How dark should my room be when opening, cleaning, or filling the printer?

So far, I’ve been süper-obsessive about obtaining darkness before filling to start a print, cleaning, or pulling out a completed print. Frankly, it’s become such an inconvenience, because it effectively increases the ‘print time’ for each individual print up to “one day”, ish: I have to wait until the next night-fall (my place is floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows with imperfect blinds) to pull the print I started out, or to fill it so I can start a print.

So, I’ve come to wonder if I’m taking this too far: how dark should a room be, before the printer is opened (if it’s got resin in the tank, obviously?) Are we talking pitch-black? What about “mostly dim?”

Of note: right around the printer, I measure approximately 45-90lx during the day with the room as dark as I can manage to make it (as opposed to ~150lx on an overcast day with the shades open.)

Related questions:

  • How much light can I afford to have in the room, to strike a balance where I can safely see well enough to handle the resin and tools, etceteras? So far, I’ve been working at night, and keeping it so dim (light on in another room, door cracked into the main room) that I can barely see what I’m doing.
  • Does red light cure the resin? My place is outfitted with Hue; so, at night, I’ve hoped I could just trip all my lights over to pure-red, and work with enough luminance to actually see what I’m doing.
  • When considering all of this, how fast do all of you feel that you need to be? Even with the above setup, I’m paranoid enough that I rush through any steps that it’s necessary to have the printer opened up, for. Combine that rushing with the low-light conditions, and I’m sure I’m going to end up pouring half a litre of resin into the body of my printer one of these days …

So. Tips, and thoughts, from any of you with more experience than me, are welcome. How paranoid are you? How much bother do you go to to keep light out of your printer? How has [whichever choices you make there] affected your prints?

I wouldn’t fret so much, maybe put a cover over the printer when it is not in use of the room is bright. I would recommend putting a cup of resin beside the printer to observe the effects. Just prepare the work area before opening the hood and I wouldn’t worry about any room light for the few minutes it will be open.

So, you’d think at normal/dim room light, the partial-curing time would be in the range of ‘many minutes,’ not ‘seconds?’ That’d be a huge relief.

I like your idea of testing it with a bit of resin; maybe I’ll pour a dob out onto a tray of some sort and set it out under red hue’s overnight, see if it cures … I don’t think that can help me re: room-light exposure though, because my concern isn’t so much full (observable) curing within the few minutes’ exposure it would take to clean the thing … it’s partial (unobservable) curing, i.e. ‘jellying’, that would affect later prints.

My guess is that even in a very bright room your dob will take at least an hour to partially cure. If outdoors on a very sunny day maybe 10 minutes. I don’t think any room light emits light outside the visible spectrum enough to cure resin. But the cover over the Form1 is a good idea for sunny rooms because their orange shield is not 100% effective.

My printer is in my living room, and I pour/mix the resin in my kitchen. I haven’t observed any unwanted curing of resin in the tank at all, other than what one might expect through regular use.

@JoshK hm, the shield “isn’t 100% effective?” This is worrisome, as, like I said, my entire room is flooded with sunlight when the shades aren’t closed. (Obviously, I’ll have them closed if I’m going to be removing the cover at all or working with resin, but … on the days when the Form 1 isn’t in use, I’d like my guests to be able to see out d: ). I suppose I need to do some research on this.

@JasonSpiller I presume by ‘in the kitchen’ you mean in standard lighting in your kitchen? That’s heartening. (=

Consider it 100% effective for all practical cases. I just did a test since my statement alarmed you. I put a piece of tape on top of the platform and drop of resin on that. Then I set my laser pointer on the hood over it. It took many minutes of focused laser light moved around the area slowly to make the drop show just a slight thickening. I was impressed.

I don’t have definitive numbers, but just as a point of reference, our entire office—and the many printers it contains—is fully illuminated by overhead commercial windows, as well as large, open windows. While you should certainly take care to not inadvertently expose your resin (say, by leaving the cover open), regular indirect indoor illumination is not something you need to be over-concerned by.

If you want to go overboard to protect your resin, why not get a orange filter sheet and put it into your window. The whole room will be a safe area then!

Only joking . . . . . or am I ;-\

Yup, daylight or even with the halogen lights on - at most I’m only exposing the resin for a minute or so.

@ElliottCable You can always buy a cover for your Form1+


Just to reiterate what @Sam_Jacoby said, there won’t be appreciable degradation of the resin from external light sources during regular operation of the printer. The amount of light required to cure the resin is so much higher than ambient light sources that it shouldn’t be an issue on short time scales.

Opening the printer in daylight for standard procedures like removing a part or refilling resin won’t effect the outcome of your prints. So turn on the lights, take your time and do your best to avoid “pouring half a litre of resin into the body of [your] printer”.

I’ve done some testing with exposure to sunlight outdoors on the resin. A drop of resin on a q-tip cured within 30 seconds when exposed to direct sunlight on a non cloudy day. I put all completed parts outside in the sun for 5-10 minutes to complete the curing process and remove the tackiness that you feel after cleaning a part. Remember that indoor lighting does not emite the same wavelengths as the sun and windows may block some of the UV. If you are really worried about exposing the resin tank in your environment, I’d place resin on q-tips around the room and see how quickly they cure buy sticking paper clips or something into the drop to see if it deforms. When the resin drops stop deforming, you know the resin has started curing. This will let you know the safe exposure time of the resin tank to your lighting condition.

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@Robin_Ovington, Thanks, It’s good to hear someone tested it. It would be interesting to see if it lasts longer if the light comes through a window and directly hits it.