Clean Your Resin Vat And FEP Film The Proper Way

I do not enjoy cleaning the resin vat. We have to deal with a toxic chemical with potentially dangerous fumes that can be easy to spill.

When cleaning the resin vat, take your time to avoid spilling. Wearing gloves and a mask, pull the vat out of your printer. Filter the resin into a container. Use IPA and a paper towel to clean out the resin. For prints stuck to the bottom, gently press up from the bottom and peel off the print.

Since you are working with toxic chemicals, there are precautions you need to take when cleaning the vat.

Cleaning The FEP

Be cautious working with 3D printing resin. Even if you are using the Anycubic Plant-based resin, avoid getting the resin on your skin. It is still toxic.

You will need several pieces of equipment.

  • Nitrile or vinyl gloves
  • Face mask
  • Resin filter
  • Resin container
  • Paper towels
  • Isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
  • Container for used IPA
  • UV light
  • Plastic scraper

Get all your equipment set up to prepare for cleaning. You will want to have everything set up near your printer to avoid having to carry the resin vat long distances.

The container for your resin can be the bottle the resin came in or any other UV resistant container. This is where you will store your leftover resin for later use. You do not want the resin to cure before you can get back to it.

Place the resin filter in the top of the container. You will pour the remaining resin through the filter to catch any bits of cured resin floating in the vat. I still have the filters that came with my Anycubic Photon. These are filters available on Amazon that come with a funnel that will help prevent spilling the resin.

If you won’t be using the leftover resin later, you can use the same container you will use for the leftover IPA and you don’t need the filter.

Set the container for the used IPA near the container for the remaining resin.

Have the paper towels and the IPA ready next to the container with the plastic scraper. The UV light should be ready but off.

Put on the gloves and mask. Slowly remove the vat.

Most vats have a notch for ease of pouring. I learned the hard way that if the vat is pretty full, the resin will tend to roll over the notch and down the corner. Keep the vat close to the filter as you pour the resin in to avoid spilling.

When most of the resin has been poured out, use the plastic scraper to get the residual resin off the film and the vat wall. Try to avoid getting resin on the gloves.

If there is any part of a print still stuck to the FEP, press gently on the bottom of the film below the print. The edge of the print should pop off the film so that you can peel it off. If it is too stuck, you may need to use the plastic scraper under the print get enough leverage to pop the piece off.

Using a paper towel, gently blot up the remaining resin in the vat. Pour in a little IPA and wipe a different section of the paper towel or a new towel to wipe up the residue.

Rinse out the vat with IPA and pour it into the IPA container. If there is any resin residue left, use a bit more IPA with a paper towel.

Your FEP and vat should now be clean. Now you need to dispose of the resin contaminated IPA and paper towels.

Proper Disposal

Do not pour the contaminated IPA down the drain. Uncured resin is toxic.

Uncured resin can be disposed of in a chemical waste stream.

Since most of us do not have access to a chemical waste stream, you can use a UV light or the sun to cure the resin in the IPA. Once the resin is completely cured, you can filter out the cured resin and reuse the IPA or dispose of it down the drain.

The paper towels that contain resin should also be exposed to UV light to finish curing.

Be careful curing the paper towels. When resin cures, it get warm as the curing process is exothermic and you can easily burn your self.

Once the resin in the paper towel is completely cured, you can dispose the paper towels in a trash bin. Paper towels that have cured resin cannot be recycled.

Clean Up Any Spills

If you spilled any resin, you will need to take care to clean it up. As with the rest of this process, you will need to wear gloves while cleaning up any mess.

Use an IPA soaked paper towel to wipe down any surfaces with resin on it. If you spilled significant amounts of resin, use a dry paper towel to soak up as much resin as you can then wipe down with IPA.

If you spilled on your clothing, be very careful in taking them off. Wipe any exposed skin with an IPA soak paper towel as soon as possible.

Use IPA to flush out any resin in your clothing. Catch the released resin and IPA in a container. Try to avoid exposing your clothing to UV light. Once the resin has cured, it will be very difficult to get out of your clothing.

Once you clothing has been flushed with IPA and expose them to your UV light, both inside and out. This will cure any resin left in the clothing that is too small to flush out. It should now be safe to wash your clothes to get the IPA and small bits of cured resin out.

Place any used IPA and used paper towels under the UV light before disposal.

Verl Humpherys

I have been 3D printing since 2017, using both FDM and SLA printers. My prints have varied from small D&D figurines to full sized baby Groot. I printed mounts for my various game consoles and my Oculus Rift. Any problem you can have with a 3D printer, I have had. And I am here to tell you what I have learned.

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