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3D Printer Resin Toxicity - What is 3D Printer Resin made of? Is 3D Printer Resin Toxic?


What is 3D Printer Resin made of?

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. In essence, 3D printer resin is a liquid solution that's made of a variety of monomers and oligomers. Photopolymerisation ensures that the short carbon chains that make up monomers and oligomers cross-link and form polymers - a material that is composed of repeating units that make up large molecules. But what is photopolymerisation? And how does it work? The photopolymerisation process uses light energy to chemically destruct the terminal ends of monomers and oligomers, which in turn, enables them to react with one another and form the macrostructures that are known as polymers. These polymers end up being the hard plastic materials that form the basis of 3D printing. The technical term for this whole process is stereolithography, but it's also known as SLA as well as resin printing. The term "resin printing" originated from the fact that the chemical materials that undergo the aforementioned photochemical process are referred to as resins. 


The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Resin manufacturers are legally obliged to provide you with a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which outlines vital health and safety information and precautions that need to be taken for that particular resin. This is important so that you can adopt safety measures according to the resin at hand.

Resin 3D Printing Safety Basics

There are several basic resin 3D printing precautions that you and your employees can take to decrease resin's impact on your health and wellbeing. UV resistant glasses are the best protective glasses on the market. Since you'll be working with dangerous materials such as resin, wet resin prints, and isopropyl alcohol, protective glasses are a must to prevent eye-related accidents. Nitrile gloves are necessary as uncured resin can damage your skin. Closed shoes are also a good idea as splashing may occur. Thankfully, these precautions are only needed during the actual process, since once cured, you can touch the hardened resin with your bare hands. Furthermore, ensure that the space you're working in is well-ventilated with a dedicated air extraction system, so that the toxic fumes leave the room, minimising the risk of health problems related to these fumes later down the line. Ensure that you properly dispose of toxic resin. Never dispose of it in drains or other areas that may lead to sea pollution and may prove to be a danger to aquatic life. Resin is particularly harmful to aquatic ecosystems as its particles can attach to the nervous system of fish and other sea creatures, seriously affecting their neurological system and eventually killing them. That being said, avoid any unnecessary wastage and use every piece of resin to the last drop.

Storing UV Curable Resins

When storing UV curable resins, make sure that you're using the appropriate storing facilities. Resin-proof containers should be sealed tightly and stored in a dark and dry area. Room temperature is also another important factor - so, make sure that the storage facility's temperature is within the temperature range recommended by the manufacturer. Moreover, avoid making the rookie mistake of filling the resin containers to the very top - this would result in the resin gelling, meaning that you would have to throw it away before even attempting to use it. You can easily prevent this by allowing some headspace. Most importantly, you should never store resin in a refrigerator alongside human (or pet) food - always stored uncured resin in a separate, dedicated area, away from any consumables.

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