The time taken for a resin 3D print to cure does depend on a few factors. Those factors include the size of your 3D model, your choice of resin, your curing method, and even the colour of the resin.
Generally, a 3D resin print will take 1-5 minutes to cure, if being cured under a UV lamp. If your 3D print is a miniature, it will be around 1 minute to cure. But if it is a little larger and more averagely sized, it can be around 3-5 minutes to fully cure.
Average curing times for a 3D resin print
Below are a few guidelines for a couple of different model sizes, using a variety of curing methods. These are only guidelines and will be different depending on the type of resin used and the exact strength of your UV light.
Curing time for a Standard 26mm miniature – 2 minutes
Curing time for a larger 100mm print – 7-11 minutes
Anycubic Wash & Cure
Curing time for a Standard 26mm miniature – 3 minutes
Curing time for a larger 100mm print – 8-12 minutes
UV Nail lamp
Curing time for a Standard 26mm miniature – 2 minutes per side
Curing time for a larger 100mm print – 6-8 minutes per side
Curing time for a Standard 26mm miniature – 2-3 hours
Curing time for a larger 100mm print – Up to 10 hours
How to know when a 3D resin print is completely cured
Knowing when your 3D resin print is completely cured is a good skill to learn. Although hard, you can actually in fact over-cure a resin print, which will cause brittleness. If you use a UV curing machine or strong UV light for too long, your model’s surface can become brittle, and cause the surface to look a little rough.
Generally, when the surface starts to look silky or matte is when your model is perfectly cured. If your model looks glossy or wet, it isn’t fully cured. And if you over cure it, the model will start to look patchy and brittle.
The visual appearance is dependent on the type of resin you are using, so you’re ability to spot a cured model can vary depending on the material. But you can almost always use the general rule of thumb that your model should look almost perfectly matte when cured.
How to cure a resin 3D print
Resin cures when exposed to UV light, however there are multiple ways of exposing your 3D prints to UV light. If you want to cure your model in the quickest time possible, you should opt for a professional curing machine, or curing chamber.
If you don’t fancy spending too much on a purpose-built machine, you could opt for a UV nail lamp, or even use natural sunlight. The options are plentiful.
Professional curing machine
Using a professional curing machine similar to the Elegoo Mercury is one of the most efficient ways of curing a resin 3D print. These machines tend to enclose your print in a container, which is then subjected to an even UV light at around 405nm.
This allows your model to cure evenly all the way around at the same time. This will give you the most even surface possibly, reducing the risk of over curing certain spots of your model.
UV nail lamp
A UV nail lamp is one of the most popular methods of curing a resin print. And it’s the method which I used for years, before investing in a curing machine!
These UV nail lamps are relatively cheap to purchase, especially when compared to a made-for-purpose curing machine. They offer a budget-friendly, yet powerful UV light, which can easily cure resin models.
The main downside of using a UV nail lamp is that it can be hard to get an even cure all-around your model. You will have to manually turn your model around, and lay it down to cure each side. This can be somewhat fixed by creating a very simple DIY curing area.
You can do this by surrounding your nail lamp with a cardboard box, and using a reflective material such as aluminium foil to create a reflective enclosed box. This will allow your UV lamp to reflect around your print much more evenly.
If you don’t fancy purchasing any curing device, you can always utilize the natural sunlight! As any skincare expert will tell you, the sun contains natural UV light, which is the main cause of skin damage. However, one positive of the sun’s UV light, is that this UV light is strong enough to cure your 3D prints!
The sun’s UV light might be strong, but it’s nowhere near as strong as a UV lamp. This means that while sunlight will cure your resin prints. It will take much longer to do so!
Using a UV lamp can cure your models in 2-5 minutes, whereas strong sunlight will take a good few hours. When using sunlight to cure your 3D resin print, you should look to submerge it in water, and leave it out for a good number of hours.
This method of curing isn’t recommended, as your UV light source should be as consistent as possible. As clouds pass, the UV light levels change, meaning you can get a very uneven cure across your model using sunlight.
Once you have successfully cured your 3D print, you can move on to prepping and painting your model. Read our complete guide on how to smooth your 3D print so that it is ready for painting.