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Almost injection molding smoothness & superb surface finish for highly detailed display pieces or extremely complex & functional engineering prototypes.

1. Number of Buildplates

A build plate is essentially a new print job. Every build plate must be processed through a special computer program and then physically loaded onto the machine. In the case of Resin 3D printing, there's a lot of post-processing required even after the print is done, such as cleaning the parts in 99% pure lab-grade IPA and then UV-curing it to make sure all the monomers are fully crosslinked. This is why it's almost always worth it to pack the build plate as much as possible for the best possible unit price.

3. Print Time (Hours Per Buildplate) 

A lot of complex math went into here to determine the hourly print time cost, taking into account local rent, printer depreciation, replacement parts cost, 3D printer repair labor cost, and other things like that. But basically, we are pretty confident we are extremely close to the true factor cost. And if anyone is billing a 3D printing hourly rate less than this, they will almost certainly lose money long term. Of course, as 3D printing technology gets cheaper and better, this number will likely asymptote toward just the hourly cost of land. 

2. Custom Colors

To ensure we always have every material type in stock without wasting too much space storing colors that will only be used once and never again, we charge a little extra if you want to use a color other than the standard color. The standard color is usually Gray for Resin 3D printing, but it might be a different color for the engineering resins. 

4. Material Usage (Grams Per Buildplate)

We don't actually make any money on the material portion. The material cost is simply the cost of material adjusted by the average probability of failed prints. For example, if the material cost is $5 but a print of similar nature a will fail 1 out of every 2 times, we will adjust the material cost by a factor of 2. So $10 will be the adjusted material cost. Of course, as 3D printing technology gets cheaper and better, the adjustment factor will trend toward 1 (100% print success rate). 


3D Modeling Services & 3D Printing Services Orange County, CA

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How Resin 3D Printing Work


 MSLA resin 3D printing service offers the cleanest possible surface finish out of all the 3D printing services we offer.

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In order to understand how MSLA 3D printing works in detail, let us 3D print a model kit together.

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First, a 3D model from Thingiverse was downloaded & then hollowed out to 2mm thickness with drainage holes. This was necessary in order to make the model printable and also cost-effective (save materials).

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Then supports were auto-generated at a 50% density for all overhangs steeper than 55 degrees.

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Since auto-generated supports are never quite perfect, manual supports were added layer by layer. This is a painstaking process that can take tens of minutes to maybe even an hour long.


After that, the model could be 3D printed by cross-linking a tub of photosensitive monomers layer by layer hundreds or even thousands of times using the 405th nanometer light.


This was best done outdoor in a workshed with carbon filter, respirator, and nitrile gloves.


Often times, the model doesn't come out perfectly the first time. Each time there was a failed print, the model needs to be re-supported and reprinted (in addition to all the cleanup necessary to remove the failed print).


If the print was successful, the object needs to be cleaned in ultrapure lab grade IPA to remove all the resin sludges.


Then, the print was UV-cured underwater for a whole day to make sure all the corners and crevices were fully cross-linked.


Here was the model all finished!


All resin 3D prints could be painted & finished just like any other plastic model kit! Here was one of our favorite models that we painted using miniature paint.

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