The surface of your 3D printed model is defined by the material and technology. In addition, the number of post-finishing steps also determines the cost and quality of your transparent resin model.
The natural surface of your transparent resin model is what we call ‘basic finish’. That means you get to see and feel the basic material your model was built from. However, resin based models will always be smoother than powder based models. The technology (stereolithography) used for your transparent resin model requires extra material to support your model during the printing process, but these supports are removed before your model is cured (hardened under UV light).
With basic finish, some building layers will still be visible. The natural surface option is always the cheapest option.
The color of the material is transparent, but not 100% water clear. When your model is solid with a thickness greater than 2 cm, the printed part has a bluish shine. For the normal transparent finish, the model is painted with colorless varnish. For transparent color finishes, pigment is added to the varnish.
Depending on your wishes, the part will be finished. This consists of taking away the support, sanding it and varnishing it.
The support removal is a manual process so this means the support has to be accessible by hand. In case the support is hardly reachable like in the rocket below, the support cannot be removed and stays visible inside the model.
To avoid this trapped support, leave either a hole with the diameter of at least 80 mm or give us the permission to cut the model in 2 in our software and we’ll glue it back together after printing. This cutting line will stay visible in your model.
Solid models are also a solution but bad for you wallet and solid models shouldn’t have a wall thickness larger than 8-10 mm. Solid models with a larger wall thickness than 10 mm are in general a bad idea because the part can shrink and/or crack. Better hollow your model so that the wall thickness is 2.5 mm- 3 mm.
The example above on the right shows a hollow part with entrapped support. The hole in the bottom is not big enough to get to the support. The model above on the left shows it was cut in 2 in our software and glued together. If you look carefully the cutting line is still visible.
Please continue reading to decide upon the degree of finishing and color. By default, we offer technical finish. Cosmetic finish is available upon request.
From left to right: cosmetic finish, technical finish and basic finish
The number of post-finishing steps in order to make your model more presentable will determine its cost and quality.
When you choose technical finish for your transparent resin model, the support material is first removed, and your model is only slightly sandpapered. Then your model is cured (hardened under UV light) and transparent paint (varnish) is applied on all surfaces. With this finish, building layers will still be visible.
When you choose cosmetic finish for your transparent resin model, the support material is first removed and your model is sandpapered until the building layers are no longer visible. Then your model is cured (hardened under UV light) and transparent paint (varnish) is applied on all surfaces.
Varnish is a type of colorless paint that always comes with transparent models. This varnish is applied to your model to protect it from dust and discoloration. It makes a part transparent. Adding a small amount of paint to the varnish enables bit of color to be added to this transparency.
To be able to reach all surfaces, sometimes it’s necessary to cut and glue a model. This can be the case for cosmetic reasons (e.g. the inside of a bottle) or to avoid varnish falling into a (drinking) glass shaped model(s).