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What else do I need to get started?

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What else do I need
In the first two parts of our beginners guide to printing miniatures we covered the basics of Resin Printing and introduced our recommendations for your first resin printer. Now that you have got a printer in mind there are some other items that you will need and we will guide you through what we consider to be a bare bones minimal approach, a nice to have and an all in to suit all budgets. With almost all printers you will get a basic box of accessories that vary in content and won’t be too dissimilar to what is shown. Setting aside the physical printer items accessories you can expect to find are:

Typical Accessories included

  • Metal Scraper
  • Plastic Scraper
  • USB Disk
  • Filter Funnels 
  • Small Measuring Cup
  • Pliers
  • Face Masks
  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Allen Keys 
Contents

As you can see, one of the glaring omissions is Resin, very few of the manufacturers will include an initial supply of Resin and we have a specific article outlining the Best Resin for Miniatures so won’t cover that here. 

Before we start, be aware that some of the stuff you do get in the box we are going to tell you to throw away or at the very least find another use for, far away from your new printer. Finally in our budget totals we are excluding the cost of the printer so be sure to factor in the cost of your selected machines into the all up start up cost.

Bare Bones $75.00

In our introduction article at the start of this series we discussed work flow and in particular post print processing. Therefore many of the following items are all related to removing, cleaning and curing your freshly printed miniature. 

Firstly, lets throw away some of the stuff you got in the box with your printer. First to go in the bin is the crude Metal Scraper that has been provided with the intention of getting your print off the build plate. As you will learn soon layer adhesion to the build plate is very important to the printing process and as such when you need to get that print off it can be a bit tricky.

Well it doesn’t need to be and the problem with the scrapers provided is that they tend to cause damage to your build plate, as well as disturbing the level of the plate, injury to you and damage to your fresh print. these are all things can can be easily avoided for less than $10.

Palette Knife

Next to go in the trash can is the supplied USB Stick. These are garbage and are prone to causing repeated print errors and failed prints. Take my word for it, throw it in the bin and replace with a Sandisk 16Gb USB 2 formatted using FAT32. Do not be tempted to buy a larger capacity drive and DO NOT format using NTFS. These can usually be found on Amazon for around $5.

USB Drive

Now for some essentials, pick up the following items either from Amazon or your local store.

White Grease

White Lithium Grease

One of the first things you will do once you have unpacked your printer is to clean the lead screw and apply a small amount of this.  You will thank me for this later.

IPA

ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL 99%

You will go through a lot of this stuff so as a starter try to source at least 1L if not 5L from a local hardware store. Covid 19 saw this shoot up in price but thankfully it has come back down again.

Pickle Strainer

PICKLE STRAINER

These are a handy basic wash tub for your printed models. Get two, the first as prewash and the second for more of a soak, your IPA will go further this way. 

MicroFibre

Micro Fibre Cloths

Get plenty of these. Easily available in any Dollar Shop. You will go through a lot of these when cleaning your VAT as paper towels tend to scratch the FEP surface. 

Foil Tray

Foil Trays

Get into the habit from the very start of being well laid out and organised. These foil trays are great for setting your printer on to catch any little drips and are great for setting your build into as you go about removing the print.

Latex Free Nitrile Gloves

We mentioned in our very first article in this series that the resin is something that you do not want to come into contact with your skin. Get into the habit of changing them when they come in contact with resin as you want to avoid cross contaminating the rest of your equipment.

Recommended - $215 (incl all of the above)

As described the bare bones approach is just that and setting aside the Resin there is one other omission, a Resin Curing facility. Once your print has been cleaned one final step is  required and that is to cure the resin itself. The most basic way to do this is to set it in direct sunlight for a period of time. It is very hard to give a time as it is dependent on the amount of direct light you can expose it to and of course your weather conditions on any given day.

So while it can be done you will be pleased to hear there is a better way. Until early last year, one solution was to create a curing box and many examples can be seen of lashed up foil covered boxes housing a UV light source.  While these could be put together for maybe $30-$40 bucks, thankfully the manufacturers stepped up to the plate and brought us All in One Washing and Curing machines.

Quite frankly these have been a godsend and I cannot recommend enough that you should include one of these from the very outset as it simplifies the entire post print process. Literally 12 mins after removing your print from the build plate you can have a washed a cured miniature ready to paint.

Here are three examples of great All in One machines ranging from $129 to $150.

Creality

UW01

UW-01 Wash & Cure

Elegoo

Mercury-250

Mercury Plus

AnyCubic

Wash & Cure 2.0

HIGHLY Recommended

So before we wrap up this shopping list there is one other item that we would strongly recommend and that is a screen protector. Its just a fact of printing that leaks can and will happen. With the introduction of the faster Mono Screens there is an even more pressing need to protect your investment.  The manufacturers put polarizer film on top of the LCD glass and there’s no protection against a resin spill. Should you therefore get a leak during a print the results can be quite disastrous with the resin hardening on your screen which can be very difficult to recover from without requiring a new screen. In addition, the polarizer film can be scratched very easily.

Damaged Screen

Cured resin after a leak onto the screen

But once again we have good news, Mach5ive on seeing this issue facing all Mono Screen printer owners quickly developed this excellent Screen Protector kit that not only protects your screen from a leak, it also will prevent any spilt resin from getting in under the screen and will prevent damage from scratches and scores. 

Saturn Screen Protector

Mach5ive Screen Protector

Summary

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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UW01

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Mercury-250

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