Completed my First Resin 3D Prints

Well, I completed resin printing my 20th goblin last night and so have a whole unit to paint for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD).  It seems easier to print in resin than in PLA, but the cleanup is a bit painful.  Probably the best thing to do is never clean up; keep the printer running 24/7.  With a fan and an open window (easier to do in FL), the fumes are manageable.  I am going to set up a bench in the garage, however, for future prints, because I am not 100% about the fumes.  I ordered some additional supplies from Amazon, including several bottles of IPA, which is hard to come by in stores around here due to the plague panic, surgical gloves, some lunch trays to contain any spills, and some extra reservoirs.

Elegoo Mars 2 Pro resin printer. My only complain is that the rubber gasket around the bottom of the UV shield keeps falling off, so I had to glue it with some rubber cement.

Chris or Greg sent me the link to a Kickstarter making 28mm Napoleonic figures, but they were post-1812, and my preferred periods are pre-1812, 1805-1809.  I think that more and more people are going to start selling stl files for figures as the price of resin printers has come way down.

The reviews on the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro were solid, so I took the plunge.  The Photon is supposedly a little more flexible, but the Elegoo reviews said it was the easiest and simplest to use.  I don’t like fighting through IT issues (like updating an SSL certificate yesterday on my blog), so I went with simple.  The Internet is famous for people who don’t do anything or have any credibility criticizing people who do*, so some of the negative reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt. For instance, it said the port for the USB stick was hard to get to. Note in the picture above, it is right in front and easily accessed. Another complaint was that it was difficult to remove the UV lid. I didn’t find that to be the case at all. Yes, it has to be lifted completely off the device, but I just didn’t see that as a big deal. The ChiTu Box slicer is a little non-intuitive, but once you get the hang of it, even that was straight forward, and ChiTu Box seems to be an industry-standard, free slicer — for resin printers at least. So far, I have been really happy with the printer and the results. Recommended.

I used Chris Abbey’s (Sally 4th) workflow:

  • Import the stl files into Prussa slicer.
  • Use Prussa’s auto orientation feature and add the supports.
  • Export the file with supports to a new stl file.
  • Load those STL files into the ChiTu Box slicer to fill the bed with figures.  (It takes the same amount of time to print one figure or a bed full of figures, so you might as well fill the bed.
  • Export that into the proprietary ChiTu Box format.
  • Load that file onto the USB stick that comes with the printer.
  • Print the figures.
  • Pry everything off the print bed.
  • Wash the figures in two tubs of IPA, one “dirty” (the first wash) and one “clean” (the second wash).
  • Rinse in warm water.  
  • Finish curing the figures in UV light (plenty of that on the back patio in FL.
  • Assemble.
  • Paint.
  • Ogle.

I am very happy with the results and quality of the figures.  I still prefer metal figures, but these are nice, especially for the price (something like $0.30 a figure).  They have the feel of Bones II material.  I haven’t tried to paint any yet, so I don’t know how they take primer.  The only primer I found that works on Bones II is the Army Painter primer and/or matte spray. Everything else seems to make the perpetually sticky.

Twenty goblins — enough for a WOOD unit — printed in less than 24 hours. It was five print runs that each took about 2.5 hours. My first two print runs had a couple of the figures not print. I adjusted the time of the initial layer, as the book suggested from the default 45 seconds to 75 seconds, and all subsequent jobs printed just fine.

Anyway, if you have been thinking about a resin printer, for about $250 on Amazon plus another $50 of additional supplies, you can be up and running.  (I normally order my electronics from New Egg, but they were about $40 more than Amazon in this case, which is unusual.) That’s about what my Prussa Mini cost me.

Close up view of three of the goblins from Kyoushuneko. The bows and hands were separate pieces. The material takes super glue well.

I still prefer metal figures, but for those odd or rare items that aren’t worth a manufacturer creating a mold, you can’t beat the price of resin printed figures (about $0.30) per figure. Once you amortize the cost of the printer, this is still economical. I see resin figures as a supplement to metal figures, not a replacement.

I still have a large block of Wars of Ozz figures to paint before I paint the goblins, so don’t look for painted pictures anytime soon. These will get the Contrast paint treatment, but I will also experiment with the Instar Alpha contrast style paints that I got from Sally 4th.

My next project will be to reprint a vehicle that I printed with PLA and compare them.

*Man in Arena by Teddy Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” I firmly believe in this quote and what it says. This is why I have no patience anymore for people who have never done anything FOR their country except to benefit from its freedoms and institutions incessantly criticizing it or tearing down its foundations and institutions.

*As Dolly Parton said, “I wish all the people telling me that something can’t be done would get out of the way of the people who are doing it.”