Experimenting with a test resin heater

I’m building a test resin heater to see if that will help tough resin prints. I just got a bottle of tough, have yet to try it, but from all I’ve read, it’s viscosity can make it difficult to use. warming it up should help with that. I saw how someong before used a chicken coop heater, which was neat, but I wanted to avoid heating everything with forced air, focusing instead on just heating the resin.

This technique uses a reptile terrarium heating wire (submerged) and a temp control w/ thermocouple. I designed and printed a simple clip to hold the wire as it wraps around in the inside walls of the tank. If this clip does not work very good, I’ve taken a tank lid, cut out the top center so it can be on the tank when printing, and will attach wire holders to the underside of the lid. I wanted a 100% printed and no-fabrication method though, so others could do it easily too if it works good. it may prove to be too messy, but I’m going to try it out anyway. I’ll let you know how it works.

First test

With clips

another shot of clips

A jigsaw upside down in a vice makes a nice scroll saw :smile:

lid w/ center removed tested during print


Running my first print with tough now, should be done around 7:30 Eastern Time. The resin is bouncing between 95-98 degrees F now, and the viscosity is similar to (maybe a tad thinner than) room temp clear. Out of the bottle, tough is almost as thick as flexible. There is a huge viscosity change with temperature. Hoping this will let this print succeed where so many other tough prints by many, many people have failed.

Just an added FYI Formlabs is testing a BETA version of the software to correct the Tough Resin settings I am currently running with it and I have had almost no printer issues (there was one but that fault was on me). Just a warning before trying to get too crazy with mods just not sure how soon they will actually release the next version.


I have not worked with Though Resin yet but sometime ago when I was working on another printer I had
difficulty getting the resin to stick to the platform.
I heated the platform before printing and from there on I had no issues.
Hope you have success.

We’ll see what happens. running with the top off and out of the way…

What did they change? Can you tell?

OK, so the prints are done, cleaned up, supports removed and post-cured in my lightbox for a couple hours.

I think it’s fair to say that these are in many ways the best prints I have ever made. Some small holes didn’t print as well as they do in clear, unfortunately, but the surface sands to a velvety finish with 380 wet. As for the heater, I’m pretty sure it’s responsible for the excellent printing of this stuff. They look fantastic, yet I am disappointed in the behavior of the material in it’s intended functional role (It’s a complex snap-fit part).

I hoped ‘tough’ was going to be the one. It doesn’t seem like it so far, and it’s $175 a bottle! Honestly, it’s about as big a disappointment as flexible was for me, and tough shares a lot of the characteristics of flexible. In fact, tough really just feels like a slightly stiffer reformulation of flexible.

Maybe It’s just not cured enough. I’ll put it in the Sun tomorrow and see if that helps. Right now though, it’s too rubbery, has poor memory, and feels like it will creep out of dimension under stress fairly quickly. None of the characteristics I’m looking for. If flexible feels like a stale gummy bear, this stuff is a more-stale jolly rancher :ghost: This part does have some very thin walls in places (0.6mm). That’s asking a lot from of a 3d printing material.

If it doesn’t get better tough-wise in the Sun, I think I might play around with mixing black and clear with this to see if I can find a stiffer, more crytalline ’ tough’. Thinking 70/20/10 clear/tough/black might be an interesting mix to try.

Agreed, I too was shocked when I got my hands on the tough resin. I first requested a sample part from FL and was surprised when I could quite nearly twist it 180º on itself. Now I have my own bottle (couldn’t resist) and am post curing my first functional print currently. Fingers crossed that it isn’t too flexible.

I think it will be a good material, I’m just not sure how to design with it correctly yet.

Cool experiment with the heater, glad you are getting nice results for your efforts.

Yeah, exactly, except I need to design a complex assembly that snap fits and will take advantage of engineering thermoplastic’s charateristics in production. It’s proving elusive to say the least…

Warm, it prints the best of any material I’ve ever used, sands easily to a nice surface, and the color is nice too. It kind of reminds be of Vorex resin by MadeSolid. It’s too amorphous (I think is what I mean) though. I read too much into the ‘tough’ handle - I really should have read the datasheet before… Comparing clear and tough’s datasheet you can see the differences are substatial.

I am convinced heating the resin is the way to go now, but I need a better, simpler and easier to clean heater design… I’m all ears if anyone has any ideas on that. Maybe start a new thread on it.


How long do your prints last? Would the heat last long enough if you put the resin bottle in hot water for an hour before the print? Or added warm resin as you printed?

This print took 5-1/2 hours, but it didn’t take a lot of resin. My gut feeling is not having it be continuously heated would not work as well. I suppose, depending on part geometry, having it heated just for the base would be better than nothing, and may help keep the part stuck to the platform better. dunno. I had not considered that method.

I have an inquiry into this company: http://www.oemheaters.com/c-1050-silicone-rubber-etched-foil-heaters.aspx
about their products to make a simpler and better version. I’ll keep you all in the loop.


update: I’m working with the guys at oemheaters, and it might be possible to have a simple one-temperature heater wire that just goes once around in the tank. The foil type I linked to can’t be submerged, unfortunately. This new design would eliminate the need for a controller, and should reduce the cost quite a bit. It’d be a custom design, so might not be super cheap at really low volumes. Anyone else interested in possibly buying one from these guys? If we had a list of several who were interested, the price would definitely go down. PM me if you think you might want ot try it. I’ll work out a better/simpler attachment method, and will share those stl files with the community once I have them.

I would be interested in one depending on the price.

update: oemheaters came back with a design that uses a builtin switch @100F, but it can vary as much as ±10F. While simpler, I’m not sure I want to give up the control I currently have with the reptile heater controller and wire. I’ve been busy with work and the holidays, so I have yet to get back to them about it. If you are interested in getting something going with them, I suggest shooting them an email directly.