved the durability and strength of the water washable resin.
It is safe to say that the Elegoo Water Washable Resin also prints strong models with great stability, as long as you use the right curing times and have good post-processing practices.