Getting Started With 3D Printing: Choosing the Right Resin

Published on May 21, 2024 by Madeleine P.
The right 3D printing resin

If you are reading this, you have probably taken the plunge and purchased your first resin 3D printer. But now it’s time to consider another crucial element: the choice of resin. The resin you use plays a decisive role in the quality and characteristics of your prints, which is what makes choosing the right resin so important.

First, what is a resin? To make it simple, unlike FDM 3D printing filaments, which come in solid form, 3D printing resins take a liquid form. Most often, they are stored in bottles or cartridges.  They are used in vat photopolymerization processes like SLA and DLP.

Impression 3D résine

Resin 3D printing (also known as vat photopolymerization) enables the creation of highly detailed parts (photo credits: Formlabs)

Understanding the Different Types of Resins

Before you start choosing your resin, it is important to understand the different options available on the market. Each type of resin has unique properties and characteristics that make it suitable for specific applications. Here are some of the most common types of resin:

  • Standard resins: these versatile resins offer a good balance between print quality, ease of use and price. They are ideal for beginners and the creation of general objects.
  • High-performance resins: these resins offer superior mechanical properties, such as enhanced tensile, flexural and impact strength. They are ideal for demanding applications, such as the creation of functional parts or prototypes.
  • Technical resins: these resins have specific characteristics, such as biocompatibility, heat resistance or flexibility, melting capacity (for lost-wax casting), electrostatic discharge, flame retardancy, etc. They are designed for specialized applications, such as the printing of medical parts, molds or gaskets. They are designed for specialized applications, such as the printing of medical parts, molds or gaskets.
  • Art resins: these resins are designed to produce prints with remarkable detail and color. They are ideal for creating sculptures, figurines and decorative objects.

Choosing the Right Resin for Your Project

The choice of resin depends on a number of factors, including the final application of your print, the physical properties required, your level of experience and your budget. Here are a few tips to help you make your choice:

  • Consider the application: determine the end use of your printed object. If you need a strong, durable part, a high-performance resin may be required. For decorative pieces, an art resin may be more appropriate.
  • Physical properties: consider the physical properties required for your application, such as tensile strength, flexibility, heat resistance or biocompatibility.
  • Experience level: if you’re a beginner, opt for an easy-to-use standard resin. Technical resins may require more expertise, particularly in configuring print parameters during slicing (although most manufacturers supply profiles).
  • Budget: resin prices vary considerably. Define your budget and look for options that offer the best value for your needs.
  • 3D printer compatibility: make sure the resin you choose is compatible with your 3D resin printer. Each printer has its own resin requirements. Although most current 3D resin printers use a 405nm wavelength, some use a 385nm wavelength and therefore require specific resins. In addition, some 3D printers use proprietary material cartridges.
Fire retardant resin

Using a flame-retardant resin to protect parts from flames (photo credits: Formlabs)

Brand and Supplier Recommendations

Many manufacturers offer high-quality 3D printing resins. Reputable brands include Formlabs, Peopoly, Elegoo, Anycubic, Liqcreate and many others.

These brands offer a wide range of resins to meet a variety of needs and applications. Feel free to visit their websites to explore their offerings and find the resin that best suits your needs.

Impression électronique

“ESD safe” materials protect electronic components from electrostatic discharges (photo credits: Nexa 3D)

Choosing the right resin for your 3D printing may seem like a daunting task, but by considering key factors and conducting thorough research, you can find the perfect resin for your project. Don’t forget to consult your printer’s specifications and run print tests to ensure resin compatibility. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different resins to discover the one that gives you the best results and best suits your needs.

What is your favorite 3D printing resin? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here for the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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