VIDEO: Automating Post-Processing for Stereolithography 3D Printing

Formlabs offers automatic Form Wash and Form Cure post-processing stations for turnkey solution.

Stereolithography, using photopolymerization to print parts, is a popular technique in the world of 3D printing, but the production process doesn’t end there. Up till now, post-processing using this method has been a predominantly manual effort, but today, this process is finally being automated.

In the video above, we look at how Formlabs has developed a new suite of technology with the automatic Form Wash and Form Cure stations. These automation stations take away the worry of over or under processing.

“If you underwash the part, you might not remove all the liquid resin that remains on the part’s surface, leaving it feeling tacky,” said Clark Anthony, head of field marketing at Formlabs. “If you overwash the part, and let it sit in the isopropyl alcohol (IPA) too long, the part will absorb it, which will compromise the integrity of the part.”

Users can request the appropriate heat and time cycles for Formlabs materials to simplify the user experience with the Form Cure station.

“Our resins have different cure profiles and our materials team has done a lot of validation testing, and continues to do so to ensure we’re providing the optimal time and temperature for each part,” Anthony explained. “We will provide you the right temperature and time to get the best mechanical properties for your part, to take a lot of the guesswork out of it.”

The Form Cure station can be adjusted to operate between 35-80° C (95-176° F). The station has a backlight and turntable to rotate the part during curing for proper exposure.

“These stations have a very easy-to-use interface,” Anthony added. “People have jobs to do and need to use 3D printing as a tool. To do this, they need a turnkey solution and that is what we’re offering.”

For more information about the Form Wash and Form Cure stations, watch the video above and visit the Formlabs website.

Written by

James Anderton

Jim Anderton is the Director of Content for Mr. Anderton was formerly editor of Canadian Metalworking Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of print and on-line publications, including Design Engineering, Canadian Plastics, Service Station and Garage Management, Autovision, and the National Post. He also brings prior industry experience in quality and part design for a Tier One automotive supplier.