Printing with Dyed Resin


#1

Let us start out by saying we have had a Form1 and a Form1+ printer and have loved both printers for the unbelievable finish and detail that the printers output but we have been disappointed with the resin color options. We often print finished products from our printer and after a while, the lack of color resins was really limiting the fun quotient! There are only so many times you can make unique items and sell them in black, white, clear or grey. Yes, we could always paint the models, but since many of our models have text that is too small to sand around, it becomes an almost impossible task at best.

About a year ago, we experimented with putting metal flakes in clear Formlabs resin. We discovered that if we used just the right amount of flakes, we could turn the clear resin a slightly different color while giving it a unique sparkle in certain lighting. We first tried Alumilite’s Copper Metallic Powder in clear resin. After a few batches, we discovered that perfect ratio and managed to print some earrings successfully! The look completely surprised us. We had expected a shiny coppery look, but what we got was even more unique. In some light, the copper infused clear resin looks pinkish, in some light it looks more tan, and only in certain light or in larger pieces can you see the actual flakes sparkle. It was a great and successful first experiment into the world of resin additives! We then took the remainder of the copper infused resin and added Alumilite’s Silver Metallic Powder to it along with more clear resin. We achieved success a second time and this time the result surprised us even more! The slight pink hue achieved with the copper flakes was replaced by a slightly more yellow or cream colored hue. Again, the color really changes based on lighting conditions and colors around it. We loved the two different looks that the metallic flakes achieved, but we were not content with just flakes. We moved on and experimented with some other companies colored resins, but still the options were limited.

Copper Metallic Infused Clear Resin Earrings

On April 1, 2016, Formlabs played an April Fool’s Day joke of scented and dyed resin. Now, we knew this was a joke, but we were wondering if dyed or colored resin was going to be offered soon. Alas, that was not to be the case. However, soon after, they announced a method of dying the clear resin with epoxy dye. They gave the recipe and instructions, but never listed a brand/type of epoxy dye and when we tried it here, it didn’t work.

Recently, in our continuing quest to successfully print with colored resin, we used Rit dye (that we had already purchased for dying nylon filament) in clear resin. Of course the particles from the Rit dye didn’t dissolve immediately so we protected the container from UV light, and waited until a majority of the particles dissolved and we had a beautiful cobalt blue color! When pouring it into the resin tank, we were careful not to add any un-dissolved particles to the tank. It was stunning as you can see in our images below. However, it did not reliably print in large scale (which was what we had intended it for). We successfully printed one pair of earrings with it, then we diluted the cobalt blue color with more clear to make a more transparent and lighter blue. The jewelry pieces that we printed with this blue are unique and beautiful. Again, larger scale objects did not print – we assume that the dye was affecting the resin’s cohesion when the object became too heavy or large.

Cobalt Blue “Clear” Resin Earrings

But, it gave us hope for more colors and more options. We created syringes of concentrated dye in clear resin to be able to use it to infuse into a clear tank of resin. Those syringes, each in a different color, sat in the dark for a few weeks until this past weekend when we decided to try out our experiment with some of the last of our clear resin. We filled the tank with clear resin and began a print of custom bottle openers – 9 openers on the tray. About 15% into the print, we added a different dye color to each corner of the vat – red, yellow, blue, and orange. A short time later, we added a bit of green to the hinge side of the vat. We had limited amounts of each color, because again, we wanted to be sure that we didn’t introduce any un-dissolved particles into the resin. As we mentioned above, this was the last of our clear resin and as the print was about half way complete, we realized that we were not going to be able to get anymore color from the syringes, so our last option was to add our cobalt blue color if we wanted this print to actually succeed and produce bottle openers for us. And it worked! We have variegated bottle openers – each one is unique based on where it was positioned within the vat and what colors were near it.

Leftover dyed resin in syringes

Side view of variegated bottle openers

Top view of variegated bottle openers

The process of printing with dyed resin worked beautifully and we plan to do some more experiments with color soon – perhaps with Formlab’s white resin! And if that doesn’t work, at least we know we can buy more clear and get the same gorgeous results!


MIxing dye color on Durable Resin,?
Is the new Color Kit compatible with Tough v5 resin?
Pigment Tough Resin, anyone done it?
#2

Great results! I don’t see many people trying out to color the resin directly.


#3

Just had a successful print with dyed resin. Using standard epoxy resin dye. Transparent red by Castin Craft. 1/4oz to 7oz (200mL) of clear resin. Made for a fairly deep red.

Printed in Open Mode, but now my tank is permanently an Open Mode tank, which I’m not too happy about. In the future, I might consider mixing the entire resin bottle up (all 2 liters) and printing in regular mode…once I get the dye ratio dialed in.


#4

Do you have any photos? Also, have you experimented and more with the epoxy dye from Castin craft


#5

Has anyone just added the resin dye to a whole cartridge of clear resin? That’s about 1.25 oz of resin dye to an entirely new clear resin cartridge…

Pros - a red print!

Cons - might ruin $150 worth of resin…


#6

I would have no issues coloring an entire cartridge if I experimented on a small batch first.

Also, I would stick with a colorant that’s designed for printer resin (3Dresyns is one). Anything that’s not made for acrylic based material is going to weaken it and can cause prints to fail. Especially larger prints. I’ve also used Alumilite dye.

You can also purchase additives to make the pigmented resin cure properly (again 3Dresyns). When you add color the material may need to be more reactive. Adding a slight amount of “fine tuner 1” will make the resin more reactive.


#7

I live in northern Europe,

Here I can find two types of colorings for resins:

-polyurethane resin coloring
-epoxy resin coloring

Does anybody have an Idea about which one would suit Photopolymers best?


#8

I would use the epoxy resin colorant to try first.

3Dresyns Is in Spain (and Boston in the US). You should be able to get their colorants sent to northern EU.


#9

I’m very prone to trying these from Smooth on right now. The So-Strong line is transparent, so it probably has a better chance to work, especially outside of the yellow-red wavelengths from my previous researches. https://www.smooth-on.com/tutorials/urethane-colorant-comparison-uvo-pigment-strong-tint/

I can get the sample box with all colors for 30 Euros, so I think that I will be experimenting with those + Photocentric3D Firm Clear, that has been giving me amazing results so far.

I will keep this thread updated with results.


#10

I happily succeeded printing dyed blue clear resin without using the open mode! Frankly. Surprised with the results. I’ll try to post a pic of The base, as I’m not allowed to show the piece itself…


#11

I like the color!


#12

Im interested in printing in a blue color like that and have some of the smooth on “so strong” dyes.
What setting changes if any do I need to make? Do I just print as if its clear?
Less is more with that dye and I really only want a light blue tint to the clear.

Is there a major difference between the Makerjuice dyes and an epoxy/polyurethane dye like smooth on makes?


#13

The smooth on “tints” are pigments. They will work best when you are going for an opaque look. Dye’s will not be as easy to get an opaque color (you’ll be able to see thru them).

As with any experimental resin change I would start with a tiny amount of resin and see how well your pigment mixes and settles over time. (I’ve used the little plastic ketchup containers from fast food places before).

IF you’re looking for a subtle change try the same setting as the normal resin. If it’s failing or under cured try a stronger setting like grey or black.

Best thing to try is the new color kit. You can experiment to get exactly the color you want but it won’t be transparent (the resin isn’t completely clear)


#14

Im interested in a tinted look not opaque. Transparent is my goal here. Ill definitely test in a separate container to see how they mix first. In the few times Ive mixed them into both epoxies and polyurethane resins they can easily create a transparent look so I will be surprised if it doesnt do the same in the Formlabs clear!
Ill use those ideas and start with clear settings once I ensure the resin mixes with this.


#15

Check out the pigment (nanoparticle dispersion) I used from Peacock Colors in my BabyForm2 project. It’s apparently the same stuff used to tint plexiglass. I was quite happy with the tint it achieved in Clear resin.


#16

Can someone explain the idea behind Open mode here? I am reading that the best way to do this is to trick it to see it as clear with no Open mode. Given the low amount of blue (so strong from Smooth on has mixed well thus far and not settled) I am inclined to try this.
I know that my tank is now void though Im not interested in voiding my warranty just slightly tint some clear resin blue to create a water look.


#17

Update! So strong dyes work. I’m guessing too much like others say would effect the lasers curing resin but light blue specifically is okay.
Is it time for Formlabs to make a transparent dye too?
imaterialize will coat clear but getting solid transparencies is really a beautiful ability to me!