How to Make an SLA Finishing Station // 3d Printing

  • Published: 11 July 2019
  • We got a new SLA resin 3d printer, so we made a finishing station to help clean up and cure the prints. Sponsored by CuriosityStream, for a free month, go to and use the code "iltms"
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    For this project, we are making a cabinet specifically made to wrap around our new SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus) printer from our friends at Matterhackers, the Moai 200 from Peopoly. We are using this machine to make some super-detailed prints for a collaborative project with and Adam Savage to replicate the Apollo 11 Command Module hatch called Project Egress. This printer is very large, think minifridge sized. It isn't practical to sit it on a table and the top surface isn't large enough to be an adequate work surface. Our design will add a set of shelves beside the printer that will match its height and a tabletop that will span across the top of the two.

    I cut the pieces out of 1/2" plywood on the table saw and assembled the 3-shelf unit with glue and brad nails. The height was based on the size of the printer so it may not be the same in your instance. I also cut a door that will fit inside of the top cubby. This door will close off the light from the curing area we made in the next section. The table top was placed on top of the shelving unit and brad nailed from underneath. The whole unit was set in place overtop of the printer and it looked great!

    SLA printing works by curing liquid resin inside the printer. Once the print is complete it is covered with uncured resin and the part itself isn't yet fully cured. When the part is removed from the build plate, it needs to be rinsed with alcohol (we used denatured, but isopropyl works too) so that the extra liquid resin is removed. The build plate itself has to be cleaned of residual resin so that it is ready to use on the next print.

    Because of the size of this large printer, the cleaning process requires a lot of alcohol. We needed a bath of sorts to clean the build plate and a rinse jar to clean the part. I got 2 plastic storage bins the same width as the build plate (so I didn't have to use too much alcohol) and poked holes in one of them. The idea would be that I could lift the holed bin up out of the other and it would act as a colander leaving the solid pieces in the top and the alcohol in the bottom.

    For the part cleaning, Josh found a plastic storage bin that is made for keeping vegetables fresh. It has a clear plastic outer bin and a perforated basket on the inside with a lid. With this basket, we can dunk the part in the alcohol, lightly brush it with a soft-bristle brush, and easily remove it to dry. Both of these containers will be covered and set on top of the cabinet surface as part of the finishing station. We covered the top of the cabinet with come contact paper so that the resin and alcohol wouldn't reach the wooden surface, keeping it cleaner over time.

    Once the part is dry from its alcohol bath, it still isn't finished. The resin isn't fully cured yet and to complete that process it needs to be exposed to ultraviolet light for 20-30 minutes.  The top cubby in the shelving unit will act as a UV light box equipped with a small light-activated turntable. The turntable allows every side of the part to be hit with UV light to maximize even exposure.

    Josh order a strand of UV LEDs with an adhesive backing; the set came with a power adapter and an on/off switch. I cut a scrap piece of wood, covered it with aluminum ducting tape, and stuck the LED strip to it. I had to double the lights over creating a zig-zag path to cover the whole wooden sheet. To make the rest of the reflective walls inside the cubby, I used some left-over mirror tiles that were 12" x 12". To save weight, the door was covered in the same reflective aluminum tape and attached to the shelving unit with some face-mounted hinges. Now, when the light-activated turntable is placed inside and the lights are turned on, the part can rotate around and bask in the curing glow of 360 degree UV light.
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Comments • 263

  • The P.I. Workshop
    The P.I. Workshop  3 months back

    To see our 3d printed entry for Project Egress see it here

  • Carl Bloom
    Carl Bloom  2 weeks back

    What utility knife are you using Bob? Thanks. Love the channel and podcast.

    • KyleKatarn145
      KyleKatarn145  3 weeks back

      I'm not the most knowledgeable about resin curing but I think having the solar powered turntable in there, while an awesome idea, may not be doing your resin prints any good, unless you're willing to babysit them while they cure.

      Everyone's already said their piece on the use of mirrors and aluminium tape, but I think your prints would be better served if they were put on a metallic, reflective oven rack inside the curing station, one with holes along the bottom. As it stands, if you put the print in like Bob does, every angle except for the bottom would be cured easily (aside from overhanging bits), with a metal rack you'll allow the UV light to bounce and hit most of your print from the underside giving it a much more even cure.

      Still this is an awesome idea and I hope to be able to make one of these when I eventually get a printer of my own!

      • Crafty Sven
        Crafty Sven  3 weeks back

        Hey Bob, great build. In case of that bust, you can print it straight on the platform so it comes out upside down, and then have 1-2 supports for the overhangs (like the ears).. that's a lot less work with removing the supports. Saves time and material. The model orientation shown in the video looks like the default software settings.
        Also no need to wash the platform if it goes back to the resin.

        • Nicholas Josey
          Nicholas Josey  1 months back

          im just wondering if those leds have any conductive points points on the back or sides because aluminum conducts electricity and that could potentially short circuit

          • ThangMD
            ThangMD  1 months back

            I'm I the only one that is bother that the strips aren't straight?

            • joshua morin
              joshua morin  1 months back

              I love the idea.

              But am I the only one who uses screws when building? I rarely use glue/nails.....

              • Vloging Challengers
                Vloging Challengers  2 months back

                Like you projects a lot! But edge banding shouts ikea:(

                • Johannes Röring
                  Johannes Röring  2 months back

                  Cure-iosity stream bruh

                  • DDHard
                    DDHard  2 months back

                    7:32 the new Dr.Strange movie looks cool

                    • jasoncy31
                      jasoncy31  3 months back

                      Are you using IPA or denatured alcohol for the resin wash? My Form2 used IPA. Not sure about your printer.

                      • Average Floridian
                        Average Floridian  3 months back

                        Kinda bummed this isn't a Solid Live Axle project for your truck, but I'll eventually get into 3D printing so I'll watch anyway. ;)

                        • Nicole Hoskinson
                          Nicole Hoskinson  3 months back


                          • Nicole Hoskinson
                            Nicole Hoskinson  3 months back


                            • Antibody Entertainment
                              Antibody Entertainment  3 months back

                              Hey bob, you should try MR clean or simply green and a ultrasonic bath to clean your resin prints, and or print bed. I cant remember who did a video on it, but it seems pretty dang effective and no need to brush your parts (for that oh so gooood finish lol)

                              • Mickie
                                Mickie  3 months back

                                please never say “squirting out” ever again

                                • Icemanmodeler
                                  Icemanmodeler  3 months back

                                  Good job but u have to move the curing station every time u need to level the printer assuming it has the same system as a regular Moai.

                                  • KING SKOBE
                                    KING SKOBE  3 months back

                                    I’ve been watching you since I was I was 6 I’m now 11

                                    You were a big part in my childhood creativity wise so thank you for making me the person I am today

                                    • Jake Goldberg
                                      Jake Goldberg  3 months back

                                      Hey Bob, mirrors would not be good for this project, because glass is not transparent to UV wavelengths of light. Since mirrors are a reflective surface behind a pane of glass I don't think mirrors would reflect UV light well. The best option for this project might be to line the walls with aluminum foil.

                                      • Intan payung
                                        Intan payung  3 months back

                                        can you make a board games projects?

                                        • Kaleb Barbour
                                          Kaleb Barbour  3 months back

                                          So cool!

                                          • Tricknologyinc
                                            Tricknologyinc  3 months back

                                            Aluminum tape is expensive and looks even worse than aluminum foil wrap burnished flat, or you could have mounted channels to slide a mirror into!

                                            • Skyler Hotchkiss
                                              Skyler Hotchkiss  3 months back

                                              Bob, you should put a small timer on the door so you know its finished

                                              • Eco Mouse
                                                Eco Mouse  3 months back

                                                I'm pretty sure that mirrors like that actually have UV absorbing properties as part of the glass composition. The reflective portion of most mirrors is actually on the back of the glass. If you went to a glass company, you can specifically ask to have zero UV protection glass. In this particular case, I think I would just buy some pre-polished/mirror stainless steel.

                                                • WillieRants
                                                  WillieRants  3 months back

                                                  No link to the printer

                                                  • Slytherin Reviews
                                                    Slytherin Reviews  3 months back

                                                    I may need help with planning a new desk build

                                                    • Brent Oberholzer
                                                      Brent Oberholzer  3 months back

                                                      good job on watching where your fingers were when you were Brad nailing

                                                      • Alex Stewart
                                                        Alex Stewart  3 months back

                                                        dont wash the bed, just wipe it with ipa and that will make it clean enough

                                                        • BurnerProducts RocketStoves

                                                          Also there is an option to recess the hinges between the sides and the door. And even easier option, just align the hinge to the outer border of the sides an get those 1-2mm over on the door side. It does not need to be centered on the gap. Than on the other side of the door, take little off from the inside corner, to make sure it does not bind up on the side while opening. That is it. Keep up the good work.

                                                          • Ubbe Berg
                                                            Ubbe Berg  3 months back

                                                            A UV-box like that is perfect for curing screens for screen-printing . :)

                                                            • D2K Prime
                                                              D2K Prime  3 months back

                                                              You live a blessed-life Bob.

                                                              • ties pau
                                                                ties pau  3 months back

                                                                For a brief moment I forgot sla does not mean lettuce in English, and I was really confused what this build was supposed to be

                                                                • Scott
                                                                  Scott  3 months back

                                                                  Mirrored plexiglass would work even better as it is thinner and lighter.

                                                                  • Leonardo Apollaro Gama
                                                                    Leonardo Apollaro Gama  3 months back

                                                                    It is just me or I do really see an R2-D2 project spoiler at 2:32 on the background?

                                                                    • CJICantLie
                                                                      CJICantLie  3 months back

                                                                      One way mirror on the door would be awesome, so you can watch it while it cures.

                                                                      • CJICantLie
                                                                        CJICantLie  3 months back

                                                                        Safety Blankets would work pretty well as a substitute to the aluminum tape, as they cost almost nothing.

                                                                      • Richard Grenfell
                                                                        Richard Grenfell  3 months back

                                                                        Like the way you improvise solutions to solve problems.
                                                                        Best example of this is the pan shot towards the end of the video where you put your camera on the turntable.

                                                                        • TreflDzn
                                                                          TreflDzn  3 months back

                                                                          Little tip for you, when you apply a vinyl, like the paper on the top of the cabinet.
                                                                          When you cut off the excess, cut with a 45 degree angle, it makes sure that there will be no little lip on the edge that could lift when you accidentally bump it or something.

                                                                          • G Vandromme
                                                                            G Vandromme  3 months back

                                                                            Evan and Katelyn: we have developed a system of curing our prints...

                                                                            Bob: Hold my beer.

                                                                            • Kyle Cheramie
                                                                              Kyle Cheramie  3 months back

                                                                              Good Job Bob!

                                                                              • Bitchass 69
                                                                                Bitchass 69  3 months back

                                                                                Btw for the aluminium tape, if you use a plastic straight edge like a card and run it over the tape like a scraper, it will smooth out all the wrinkles and creases as well as blend the edges between tapes together which make it look nicer

                                                                                • Hansie Janse van Rensburg

                                                                                  Why would you switch from the normal 3d printer to this. This seems why more work.

                                                                                  • I Like To Make Stuff
                                                                                    I Like To Make Stuff   3 months back

                                                                                    We didn't switch, it is a different capability.

                                                                                  • I Like To Make Stuff
                                                                                    I Like To Make Stuff   3 months back

                                                                                    The print detail is MUCH higher. It's not switching completely, it's used for different things.

                                                                                • AislinDerdra2
                                                                                  AislinDerdra2  3 months back

                                                                                  I see a Maker Knife! I love mine. :)
                                                                                  Always great to see projects made from scrap materials. Thanks for another great video!

                                                                                  • Bakamoichigei
                                                                                    Bakamoichigei  3 months back

                                                                                    Quick tip about curing resin prints; the resin tends to have cure inhibitors that slow its curing in the open air. Prints will only _fully_ cure in an anaerobic environment, such as submerged in a glass of water. Otherwise the surface can remain slightly tacky or soft. (I'd say pick up some borosilicate lab beakers on Amazon.)

                                                                                    • kaspar Talviste
                                                                                      kaspar Talviste  3 months back

                                                                                      Hi! Try to make kuksa. I love your videos.

                                                                                      • paul beenis
                                                                                        paul beenis  3 months back

                                                                                        Yeah mirrors dont work that way bud

                                                                                        • Prince Mary
                                                                                          Prince Mary  3 months back

                                                                                          does the whole room smell like alcohol with that giant tub?

                                                                                        • ThePokemonCelebi
                                                                                          ThePokemonCelebi  3 months back

                                                                                          where are the cat inspectors? :(