SLA 3D printing with resin typically means rinsing parts with IPA (isopropyl alcohol). That process results in cloudy, used IPA containing a high concentration of dissolved resin. The dual goals of cleaning and reusing IPA are important ones, and we have to say, [Jan Mrázek]’s unusual experiment involving a UV source and slowly-rotating paper tube to extract and cure dissolved resin might look odd, but the results are definitely intriguing.
The best way to dispose of liquid resin is to cure it into a solid, therefore making it safe to throw away. But what about resin that has been dissolved into a cleaning liquid like IPA? [Jan] felt that there was surely a way to extract the dissolved resin somehow, which would also leave the IPA clean for re-use. His solution? The device shown here, which uses a cardboard tube to pull dissolved resin from an IPA bath and a UV source to cure it onto the tube.
Here’s how it works: the tube’s bottom third sits in dirty IPA, and UV LEDs shine on the top of the tube. The IPA is agitated with a magnetic stirrer for best results. A motor slowly rotates the cardboard tube; dissolved resin gets on the tube at the bottom, UV cures it at the top, and the whole thing repeats. Thin layers of cured resin slowly build up, and after long enough, the roll of cured resin can be thrown away and the IPA should be clean enough for reuse.
So far it’s a pretty successful test of a concept, but [Jan] points out that there are still some rough edges. Results depend on turning the tube at a good rate; turning it too quickly results in IPA trapped with the cured residue. On the plus side, the UV source doesn’t need to be particularly powerful. [Jan] says that Ideally this would be a device one could run in a sealed container, cleaning it over one or two days.
Resin printing is great, but it’s a messy process, so anything that makes it less wasteful is worth checking out. Got any ideas for improving or building on this concept? If so, don’t keep ’em to yourself! Let us know in the comments.