Tinting clear parts with Solvent Dye


#1

Last year I learned to tint 3D printed parts made on my SD300 in PVC (thermoplastic vinyl) using Sculpt Nouveau solvent dyes with a thermoplastic-fusing solvent. I’ve been trying to adapt it to parts made on the Form 2. The colors aren’t quite as intense because SLA uses thermoset resins, which can’t be solvent fused. (Thermoset plastics can’t be re-melted.)

But my initial results are worth sharing because the colors are acceptable and the method is simple!

Background (skip this if you don’t care): Sculpt Nouveau is formulated for dying “difficult” materials like metal or glass when dissolved into a compatible solvent. It yields fantastic results on 3D printed vinyl, as explained in my old blog post Using Dyes on 3D Printed Vinyl, but it entailed the use of nasty solvents like MEK and THF. (Methyl Ethyl Ketone and Tetrahydrofuran) Those solvents do work for dying parts made from Form 2 clear resin but there’s great news: Form 2 parts dye just as easily using Isopropyl Alcohol as the solvent.

Here are some test results dying Form 2 clear resin (FLGPCL03) with Scult Nouveau in alcohol:

The results weren’t so impressive with White Resin (FLGPWH01) because the color was pale, inconsistent, spotty. In particular, the “violet” dye exhibited pink highlights in flat areas and indigo stains along edges.

No doubt it may require further experimentation, but these are excellent results considering how little effort it really required. For each color I prepared a dye bath in a polypropylene container by mixing 4 ounces of IPA with a pipette of Sculpt Nouveau dye. I processed the 3D printed parts exactly like Formlabs recommends, rinsing twice in IPA then dropping the parts into the dye bath. After twenty seconds I removed the parts from the dye, blotted away any leftover liquid, and put the part into a UV curing oven. And that’s all it took!

Here’s a summary of the colors I tested:

Violet: The clear parts (left) took on an attractive amethyst shade. Unfortunately the white parts (right) dyed inconsistently.

Red: Clear parts became distinctly red. White parts exhibit color variations, with both pale areas and occasional dark stains.

Orange: Clear parts (left) emerged an earthy tone, not the bright orange shade I’d hoped for. White parts merely looked soiled, like un-bleached bones.

Green: Clear parts came out a weird shade of green, but the tint is certainly distinct. The white part (right) is a pale green.

Blue-green: Following the same pattern, the clear pieces are distinctly tinted while the white part is relatively pale.

These are only preliminary results, but it’s promising. The colors don’t seem to rub off once the parts have been cured, and the tints are sufficiently distinct for my needs.


Coloring Clear Resin
BabyForm2: 3D Print Your 3D Printer (revived)
#2

Wow, these are some cool looking results! I have been interested in coloring my prints too but still didn’t experiment.

Thanks for sharing this.


#3

This is great! Have you seen the commercially available dyes for SLA resins? I can’t remember the distributor online, but someone mentioned them on the forums…


#4

I’m not sure if this technique will work on photosensitive resin and it will require using clear or white resin and mixing which means you’ll have to clean both the tank and platform when you want to change colors.


#5

Did you try post curing the white before dying? Might that reduce the splotchyness?


#6

That sounded like a worthwhile experiment so I tried it with some white parts left over from the previous experiment. The results were considerably worse. These parts are shaped perfectly, but the splotches actually make them look misshapen!


Dyed Clear V4 Prints
#7

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