Has anyone tried this 48W CCFL + LED UV nail lamp?

Now that I’m using more of the Tough material, I need a smaller portable curing lamp for my prints as opposed to using our Q.A. departments Q-Sun environment chamber that uses a 1800W UV bulb lol… I was looking around on Amazon this morning and ran across this unit that used both a CCFL bulb and LED’s. I was wondering if anyone else has tried this unit or can recommend a similar unit that can cure Tough and other Formlabs materials.

My only concerns are that this unit doesn’t specify the wavelength range of the LEDs, but reading over the Amazon comments it seems to cure the gel nails fast, so i’m guessing it’s in the 375-405nm range. Who knows though?

@Kenny_Wilson, I’ve used a nearly-identical unit on clear resin, and it does work. My biggest issue with the product however, was that it only runs for 30 seconds at a time, when 5-10 minutes is closer to what I found was enough time to fully cure things up. Clearance is also pretty limited, about 2" max.

I wound up building my own UV curing “tub” using a plastic storage container wrapped with a UV LED string. That enables curing with UV and in water, which substantially speeds up the curing process.

Thanks for your reply! Hmm, yea the 2" clearance would be an issue. I was reading yesterday some threads on here with users making their own DIY UV curing cabinets so I think I will look into doing something similar. Thanks again for your input!

I’ve been post curing my parts submersed water with my laser pointer. Works well but you have to make sure you go over the entire surface. Takes the sticky off right away.

I have been looking for a bigger bulb but haven’t found anything I can just toss on and walk away. Solarez has one but you can’t run it for a long period of time and it is pretty pricey.

Anyone try some of the aquarium bulbs used for saltwater tanks? They have specs for 420-450 nm range.

I have been using a standard UV sterilizer cabinet with an 8w UV bulb (like this one) and it works ok for standard materials. The problem is I have to leave it in there for long periods because of the low power of the bulb and the ballast can’t support higher wattage bulbs. We also have a Q-Sun environment chamber (similar to this one) in our QA lab that I’ve been using for prints made with the Tough material or if I need a really fast pre-cure of the standard material. The problem with using the Q-Sun is that it uses an 1800w Xenon bulb, so obviously I have to be real careful how long a part stays in that chamber or it will cause deformation due to the excessive heat.

I think I’m just going to make my own as it seems the best solution for people like us with printers. It seems the market for UV curing machines is like a rather extreme spectrum of customers. On one end you have nail salons or people curing gel nails and on the other end you have people who are using UV curing cabinets for PCB, laser etching, LOCA adhesive applications, etc. Somewhere in between those users lies people like us that need something larger than a nail curing machine and nothing that’s as elaborate or complex as the industrial grade UV curing machines. I hate to say it but looks like we’re in the hobbyists/enthusiast range where products are usually made by their respective usergroups as there isn’t really anything out there that can check off on all the boxes we need (medium-sized cabinet, preferably 405nm+ UV wavelength, 30w+ of power, attractive looking, etc).

I have a reptile lamp that is only 150 watt and that gets really hot too. The 420nm intensity seems low making for extended use needed to cure.

Have you tried curing under water? I ran out of Yellow Magic and have a one of the Form1 rinse containers full of clean&safe which is a mild detergent based cleaner and keeping the part submersed in that along with my laser pointer the post cure is pretty quick.

Some just toss their parts in a tub of water and stick it in the sun. Oxygen in the air apparently keeps the parts from curing. Maybe submerse the part and use your current light to see how quick it cures up?

There are some other good contributions elsewhere on how to build your own UV curing chamber. I settled on a 3.5 qt. plastic tub wrapped with a 5m UV LED string, wrapped with foil, then wrapped with tape to hold it all together:

I got the tub here: http://www.containerstore.com/s/kitchen/food-storage/canisters/click-clack-cubes-with-white-lids/123d?productId=10029681
I got the LED string here: Amazon.com

A 1A 12V power brick runs the LED string. Total cost was about $40 and one hour to assemble. It stays cool enough to leave parts in indefinitely, although less than an hour is usually sufficient.

I added a 40mm fan later, to gently dry parts that just came out of the alcohol bath. The whole system is watertight, so I can UV cure immersed in water if needed


Since you said it’s watertight, I’m assuming your LED’s are the waterproof ones with the thick clear top? Do you know if those kind of LED’s prevent them from being as strong as say the LED strips without the thick clear top to make them waterproof?

It’s not clear from the picture, but the LED string is wrapped around the outside of the container, so it doesn’t matter if the LED string is waterproof. It turns out the cheapest UV strings are waterproof - apparently they’re used for fishing - go figure.

Wrapping the LED string around the outside of the clear container does attenuate the UV a bit, but the resulting assembly is much easier to wrap and stays mechanically stable over time and usage.

Oh I see now that I clicked on the image to make it large. I just presumed it was a blue container. :smiley:

Can i ask why you would immersed your part in water??

Whats the bennefit?

I’ve read that oxygen (gas) interferes with the curing process. Immersing in a liquid such as water (yes, there’s oxygen in water, but it’s tied to hydrogen) blocks direct exposure to oxygen in the air. I’ve tried it both ways, and it does make a difference. I think it’s highly recommended when using their flexible resin.

I used to use water curing quite a bit, but lately I just keep it in the UV chamber a bit longer and spare myself having to dry off the part after a water cure.

It’s something to do with exposure to oxygen - the resin cures faster when immersed in water.

@gdmccormack What kind of tape is that blue stuff you used? Is it fairly waterproof when there are drips filling / emptying / rinsing / cleaning the inside of the tub?

@rkagerer, it’s just 3M blue painter’s tape - it was the closest tape within my reach at the time :wink: The tape is there just to hold the foil tight against the outside of the plastic tub. I’ve been careful enough to not spill water on the outside of the tub, but it’s really easy to replace/repair if it does get damaged.

Has anyone tried using the UV LEDs you see for aquariums and flood light applications? I thinking of making a box and buying 4 of these 20w LED grids. My thinking is that with buying something like this I wouldn’t have to deal with all the wiring and such if I were to use the LED strips everyone else is using. Just mount 4 of these, plug them into a power strip and call it done. Thoughts?

Here’s two of the products I’m looking at. Both have a wavelength of 395-409nm:
20w http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018C71QHI/ref=s9_simh_gw_g199_i1_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=desktop-2&pf_rd_r=0TEMGEVR324TMSSFXPXH&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=2091268722&pf_rd_i=desktop

10w flood http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012CUL180?m=AWUSKMLB3J3ZT&qid=1457361444&ref_=sr_1_18&s=merchant-items&sr=1-18

Formlabs just posted a new report on post curing: http://formlabs.com/support/finishing/post-curing-prints/

@Kenny_Wilson, I presume you’d line the box with foil to distribute the light more evenly - not to mention keeping the UV away from the printer! The 10W flood may seem underpowered, unless you’re never in a hurry. The 24W LED string I used takes 10min to an hour to hard-cure a part. From what I interpreted from the Formlabs report, heating is really useful, so perhaps mount the 20W lamp you identified on the bottom of the tank, right under the part to be cured?

I would plan on buying (3) 20w lamps giving my enclosure 60w of power in total. I plan on using mirrored acrylic sheets rather than tin foil, reflective tape, etc.

Here is a 3D model I’ve been working on for laying out my design. The mirrored acrylic and inner wood panels would have cut out sections allow the LED units to swivel in case I need to direct light in specific areas. To top iit off I plan on cutting the top and flush mounting an orange acrylic sheet to both mimic the Formlabs printer but also not have the bright UV glow. Perhaps even mount a computer case fan to draw out any heat. The gaps within the inner panels allows for air to heat keep the heat sinks cooled separately from the curing volume and also allow for the power cords to be hidden and routed cleanly.

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@Kenny_Wilson: whoa - I’m hoping you post copies for sale on Etsy!

Have you considered water curing? That would mean mounting the lamps on the outside - or I suppose one could put their model in a small water tank and place it in your larger chamber.

60W will slam-dunk having enough light power. I also highly recommend a fan to ventilate the chamber. I added one to my (puny little) chamber and it enabled me to drop parts that had just been cleaned in the alcohol bath without having to dry first.

Water curing is definitely important, you’ll notice if you rinse off the print with water that if you have a light on you’ll get cured spots on the outside of the print where any drops of water are.
If you’re making a chamber, instead of trying to make it waterproof/watertight I would just make it big enough so you can fit a clear container filled with water in there. I use the container that comes with the finishing kit.