Thanks to all I learned so much about curing from this forum, I’ve ordered all the components to build a nice curing station. But, in the meantime, I am in the middle of a rather large 4 part print. When complete I’ll glue the prints together to form a sphere type shape and the seams need to fit relatively perfectly together after printing/curing. Each print is about 14 hours,
All of the pieces are too large for my nail curing station. My question is should I wait to cure all of the pieces until I have the larger curing station ready so that they can each cure for the same length of time in the same environment. How long can you go between printer and cure? Or, should I rig up a makeshift box lined with foil under my nail curer to get started? If time elapsed between print and curing is an issue, then that’s what I’ll do.
@pjeverly: A lot of the prints that I do are tooling and fixturing components that assemble together. Typically I use a nail curing chamber, although I also have a “toaster oven” sized unit that I just have not used because the nail curing unit takes care of most things, and the nail curing unit also has “infinite time” capability, while the “toaster oven” unit has a maximum timer limit of 15 minutes, which just isn’t long enough based on the wall thickness of most of my prints and I don’t want to be bothered with having to restart the curing oven power.
Anyway, the parts that I print will have varying wall thicknesses, which means that technically each part does not need the same curing time. I will cure a bunch of parts together in the same cycle as the nail curing chamber permits. The longest I have gone between print finish time and beginning of cure time has been two days (print finished late Friday night, began cure around 9AM Monday morning).
So based on my experience, I don’t think you need to wait to cure all pieces until I have a larger curing station ready. And elapsed time between print finish and curing is not an issue. But maybe others have specific experiences that may indicate something different?
I recently home built a UV curing oven using some of the components from the Form Labs website. I made a larger box with 2 UV nail lamps (U-Spicy 36W from Amazon) so I could cure multiple parts at the same time. I have run several batches of parts through the UV curing oven. In my experience I have been able to easily assemble components from different cure cycles (length and cure position in the oven) with no trouble. I suspect the UV cure primarily changes the hardness of the material and does not impact the dimensional stability to a large degree.
Thanks for this great feedback. Based on what you both said, I’m not going to sweat the amount of time between print and cure. Here’s the cure box we are building, it’s going to take a couple days more for the parts to arrive and to get it assembled::
My prints are rather large and have 1/8 inch thick walls, how long should they cure?
You could stick the parts in a ziploc baggy full of water and stick it in the sun. The parts will cure substantially faster when not exposed to the air.
Though most of my parts are small I have cured larger parts using the supplied cleaning pails full of water and my 405 nm laser pointer. You can noticeably feel the difference as the part is cured with your fingers.
That’s like the one I built, only my box was only $73 and I changed out the temp controller for one that is digital.
True, I am still using the original 320 to 400 nm bulb, but with the better temp control, I have been able to cure even the largest of prints in specified 60 degree 60 minute settings. Total cost in mine was under $100.
@pjeverly: I always do the alcohol rinse & bath prior to UV curing. If I don’t, then the residual liquid resin will remain on my parts and affect the part dimensions. I also trim away supports after UV curing, but not everyone does that. As a point of reference concerning this, on another related forum post (titled Scarring from Support?) I have seen where someone at FormLabs indicated that it is better from a supports removal standpoint that it is better to remove the supports prior to the UV cure.