Tired of washing your resin 3D prints with isopropyl alcohol or acetone? Try water washable resin!
Water washable resin, or “WW resin” for short, is a type of 3D printing resin that contains a water-soluble ingredient that enables you to wash prints made in the material with water. This not only saves you time and money, but it also allows you to avoid the intense smell of solvents like IPA and acetone.
If you’re interested in getting water washable resin, I strongly recommend Elegoo’s option. Elegoo Water Washable resin is affordable, prints terrifically, and comes in many colors.
And, if you’re looking to maximize the quality of your prints while still making the washing process easy, take a look at Phrozen’s water washable resin. It can handle tons of detail on 3D prints and it’s also decently strong!
Keep reading for more of the best water washable resin products and info!
Table of Contents
- Best Water Washable Resins At A Glance
- Best Water Washable 3D Printing Resins
- What is Water Washable Resin?
- How to 3D Print With Water Washable Resins?
- How Long Does Water Washable Resin Take to Dry?
- How to Dispose Water Washable Resin?
- Do You Need IPA for Water Washable Resin?
- Is Water Washable Resin More Brittle?
- Is Water Washable Resin Safer?
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Water Washable Resin
- Water Washable Resin VS Normal Resin
Best Water Washable Resins At A Glance
Best Water Washable 3D Printing Resins
Below, I’ve reviewed the best water washable resin products on the market. The products come from a few different reputable brands, and I’ve personally made sure each is worthy of being included on this list. Enjoy!
First up, Elegoo is one of the leading manufacturers of consumer-grade resin 3D printing products. They’ve got tens of different resin 3D printers under the belt, as well as many compatible resins, including a water washable resin.
Elegoo Water Washable resin is perhaps the best WW resin on the market, and it’s my personal favorite when I want a low-effort cleaning process. On top of its easy washability, this resin prints super well. According to Elegoo, this resin is suited for 4K and 8K 3D printers, meaning it can handle super-detailed print jobs, like miniatures.
Elegoo WW resin also comes in a handful of different colors, including beige, black, clear blue, clear green, and more. And every color looks fantastic when printed!
Unfortunately, the mechanical properties of Elegoo Water Washable resin are slightly worse than those of Elegoo’s standard resin, but this is expected. And, unless you’re trying to print functional parts, like a phone case, in this resin, I doubt you’ll notice the difference.
So, if you’re looking for an overall high-quality water washable resin, I can’t think of a better option than Elegoo Water Washable resin.
Second, Sunlu is a popular manufacturer of 3D printer filament, but they also make a couple of resin products too. Sunlu’s water washable resin is one of my favorite products from the company as it’s super affordable and yields decent prints.
Sunlu WW resin costs under $25 per 1-kg bottle, which is easily one of the lowest price tags on the market and definitely on this list. But, despite its low price, Sunlu Water Washable resin performs just as well as any other option on the market, if not better!
Moreover, this resin can handle 2K, 4K, and even 8K print quality, as stated by the manufacturer. And, judging from the review images, Sunlu isn’t lying because the prints look fantastic with high-resolution detail. Just take a look at this Baby Yoda print, made with Sunlu WW resin!
This resin also comes in a variety of different colors, including grey, clear, clear blue, clear green, black, white, clear red, orange, and more!
So, if you’re looking for a resin that will bring you the most bang for your buck, Sunlu Water Washable resin is definitely the one for you!
Next, Phrozen is yet another large manufacturer of resin 3D printers and supplies, and they are actually one of the leading companies behind 8K-quality printing. As such, it makes sense that they also make one of the highest-quality water washable resins on the market.
The most notable aspect of Phrozen water washable resin is its print quality. I can’t even exaggerate when I say that prints made in this material come out with incredible detail and precision.
Plus, this resin is also very tough, with a Shore Hardness rating of 80D, which is equivalent to the rigidity of an aluminum computer case. Compared to other water washable resins on the market, this is very strong, making Phrozen’s WW resin a great option for any prints that might require some strength.
Sadly, Phrozen’s resin only comes in two colors: gray and black. But, don’t worry, because painting resin 3D prints is super easy, especially when they come out as smooth as they do when you use Phrozen’s Water Washable resin!
Anycubic is one of the largest manufacturers of both FDM and resin 3D printers in the world, and the company’s WW resin is very high-quality.
Anycubic WW resin, just like Elegoo’s option, can handle up to 8K print quality. As such, it’s a natural winner when it comes to printing high-detail models, such as miniatures.
The resin is also decently easy to print, and, in my testing of the material, Anycubic’s provided slicer settings worked perfectly. I didn’t even have to adjust the exposure time one second!
Anycubic Water Washable resin also comes in a handful of different colors, including aqua blue, grey, white, black, and even clear! Plus, this resin is very affordable, costing under $30 for a 1-kg bottle.
So, if you want a low-cost, high-quality 3D printing resin that can be washed in water, Anycubic’s Water Washable resin is a great choice!
Lastly, eSun is a company that mainly specializes in FDM 3D printing supplies, but they also make some terrific resin printing products, such as their water washable resin. eSun Water Washable resin is one of my favorite options when I’m printing a part that requires strength.
While most water washable resins are very weak, eSun’s Water Wasable resin boasts a Shore Hardness rating of 76D, meaning parts printed with this material should be about as rigid as a construction hard hat. Additionally, according to the manufacturer, eSun’s resin has a tensile strength of 68 MPa, which is much higher than the average for normal resin. As such, this resin is perfect for printing functional parts, like a door hinge, car part, or anything else that requires a decent level of strength.
On top of its mechanical properties, eSun Water Washable resin also handles detail on prints well. Unfortunately, though, this resin only comes in three colors, including beige, grey, and white, and each bottle costs a bit more than the others on this list.
But, if you’re looking for a resin that will make the washing process a breeze while not hurting the mechanical properties of your prints, then eSun Water Washable resin is for you!
What is Water Washable Resin?
Water washable resin is a type of 3D printing resin that contains an ingredient that’s water-soluble. As such, you can wash 3D prints made in this type of resin with water instead of a foul-smelling chemical like isopropyl alcohol or acetone, which is required for parts printed in regular resin.
Besides its easier washing process, water washable resin performs practically the same as regular 3D printing resin. Because of this, you shouldn’t have to make too many adjustments to your 3D slicer settings to achieve high-quality prints in this type of resin. We’ll go over some setting suggestions later, though!
On a different note, WW resin typically costs $5-10 more, per 1-kg bottle, than regular 3D printing resin. This is likely because this type of resin requires a special ingredient, which gives the material its water-washability property.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that, today, there are tons of WW resin options, and each differs slightly in its mechanical properties, lie tensile strength, impact resistance, and flexibility. As such, even if two resins are both water washable, it’s still worth checking the reviews and listed product features to find which one is best.
How to 3D Print With Water Washable Resins?
As I mentioned, water washable resin prints very similar to regular 3D printing resin, and no additional hardware for your printer is required. However, because WW resin contains some different ingredients than regular 3D printing resin, you’ll have to adjust a few slicer settings to achieve the best print results with WW resin.
The first setting you should adjust is the exposure time. Exposure time is a slicer setting for resin printers that control how long each layer of a print is exposed to UV light so the resin can properly solidify. Water washable resin, because of the water-soluble chemical mixed in, requires longer exposure times than normal resin.
While there isn’t one exposure time that works for all water washable resins, 10 to 15 seconds should work for most water washable resins. For reference, the typical exposure time for regular resin is 6-10 seconds.
On a related note, you should also increase the bottom exposure time (exposure time for the first layer). Instead of 60 seconds, which is common for regular 3D printing resins, I recommend setting the bottom exposure time to 70-75 seconds when using WW resin.
These are the two main settings that you should change when using WW resin, but you can also change other settings for further tuning.
I strongly suggest checking with the manufacturer of your resin bottle for their full list of recommended slicer settings as they know the material best. You can typically find the recommendations on the label of the resin bottle or on the online product page.
How Long Does Water Washable Resin Take to Dry?
Parts printed in water washable resin should only take a few minutes to dry after the washing process. Personally, I like to leave the part for 10-20 minutes on top of a rag so all of the water can get out of the model before the curing process.
And, on this note, water washable prints should take about the same time to cure under UV light as regular resin 3D prints. For most prints, 2-5 minutes does the trick perfectly!
How to Dispose Water Washable Resin?
While water washable resin might sound more eco-friendly, it’s just as toxic as regular 3D printing resin. As such, you should take the same precautions when handling and disposing of water washable resins.
Sadly, you can’t simply dispose of WW resin by pouring it down your sink. In fact, you can’t actually dispose of the resin at all when it’s in a liquid form because that’s when it’s most toxic. Moreover, pouring resin down a drain can not only cause damage to your pipes but can also hurt the environment because the toxic resin will run throughout the water or sewer system.
Instead, to dispose of leftover WW resin, you have to first solidify it and then throw it out. To do this, simply pour all of the resin into a bottle (if it’s not already in one), remove the cap, and place the bottle outside when it’s sunny. The sun’s UV rays will eventually cure and solidify all of the liquid resin in the bottle, and, from there, you can throw it in the trash.
Do You Need IPA for Water Washable Resin?
No! That’s the whole point!
Parts printed in water washable resin don’t require a special solvent chemical, like isopropyl alcohol or acetone, for the washing process. While you might be able to use IPA to wash parts made in water washable resin, you shouldn’t. Not only is it more expensive than using water (free), it also might cause a chemical reaction that degrades the quality of your print.
You’ll only need IPA (or acetone) if you’re washing parts printed in traditional resin because IPA is one of the few solvent chemicals for normal resin.
Is Water Washable Resin More Brittle?
Unfortunately, yes. Parts printed in WW resin are typically weaker and more brittle than parts made with normal resin (or other printing materials). This stems from the inferior mechanical properties, mainly tensile strength, of the ingredients used in WW resin compared to those in normal resin.
But, for clarification, the difference in brittleness between the two types of resin is pretty small. And, compared to FDM 3D printing materials like ABS and PETG, both resin materials are relatively weak and are better suited for printing decorative and display models, like miniatures, than functional parts.
Is Water Washable Resin Safer?
No! Water washable resin is basically just as toxic and dangerous as regular 3D printing resin, as I mentioned when I went over the disposal process.
Because of this, make sure to follow the same precautionary measures when handling WW resin. This means wearing gloves when pouring resin or picking up un-cured prints. And, if you want to be the most safe, you might also want to wear a face mask to prevent the resin fumes from damaging your lungs.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Water Washable Resin
Below, I’ve listed the advantages and disadvantages of water washable resin, as it compares to traditional 3D printing resin. Note that these pros and cons are general and aren’t specific to any one WW resin product.
- Much easier and less expensive washing process
- Prints very similarly to regular resin
- Many different options for water washable resin
- Easier to clean resin spills
- Slightly more expensive than regular resin
- Requires some minor adjustments to the slicer settings
- Tends to yield weaker and more brittle parts
- Printing defects are more common
- Longer drying time
Water Washable Resin VS Normal Resin
The main difference between water washable and normal resin is the washing process for parts. As I’ve explained, models printed in WW resin can be washed with water, while parts made in regular 3D printing resin must be washed in a solvent chemical, like IPA or acetone.
But the washing process isn’t the only difference between these two types of resins.
Another major difference is that water washable resin requires longer exposure times, leading to a longer print time. While each layer printed in WW resin only takes a few seconds longer to cure than if printing with regular resin, this time adds up quickly. A large print job might take an extra hour when printed with WW resin.
Additionally, normal resin boasts better mechanical properties, including tensile, flexural, and extension strength, than WW resin. Even though the difference in strength between the two types of resin is fairly small, it’s enough to make normal resin noticeably better than the alternative when it comes to printing functional parts, like a door hinge or bike part.
Lastly, water washable resin tends to cause more printing defects, like layer delamination and cracking, than normal resin. While increasing the exposure time can mitigate these issues, there’s definitely an apparent drop in the quality of prints when using water washable resin compared to normal resin.
Overall, if you despise the washing process for your resin 3D prints, consider getting some water washable resin.
Water washable resin prints just like regular resin, offers similar mechanical properties, and costs only a few bucks more, per bottle, than regular 3D printing resin. And, parts made in this resin can be washed after printing with just water. No foul-smelling chemicals like IPA or acetone are needed!
The best water washable resin I’ve found is from Elegoo. Elegoo’s standard water washable resin comes in a wide variety of colors, prints super well with the manufacturer’s recommended slicer settings, and doesn’t cost too much! Plus, it makes the washing process a total breeze.
But, if you’ve got some extra money in your budget and want to maximize the print quality, I recommend Phrozen’s Aqua Gray water washable resin. The resin can handle exceptional detail on models, and it’s also decently strong.