Cleaning the Resin Tray

As a general rule, Ember resin trays should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol after each use and wiped with a paper towel (except for the PDMS window, which should be wiped with a KimWipe or microfiber cloth). This is especially pertinent if you're using a non-Autodesk resin, as some of these resins can damage the tray, cure into a solid block, or cloud the PDMS window. Even Autodesk PR-48 (Standard Clear) will cloud the window, and the pigment in our PR-57 series can settle to the bottom if it's left sitting in a tray too long.

The exception to cleaning a tray after use is if you'll be using that same resin again within an hour or so.

This article explains how to clean the resin tray. It also provides information about the components that make up the tray. Understanding and taking good care of your resin tray is necessary in order to achieve reliable results with Ember.

How to Clean the Resin Tray

You will need to clean your tray if you want to use a different resin in a single tray, or if you have had a print fail.  

If a print fails, you will need to clean the cured debris from the resin tray. Failed prints usually produce two unwanted results: 1) the failed part cures onto the surface of the PDMS, and/or 2) cured parts detach and float freely in the resin. If this happens, the resin must be cleaned before starting your next print.

There are two ways to clean the resin in your tray: using a comb (the faster way, which only works to remove large cured parts), or pouring the resin through a filter (the more thorough way, which also removes fine particles).  

STEP 1: Remove the resin tray

For guidance on how to install and remove the resin tray from the build area, click here.

NOTE: 

Always remove the build head before removing the resin tray. Otherwise resin could drip onto the optical path of the projector, which could damage your printer (if not immediately cleaned up).

STEP 2: Filter the resin, then it into a storage container

Pour all of the resin from the tray into a storage container. If the last print failed, filter the resin through a strainer before pouring it into a container.

Don't pour used resin back into a fresh resin bottle. We recommend you keep an old resin bottle on hand to store used resin.

STEP 3: Wipe out the tray

Spray isopropyl alcohol into the tray and wipe out the resin with paper towels, but don't wipe the PDMS window.

STEP 3: Clean the PDMS window

Using a gloved finger, gently rub the surface of the PDMS to remove any cured resin stuck to the PDMS. Then spray some isopropyl alcohol onto the PDMS and use a Kimwipe, lens wipe, or microfiber cloth to clean it.

NOTE:

Be careful not to scratch the surface of the PDMS. Never scrape its surface with any tools, and do not wipe it with paper towels. Only use a microfiber cloth or lens cleaning paper to wipe its surface when it is empty of resin. If the PDMS becomes scratched or damaged, you will need to replace the resin tray.

STEP 4: Clean the glass window

Now that the tray is clean and excess resin removed, flip the tray over and using an Isopropyl alcohol swab gently clean the underside of the glass, removing all smudges and smears. This step can be skipped if you're careful never to touch the glass.

About the Resin Tray

The resin tray is made up of the following components:

  1. Resin tray: Made of amber polycarbonate, which blocks blue light and prevents the resin from curing due to exposure from ambient light.
  2. PDMS window: Enables each printed slice to peel away from the tray and remain adhered to the layer above it and the build head during the printing process.  PDMS stands for polydimethylsiloxane. It is a member of the silicone family.
  3. Glass window: The PDMS window is adhered to this piece of glass, which provides rigidity to the PDMS window assembly. It is located on the bottom of the tray.
  4. Gasket: This adhesive creates a watertight seal between the glass window and the resin tray. [NOTE: The gasket can be damaged by prolonged contact with IPA, causing the resin tray to leak. Therefore, do not allow IPA to soak in the tray for extended periods of time (for more than 5 minutes).]  
  5. Locking tabs: There is one locking tab on the front lip of the resin tray, plus two located on the bottom of the tray (not shown in the diagram). It's essential that the resin tray is locked in place with these tabs on the rotating plate, to ensure that the tray remains fixed in place during the printing process. 

 

NOTE: 

Resin trays have a limited lifespan. This is because the functionality of the PDMS window declines over time. After a certain number of prints, you'll need to dispose of your resin tray and replace it with a new one. You'll know that your resin tray needs to be replaced when parts of your model stick to the PDMS, rather peeling properly and successfully building your model.  

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