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3D Printing Resin: The Ultimate Guide


Although thermoplastics are the most commonly used 3D printing materials, there are some situations where other properties are required. In this case, other options are available. 3D printing metals and resins are also materials available for professional use. Let’s focus on resin 3D printing and discover the specificities and advantages of these materials for additive manufacturing, as well as the options available on the market for your projects.

Applications of resin 3D printing: when does it make sense?

Your resin material choice will depend on the nature of your project. But with the constant evolution of the additive manufacturing industry, new resins are developed, and you can have many material options showing new interesting properties. 

What the majority of resins have in common: a high level of detail with a great surface finish. If you need really accurate prints, resin 3D printing is the perfect solution for you, thanks to the high resolution these printing materials offer. Injection mold-like prototypes or aesthetic parts can also be made using resins.

For non-functional prototypes, some types of resins are particularly adapted. If the main goal of your prototype is to show details and complex geometries, resin materials are perfectly adapted.

SLA Resin, source: Sculpteo

Resin 3D printing is also perfect to manufacture decorative parts or finished end-use products thanks to high detail and really smooth surfaces. You can easily access injection mold-like surface finishes by using new resin technologies.

More resistant and rigid resins are entering the market. Resin 3D printing also offers translucent options, for enclosures or storage devices. New resins on the market are offering the ability to manufacture high-performance functional parts with high precision and advanced mechanical strength, layer by layer. This is a perfect solution for professionals aspiring to optimize their design processes.

Last but not least, resin materials and resin 3D printers are getting more and more use for mass production! From jewelry to engineering projects and medical applications, the future of resin 3D printing is looking bright and promising.

Best resin 3D printers

Here are some interesting resin 3D printers currently available on the market, showing the focus taken by 3D printer manufacturers: machines that print faster, with better precision, more and more adapted to production.

Formlabs Form 3 and 3L

Formlabs is one of the best-known SLA 3D printers, renowned in particular for its Form 2. Their new Formlabs 3 and Formlabs 3L are based on a brand new printing process called Low Force Stereolithography. These two machines are meant to be faster and more accurate than their predecessors!

Origin One

This Origin 3D printer is becoming a new option for high-volume manufacturers with a tall building volume of 192 x 108 x 350 mm allowing to print series. Thanks to these kinds of 3D printers, resin materials are becoming a real production alternative for businesses.

Prusa SL1

Prusa entered the stereolithography market with their Prusa SL1. This 3D printer is an open-source machine, with an interesting size build volume of 120 x 68 x 150 mm and using an LCD screen to cure the resin. 

Elegoo Mars

This resin printer is one of the most affordable machines on the market. It is also a really accessible 3D printer in terms of operation and preparation. 

Resin 3D printing technologies and materials

Resin 3D printing uses different processes compared to plastic 3D printing. Unlike more conventional 3D printing, there is no powder to sinter like SLS technology or filament to extrude like FDM printing.

SLA, DLP, and LCD are the most popular 3D printing technologies to get resin parts, but getting familiar with the nuances of each one of these technologies helps to clarify what you can expect from final prints to decide which one will suit your application.
In general, SLA and DLP/LCD resin 3D printers are among the most accurate and precise additive manufacturing processes. Differences in accuracy and precision are often better explained by the differences between machines by various manufacturers than differences between the technologies themselves.


Stereolithography (or SLA) is one of the oldest 3D printing techniques ever developed. This technology is used to 3D print resin, using a photochemical process.

This SLA 3D printing process starts with uncured, liquid resin, it uses a vat of liquid photopolymers resin. The build plate moves down in small increments and the liquid polymer is exposed to light where the UV laser draws a cross-section layer by layer. The process repeats until a model is created. 

Materials available on our online 3D printing service : 

  • Prototyping Resin: This 3D printing material is perfectly adapted to the development of prototypes and could improve your whole prototyping process. This resin offers the opportunity to create highly detailed parts and non-functional prototypes.
Prototyping Resin, source: Sculpteo


During the Polyjet process, fine layers accumulate on the build tray to create several highly-detailed 3D printed products. Where overhangs or complex shapes require support, the Polyjet 3D printer jets a removable support material, named FullCore 750. The process of fine layer polymerization is repeated until the object is finished.

Materials available on our online 3D printing service : 

  • VeroclearVeroclear is a translucent Polyjet resin, often used for prototyping, but its smooth surface and its accuracy make it also quite suitable for end-products such as consumer products for example.
  • VerowhiteVerowhite Resin 3D prints create objects which are particularly smooth and precise. This material is perfect for ornamental objects.
VeroWhite, source: Sculpteo

DLS (Digital Light Synthesis)

DLS works by projecting a continuous sequence of UV images, generated by a digital light projector, through an oxygen-permeable, UV-transparent window below a liquid resin bath. The dead zone created above the window maintains a liquid interface below the part. Above the dead zone, the curing part is drawn out of the resin bath.

Materials available on our online 3D printing service : 

  • Rigid Polyurethane: This material is perfect for mechanical parts that need to be tough, heat-resistant, and abrasion-resistant. RPU is certified by the UL 94 HB flammability classification for more secured use.
  • Elastomeric Polyurethane:  EPU is a high-performance polyurethane elastomer. It exhibits excellent elastic behavior under cyclic, tensile, and compressive loads.
Rigid Polyurethane RPU
Rigid Polyurethane, source: Sculpteo

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) / DLP (Digital Light Processing)

The resin is contained within a vat, or tank, cured against a build platform, which slowly rises out of the tank as the part is formed, layer by layer. These two 3D printing technologies are quite similar, but here is the main difference: the light source. Both of these DLP and LCD 3D printing processes use a light source to cure the resin.

LCD printing cures resin with UV light coming from an array of LEDs. To cure DLP resins, the 3D printer contains a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device), a component made of thousands of micromirrors. These micromirrors are used for navigating the light beam projected by the digital light projector.

Materials available on our online 3D printing service : 

  • Ultracur3D® EPD 1086: This resin offers high toughness and flexibility. It will be particularly useful to manufacture big parts or series thanks to the 510 x 280 x 350 mm building tray of its 3D printer.

  • Ultracur3D® ST 45: This translucent resin material delivers high strength, as well as long-term toughness and good impact resistance.
Ultracur3D® EPD 1086, source: Sculpteo

Advantages of using an online 3D printing service for resin parts

With a professional 3D printing service you have access to industrial 3D printing technologies and materials to get the results you expect for technically demanding industries. Using Sculpteo for your resin parts will offer you the possibility to access the latest high-performance resins available on the market with the Ultracur3D® line: more resistant, offering bigger printing sizes, etc. At Sculpteo, we know that investing in a DLP, LCD or SLA printer isn’t realistic for every business. Start saving costs by ordering the parts you need and our 3D printing experts will take care of it!

Upload your 3D file right now and get an instant quote for your order. 

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