Manufacturing parts out of photopolymer resins is typically a three-stage process that starts with the 3D printing itself, is followed by cleaning, and ends with post-curing, a step where a part receives additional UV exposure to reach its target mechanical properties. To take care of this last stage, Zortrax engineers designed the Zortrax Curing Station, an industrial-grade device for UV curing parts made on all resin 3D printers available on the market. Here’s why Zortrax Curing Station is such a big deal.
Why You Need an UV Curing Device for Resin Prints
In the UV curing process, a resin 3D printed part is irradiated with UV light with a wavelength of 405 nm for a prescribed time recommended by the manufacturer of the resin. At the most basic level, this can be done by simply exposing the part to sunlight. The other way would be to use a UV lamp. While both methods work to a certain degree, they do not cut it in professional applications for two main reasons.
The first of those reasons is that neither sunlight nor a UV lamp provides uniform exposure. To put it simply, there are always some areas of the resin part that get more exposure and thus become more cured than other parts. This means resin 3D printed models post-processed this way have areas that are stronger and areas that are weaker. Mechanical properties are therefore not consistent across the part which creates potential failure points not accounted for in the part’s design.
The second reason is that there are significant variations in the curing conditions that are difficult to predict. On a sunny day, a part may need to stay in the sun for a couple of minutes but proper curing may take more time when it’s cloudy. Using a UV lamp solves that problem to some extent but does not solve the issue of unintended failure points. Another downside of working with UV lamps is that overexposure to UV radiation can lead to serious health issues. This is why professional UV curing devices are a method of choice every time when quality of resin 3D printed parts is of essence.
Curing Chamber for Large Resin Prints
Zortrax Curing Station has a workspace measuring 300 x 200 x 300 mm which means it is designed to accommodate fairly large prints. The curing chamber in Zortrax Curing Station ensures all surfaces of a resin 3D model get consistent UV exposure. Its walls are made with 304 stainless steel sheet polished up to the EN 10088-2 2P standard which acts as a mirror, reflecting UV light at all sides of the model. Consistency of exposure is further enhanced by a rotating table on which the resin parts are placed. This way unintended failure points in the 3D printed model caused by insufficient UV exposure are mostly eliminated.
Advanced Safety Systems
Zortrax Curing Station also has multiple systems ensuring safety of its operators. A filter built in the front glass panel of the curing chamber door stops the UV radiation and thus protects the users working in the nearby environment. To prevent cases of accidental UV irradiation, the device detects when the curing chamber door is open and immediately turns off UV lamps. Finally, a separate system prevents the UV LEDs from overheating.
Outstanding Ease of Use
The curing process boils down to placing the models in the chamber, choosing the right settings recommended by the resin manufacturer, and starting the process. In most cases, curing takes just a couple of minutes and guarantees that the parts have properties that match the mechanical and thermal specifications provided by trusted resin manufacturers like BASF or Henkel/Loctite.
Zortrax Curing station is a stand-alone automatic post-processing device that can work with nearly all resin 3D printers available on the market. But working together with Zortrax Cleaning Station and Zortrax Inkspire 2 3D printer it makes a complete resin 3D printing system enabling a user to make excellent prints with a wide range of resins, getting the highest quality each time.
Feel free to contact our sales team: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss how the Zortrax Curing Station can improve resin 3D printing operations in your business.