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 • 246

  • The P.I. Workshop
    The P.I. Workshop  7 days back

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

    • Antibody Entertainment

      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  2 days back

        please never say “squirting out” ever again

        • Icemanmodeler
          Icemanmodeler  2 days 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 days 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 days 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 days back

                can you make a board games projects?

                • Kaleb Barbour
                  Kaleb Barbour  3 days back

                  So cool!

                  • Tricknologyinc
                    Tricknologyinc  3 days 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  4 days back

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

                      • Eco Mouse
                        Eco Mouse  4 days 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  4 days back

                          No link to the printer

                          • Slytherin Reviews
                            Slytherin Reviews  4 days back

                            I may need help with planning a new desk build

                            • Brent Oberholzer
                              Brent Oberholzer  4 days back

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

                              • Alex Stewart
                                Alex Stewart  4 days 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  4 days back

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

                                    • D2K Prime
                                      D2K Prime  4 days back

                                      You live a blessed-life Bob.

                                      • ties pau
                                        ties pau  4 days 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  4 days back

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

                                          • Leonardo Apollaro Gama

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

                                            • CJICantLie
                                              CJICantLie  4 days back

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

                                              • CJICantLie
                                                CJICantLie  4 days back

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

                                              • Richard Grenfell
                                                Richard Grenfell  4 days 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  4 days 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  4 days back

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

                                                    Bob: Hold my beer.

                                                    • Kyle Cheramie
                                                      Kyle Cheramie  4 days back

                                                      Good Job Bob!

                                                      • Bitchass 69
                                                        Bitchass 69  4 days 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   4 days back

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

                                                          • I Like To Make Stuff
                                                            I Like To Make Stuff   4 days back

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

                                                        • AislinDerdra2
                                                          AislinDerdra2  4 days 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  4 days 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  4 days back

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

                                                              • paul beenis
                                                                paul beenis  4 days back

                                                                Yeah mirrors dont work that way bud

                                                                • Prince Mary
                                                                  Prince Mary  5 days back

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

                                                                • ThePokemonCelebi
                                                                  ThePokemonCelebi  5 days back

                                                                  where are the cat inspectors? :(

                                                                  • Rishi G
                                                                    Rishi G  5 days back

                                                                    Please make a basket ball hoop!!!!!

                                                                    • IIGrayfoxII
                                                                      IIGrayfoxII  5 days back

                                                                      I would use an aluminium panel for the LEDs
                                                                      This will help dissipate the heat from the LEDs making them last longer.

                                                                      • Martijn de Bont
                                                                        Martijn de Bont  5 days back

                                                                        Update the door with plexiglass and use one way mirror foil to have the reflection on the inside and you still can see your model from the outside.
                                                                        Place the leds on the top of the cabinet on a curved bed so it is pointing to different angles and reflecting all around.

                                                                        • I Like To Make Stuff
                                                                          I Like To Make Stuff   4 days back

                                                                          This may be a viable option, but there is a balance between achieving a result and overcomplicating the build.

                                                                      • Dianna Cruz
                                                                        Dianna Cruz  5 days back

                                                                        I just realized you have inspired E&K on many tools and accessories.

                                                                        • Nivek
                                                                          Nivek  5 days back

                                                                          Look forward to bobs videos the most out of all of YouTube. Keep up the great work!

                                                                          • Shaun Kennedy
                                                                            Shaun Kennedy  5 days back

                                                                            Is a "black light" the same as the "uv" lights?

                                                                            • un.funny.robot
                                                                              un.funny.robot  5 days back

                                                                              This is called STL. Stereolithography...

                                                                              • Forby
                                                                                Forby  4 days back

                                                                                Kind of. This is stereolithography but the printers are referred to as SLA printers (Stereolithography Apparatus). I think STL is more commonly used for the file format used.

                                                                            • jkmsr
                                                                              jkmsr  5 days back

                                                                              11:41 : What the food sees when you open the microwave

                                                                              • David Plass
                                                                                David Plass  5 days back

                                                                                Sadly, glass-fronted mirrors don't reflect UV light, they absorb it.

                                                                                • Ryan T.
                                                                                  Ryan T.  5 days back

                                                                                  Hidden in this video is how to make a Kaleidoscope

                                                                                  • Mark Dowdy
                                                                                    Mark Dowdy  5 days back

                                                                                    Next week: How to make your own tanning bed

                                                                                    • Geeksmithing
                                                                                      Geeksmithing  5 days back

                                                                                      I really enjoyed the Enter the Dragon sequence!

                                                                                      • BIGCHEW
                                                                                        BIGCHEW  5 days back

                                                                                        I stoped watchn ure video(paused) & Went and sighnd up for that Curiositystream & I Think it is going To Be BETER Than NETFLIX..Im Watching one Caled FIRST MAN ! I Mean Dont Get Me Wrong I Belive Genesis & Not Darwin ! But This Is Still Very Good ..Food For Thought Ya Might Say !