I am fairly new to the 3d forums, and the company I work for has recently decided to invest in a 3D printer. Our first step into the 3d printing world has begun with Formlabs, and I am here to share our results with the community! Below are pictures of our 3d Print room and the the UV cure-box that has been built.
two wall cabinets that have an open-bottom section that serves as a display for the prints.
a high work table that holds the finishing kit and a Dremel workstation
a metal peg board for easy access to tools.
The Form 2 Printer sits on a rolling cabinet. This is ideal when any maintenance needs to be performed however the drawback (pausing the print before opening a drawer) can get annoying, but it is a small price to pay. The room serves dual functionalities of not only being the 3d print-lab for the company, but also a showcase room for new technologies for visitors in the building. Additional items still needed to complete the room are a dedicated computer and a large monitor screen.
Since the company dedicated an entire room for this equipment, I built a professional-looking UV cure-box while not spending absurd amounts of money.
AC power supply that will work with the LED strip (12V, 5A max, 60Watt max is the one i used)
Wire w/ wire strippers
Wire to power supply connector (green/black in the pictures)
LED controller with remote (optional)
Aluminum foil lining (Al sheet-metal typically used for building was used in the box, but store bought Al foil will work just fine) [may need to use 2 or 3 layers if the foil is thin]
3m double sided tape
clear glass or clear plastic sheet
Step 1: Measuring/ Figuring-It-Out
location of threaded rod holes
how you will route your LED strips and wires
location of holes for wire routing
Your LED strips will need to be attached in a SERIES connection. I have mine starting at the bottom of the container and ending at the top [power supply at the top].
Step 2: Base Layer
Drill holes for threaded rods (make sure threaded rods will be evenly horizontal)
Drill holes for any wire routing
Attach double sided tape to the side walls, bottom, and underside of the lid (leave the outward facing protection strip of the tape on)
Step 3: Aluminum Foil
Attach Al Foil → Do the sides first, then the bottom, then the underside of the lid. Make sure to leave enough room on the underside of the lid so it can shut properly. When doing this step its best to remove the the protective film on the tape as-you-go instead of removing it all at once.
re-drill holes if the AL foil is covering any holes
Step 4: LEDs
You should have a basic idea of how you will position your LEDs at the point.
[Go section by section for this step. Start at the bottom, then sides, then underside of the lid]
WIRING should be done in SERIES
Cut LEDs to appropriate length.
Attach wires with wire shrinks (precautionary measure so it does not short-circuit) to the LED strip contact points.
Attach double sided tape to underside of the the led strip and attach LED to the foil.
Use double sided tape to hold down any dangling wires firmly against the walls
Step 5: Check and Final Check
- Hook the “wire to power supply” connector to the wires first then the power supply and check all LEDs are working.
Attach threaded rods
Attach the nuts to the ends of the rods and lay the clear plastic sheet on top of the rods
- Do a final check, and if everything works you are done!
The box does take some time to heat up, so a solution is to turn it on in the morning and let it heat up a little bit before using. To speed this up use a hair dryer on low setting and gently heat up the interior of the cure box.
- Use EXTRA long wire for the LED connection between the lid and the main container. This way you can take the lid fully off and let it sit somewhere without having to worry about ripping apart your LED-to-LED connection
If you have any comments or suggestions please post below.
Unless those are really high wattage LEDs, you’re probably going to want more of them than you have. Curing wants lumens and candlepower decreases with the square of distance. Your box is large which is nice, but the LEDs are much further away from the center as a result. You need more lumens to make up for distance.
Also, some resins (Flexible) need to be post-cured underwater (anaerobic environment). If you used a clear container you could put the LEDs on the outside and fill the inside with water when/if you needed to.
You’ve seen my post here? Check out how much closer each wrap of LEDs is on my design. The amount of light I’m getting on the print inside the jar is just getting the job done. Further away and spread out more, I would not have enough light.
Also. You appear to be using a RGB programmable LED string. This may not be doing what you expect. The “color” of the light is not what’s important, it’s the actual frequency of the light. That will exclusively be a function of the frequency of the Blue LEDs on the LED string. Unfortunately, the frequency you need (405nm) is almost purple in color. It’s unlikely to be the frequency of the LEDs on your RGB string. An RGB LED’s blue LED will typically be in the 470-480nm range. That’s too high to be effective at post-curing (if it has any effect at all, it may not).
The LEDs I recommend in my post are spec’d to output 385-405nm. They’re much closer to the 405nm target but are probably on average a little under. But 470nm will be a wavelength too far.
I have re-looked over the stats of the LEDs and they are not RGB, but a UV 395-405nm (near blue/purple). Perhaps the controller made it look like RGB LED strip? I will have to test out the Flexible underwater curing as I have not printed enough flexible prints to be knowledgeable in that section. Thank you for the reminder/suggestion!
I have been using this box for nearly 2-3 months on a regular basis now and have had no problem curing my prints, but i do need to find a way to get more heat into the box to decrease curing times. I was thinking about introducing a heating element with a fan and have a cut-off at a certain temperature, such as the one below.
The Al sheet metal as opposed to the Al foil you used in your box is able to hold the heat a lot more and also be reflective at the same time.
I do like your clear container for underwater curing however very nicely done!
That looks good but by the time you pair it with the fan and a line voltage thermostat you’ll have over $150.00 in it. McMaster has small strip heaters I can install inside the box and use the line voltage thermostat for about half the price.
I used an old microwave oven as the enclosure, took out the magnetron, transformer and other bits that weren’t required, fitted 3 x 10W 405nm LED arrays and used a low wattage (350W) hair-styling hot air brush blowing into the cabinet. Temperature is controlled by a PID controller and Pt resistance thermometer (both a bit OTT - a simple thermostat would have done).
The microwave as enclosure has some advantages: 1) You can pick one up from a dumpster. 2) Rotating glass turntable is easy to clean and helps even out UV exposure 3) Front-loading door is convenient for loading and if you use the interlock, the LEDs and heater switch off automatically when you open the door.
Temperature can get to about 75C maxed out with this set-up - though I obviously don’t run that high!
I just read on the forum that we might consider a digital temperature controlled incubator for the the heating, then simply add the UV LED strings. I don’t have experience with this but it seems like a better and possibly more affordable solution.
I have located the following listing on Ebay. The item number is 182172949860. It is listed as a dry heat UV sterilizer. The seller (china) has responded that the heat setting is adjustable. I am waiting now to hear back what the min and max temp settings and and what type of UV bulb type and the nm rating to see if this would be good for 3D prints. The size internally is about as large as the build space on the Form2, so this might just be a good affordable curing solution. I will let you know the updated info when I receive it. On the listing it shows the unit set for 60C so I am very interested in it.
I just picked up my form 2 last week.
I’ve been researching UV products for a few days that may do the trick for curing…
Has anyone tried a towel warmer with UV sterilizing?
Reviews on this one are horrible - but the 60 minute timer and temp control seem interesting. Maybe just add a 400nm light into it and should be close to the ballpark with proper heat and light? Total cost would be $100ish
Bought the one pictured and the 400nm LED light.
Removed the UV bulb it came with and wired the LED in its place. Fairly simple to do - I think as somebody said - if you’re a person who tinkers - it can be done with no problem. Here are pictures…(upload://ieXyg9bCCdLnipsV4x2bAqDGvg1.JPG)
It works great.
Reviews on Amazon say the timer is loud etc - but it’s basically an egg timer. In my shop I don’t hear it - in a spa, you would probably hear it… Dings when its finished
The heater starts as soon as you twist the timer - the light only comes on when the door is closed. I put reflective tape on the inside of the door - because it just seems to be the safe thing to do… Its bright.
The first few times I ran it - it smelled a little funky… Whatever its coated in for the container ride from China has to burn off…
I have plexiglass on the metal shelf to hold parts etc (I make small stuff mostly - so it would fall through the metal rack…)