Resin 3D printers can make some of the most detailed 3D models you’ve probably ever seen. However, with the extra detail comes some extra work.
Unlike traditional FDM 3D printers (e.g. Ender 3), once the print is finished, it needs to be post-processed.
The two processes required for making high-quality resin prints are known as washing and curing. Both processes are fairly simple to perform, but only if you have the right equipment.
A wash and cure station is a special piece of equipment that will help you remove excess resin from your prints and make the model stronger. Wash and cure machines aren’t too expensive, usually costing under $100, and will significantly affect the quality of your resin prints.
Want to find a wash and cure machine for your resin printer? Read on!
Table of Contents
- Best Wash and Cure Stations At A Glance
- Wash and Cure Stations:
- Washing Stations:
- Curing Stations:
- Why Do You Need to Wash and Cure Resin?
- How Long Does it Take to Cure Your 3D Print?
Best Wash and Cure Stations At A Glance
Wash and Cure Stations:
In this first section, we’ll be going over the best wash and cure stations. These products double as both a wash station and a curing machine!
Anycubic is one of the largest names in the consumer 3D printing industry, and they’ve released some amazing resin printers over the past few years, like the Photon Mono X and Photon 4K. Adding to their current 3D printing ecosystem, the company released the Anycubic Wash and Cure Station to help users post-process their resin prints.
To make the product more accessible, the original station was quickly followed by the Wash and Cure 2.0, which costs a good bit less and still provides basically all of the same features. For this review, we’ll go over the 2.0 version as the original was discontinued.
While some wash and cure stations are just two separate containers, the Anycubic Wash and Cure 2.0 handles both processes on the same base structure. The only thing you need to do is swap the top cover and change the spinning part at the bottom.
On this note, the base structure of the Wash and Cure 2.0 has a motor that splashes the water/solvent around during the washing process and also spins your part for the curing stage. This yields both a better wash and a better cure of your print because every part of your model will be properly post-processed.
It’s also worth mentioning that the wash station lid has a basket for you to place your print. Not all wash stations offer this feature, but it’s necessary if you want the best wash possible because you never want to touch the soft part with your skin.
As for using the Wash and Cure 2.0, there’s a mini LED screen on the base structure of the machine that tells you how much time is left on your timer. And you can adjust the mode (wash or cure) and the timer using the button and spinner right next to the screen.
Overall, I’d say the Wash and Cure 2.0 is my personal favorite post-processing station for small resin prints. The only possible downside of the station I can think of is that the UV lights are only on one side and none are present beneath the print.
Elegoo is another popular manufacturer of consumer-grade resin printers, like the Elegoo Mars 2, 2 Pro, 3, and more. As Mars is for resin printing, Mercury is Elegoo’s planet for their wash and cure station. The Elegoo Mercury Plus V2 is a washing and curing station that will make your post-processing journey for resin prints a breeze.
Just like the Anycubic Wash and Cure 2.0, the station consists of a base structure with interchangeable covers. The base has some rubber feet, which don’t look like much, but ensure that the washing process isn’t too loud. Also on the base structure is a small LED screen with a few buttons for changing the mode and setting the timer for the wash/cure processes.
The lid part for the washing comes with a basket so you don’t have to directly touch your uncured resin prints. Also, like the last product we reviewed, there’s a spinner attachment that connects to the motor on the base structure and moves the washing liquid around. This provides a better wash for your prints because the liquid will get all around your print.
The curing lid is tinted yellow and is resistant to UV light to protect your eyes if you look at the device. Don’t underestimate the sensitivity of your eyes!
For the curing process, you have to switch out the washing motor attachment to the spinning curing attachment. This will spin your model around slowly as it’s exposed to the precise UV light from the machine. Sadly, though, there aren’t any UV lights beneath the spinner so the underbelly of your model will likely not be properly cured.
Still, this machine is super easy to use and a great choice for anyone looking to post-process resin miniatures or small-size models.
Note: read our review of the best 3D printers for miniatures here.
Lastly in this section is the Creality 3D UW-01. If you’re into 3D printing, you’ve probably heard of Creality, the king of consumer 3D printers. While they don’t have too many resin printers, for the few they do have, they made the 3D UW-01 to help users post-process their resin prints.
The Creality 3D UW-01 works basically the same as the last two wash and cure machines, with a swappable cover and motor attachment for washing and curing.
However, the UW-01 is a good bit bigger than the Anycubic Wash and Cure 2.0 and Elegoo Mercury Plus V2. Specifically, you have up to 7.42 x 6 x 7.8 inches of usable space inside. As such, you’ll be able to wash and UV cure larger prints or more smaller prints at once.
For some reason, though, Creality made the user interface a bit overcomplicated. There are a good bit of indicator lights to show you if the machine is in washing or curing mode, as well as if the timer is set to fast, medium, or slow. There’s also an LED screen to show the time, though.
Regardless of the seemingly over complex buttons and lights on the machine, it’s a great option for any user who is printing a lot of resin models and wants to wash and cure many at once.
In this section, we’ll be going over the best washing stations. These machines are only for washing prints but usually do a better job than a resin wash and cure station combo would do.
Sovol isn’t as well known as Anycubic, Creality, or Elegoo, but they still make one heck of a good washing station. The Sovol 3D SL2 is a machine only meant for washing prints and it’s got every wash feature you’d ever need.
First off, the device works with a base structure and a permanently-attached plastic washing cover. Inside the cover is a removable basket that lets you put the prints inside and move them without getting your fingers on them, which can hurt the quality of the model.
There’s also a watertight seal on the top of the plastic washing cover which ensures no water/solvent gets out during the washing process.
In the middle of the base piece is a motor with a fin attachment. This attachment spins inside of the washing container, moving the water or solvent around the model. Now it’s not like a jet engine, but the motor moves the washing liquid enough to cover the entire surface of your model.
The user interface on the SL2 is super easy to use and there are only 3 buttons: 1 for power, 1 for changing the timer (quick, medium, and fast modes), and a start button.
On another note, the base of the SL2 has rubber feet. This keeps the noise of the moving motor down so it won’t distract you from whatever you’re doing nearby.
Overall, if I had to pick one machine for just washing parts, it would, without a doubt, be the Sovol 3D SL2. I actually love having my wash and cure machine separate as it makes the resin post-processing operation a lot quicker, so definitely consider this one!
Unlike the other manufacturers on this list, DYNVIM isn’t in the 3D printing industry at all and is actually focused on cleaning for electronics and jewelry (read our review of the best jewelry 3D printers here). Regardless, their Ultrasonic Cleaner makes for a great wash station for all your resin prints as the underlying technology is the same.
The DYNVIM Ultrasonic Cleaner is relatively large for a resin 3D print wash station, so you’ll be able to fit many large models (or like 20 small ones) easily into the tank. The tank also has a vibrating motor that will intensely move the inserted water or solvent around to get the most effective wash.
Of course, there are a few control tools, including two knobs/buttons for setting the timer and controlling the heater inside the machine. You don’t need the second feature, but it’s always better to use warm water/solvent liquid than cold.
Unfortunately, the price of the DYNVIM Ultrasonic Cleaner is a lot higher than your typical wash station cost. But, if you’re really invested in the idea of getting the highest-quality models or you want to post-process very large resin prints, I’d say go for it!
In our last section, we’ll go over two machines that are just for curing resin prints. They don’t have wash stations and they usually cure parts better than the two-in-one stations. Enjoy!
The Elegoo Mercury Plus is a wash and cure station, but the regular Elegoo Mercury is just a curing machine. The first thing you’ll notice about the Mercury is its sleek design, which looks very similar to how I’d imagine top-secret chemicals are stored in Area 51.
But the Mercury is more than just a show!
Minus the one tinted window that lets you watch your model cure, almost the entire inside of the casing is reflective. This means all of the UV light cast from the light strip on the side is bounced around the container to hit every part of your to-be-cured model.
And, on the note about the UV lights, Elegoo uses 405 nm UV lights, the standard for curing prints. These lights do a super effective job of curing an entire model in 5 minutes or less. And, though there’s only one strip of UV lights in the Mercury, there’s a spinner inside that rotates the model so that the entire surface is equally cured.
Using the mercury is a breeze, and there are only three buttons: a + timer, a – timer, and an On/Off button. There’s even a handle on the top that lets you easily move the connectable 2-piece curing station around.
So, if you have got the washing part of your post-processing method done already and need a reliable place to cure the models, look no further than the Elegoo Mercury. On top of looking super sexy, the device does a really good job of curing models, not just super well but also super fast!
Most curing stations, like the last one, work with one UV light strip and a spinner to expose the whole surface of the model to the light. However, the Jayo Curing Box takes a slightly different approach, using one UV light strip and a translucent filter that surrounds the print.
With this technique, the UV rays still mainly cure the model where the light strip is, but it also makes the light shine through the filter in other areas. This way, the light isn’t shining 100% from one spot and 0% from every other point, effectively giving you a more even curing process for your model.
But that’s not the only cool part about the Jayo curing box. It also has an end stop that detects when the hinged door is shut on the box so the UV light only turns on when your eyes are safe and away. Additionally, there’s a spinner to rotate the model to achieve an even more consistent cure along the surface of your model.
While the Jayo Curing Box certainly isn’t the most popular of options, it’s super effective for getting your models to look evenly cured. As such, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants the highest-quality miniatures as an even curing process is key to making these types of models look good.
Why Do You Need to Wash and Cure Resin?
A washing and curing machine (resin curing station) does two things very well:
1) Wash excess liquid off the model, and
2) Cure or harden the model
We go over more in detail why these two post-processing techniques are necessary.
A resin printer works by solidifying liquid resin from a tank to form the desired model. However, as you might expect, there’s usually a lot of extra liquid resin at the end of the print. And when you remove your print from the build plate, your print is sure to be covered in the excess liquid.
Washing your print removes this liquid. This is necessary because any excess liquid resin that’s still on your print for the curing process, which comes next, will be permanently stuck on the model. So you really need to get that coating of unwanted excess liquid resin off your print.
A wash machine (no, not the laundry one) does this by soaking your model in either water or a solvent, like acetone, depending on what type of resin you used (some are water washable). These substances are great for separating liquid resin from the surfaces of your solid print.
Once you’ve washed your 3D print, you also need to cure the model. Curing is a post-processing technique that involves using Ultraviolet (UV) light to further solidify the printed resin of your model.
Moreover, even though your resin printer already solidified the resin during the printing process, it isn’t solid enough right off the print bed. A curing machine spins your model around while it’s exposed to UV light, which really hardens the soft resin material.
How Long Does it Take to Cure Your 3D Print?
While curing your washed resin 3D print to UV light is necessary for a good print, too much exposure to the UV light can actually make your model brittle and fragile. The proper amount of curing time depends on the size of your model, but most models fall somewhere in the 1-5 minute range.
For miniatures, I like to use 2 minutes, but for larger models, I go all the way to 5 minutes.
So, if you’ve just got a resin 3D printer, don’t forget to pick up a wash and cure station too. I promise they make your life a million times easier and they’re not too much on the wallet.
If you want the best bang for your buck, definitely go with a dual-function wash and cure station, such as the Anycubic Wash and Cure 2.0 or Elegoo Mercury Plus V2. Both machines have interchangeable lids so they won’t take up almost any space. And they’re easy to use, with pretty effective washing and curing procedures.
But if you’re mass-printing resin models, then you probably want to get a separate washing station and curing station to save some time and efficiency. For washing, I love my Sovol 3D SL2 because of how easy to use it is and also the decently-fast motor to push the acetone (or water) around. And, for curing, you can’t go wrong with the Elegoo Mercury, as it performs even better than it looks.