Surface of first prints easily mark, rub off

Hi - I have only resin printed with the extremely affordable Anycubic Photon, very new to Formlabs. I cannot figure out what I’m doing wrong here. My fingers can easily rub off the surface of my first test prints. Tools will do this too; they easily scratch the surface. Basically any mild pressure deforms the surface in some manner. I’ve searched this forum and others for this issue and can’t find anything.

Light finger rubbing:

  • Machine: Form 3 (firmware 1.6.6)
  • Resin: Grey (v4)
  • Preform: 1.5.3
  • Model: the butterfly clip used in the Preform onboarding tutorial under the Help menu.

Light tool pressure:

I’m using all the standard auto tools in Preform, I haven’t changed any of the defaults. I’ve tried washing one print in 99% ISO for 20 minutes and another print for 5 minutes, same result.

Or am I a dunce and this is supposed to happen until it dries for a much longer time, some other reason, etc? I read that grey resin doesn’t require curing - is that wrong and these prints are soft until curing? I’d appreciate any pointers or advice!

I’ve been experimenting a bit and decided to UV cure these test parts with one of those affordable nail salon curing devices. I didn’t initially try this because I saw standard resins don’t need curing:

But UV curing these grey resin pieces removes the softness and prevents rubbing and scratching. Do these really need to be routinely cured after all? Or am I printing these wrong?

This usually happens if you rub it or apply pressure before parts are fully dry from IPA.

1 Like

Ahhhh, thanks @leonhart88! Based on your feedback I let my last print dry for a while before curing and the surface regained much of its resistance. I hadn’t seen alcohol washing soften prints in other brands of resin I had used.

I did notice that I managed to still damage the surface of the print with my gloves when removing from the isopropanol wash. Any tips on preventing damage to print surface before the alcohol dries out?

I have a form wash so it automatically takes it out and I let it air dry before handling. Otherwise I’d say just be really really careful. Maybe take the whole black part out of the bucket and leave it to dry before handling.

I’m surprised to see that it says on the website that those resins don’t need post curing, they definitely do

Literally everything needs some post curing. If you look at manufacturer data sheets you will notice that pre-cure specs are worse than post-cure. So to reach optimal material properties you need to post cure.

There are companies doing work to optimize exposures during the build as to minimize the post cure, but again, even though quick, they still require a post cure.