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I recently bought the Nova3d Elfin 2 resin 3d printer. Ask Me Anything (AMA)

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I recently bought the Nova3d Elfin 2 resin 3d printer. Ask Me Anything (AMA)
Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Thursday, January 7, 2021 10:22 PM

This is the second release of the elfin. My decision to purchase this printer was mainly influenced by the renown HO scale youtuber, Luke Towan. I was impressed with the results he was getting. Unfortunately, he has very little information about how he gets all those great results, and no tutuorials either. And its definitely NOT a plug and play concept like his videos give the impression of. There is a lot of tinkering to be done. The reason I am creating this thread is to try and help out/ give recommendations to those who are seriously considering resin 3d printing but might be a bit shy due to this lack of information, and to those who might be in the same boat as me. This thread is not a "what do you think about 3d printing?" thread. This is for people who ARE interested in this technology and would like to benefit from more information on it.

 

I do have some parts already that I have printed in HO scale, I can post some of my results if requested. But again, this is NOT intended to be nitpick and gripefest of this new technology. If you want to trample it and run it to the ground, please do it elsewhere.

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by Da Stumer on Thursday, January 7, 2021 10:49 PM

What are you doing for safety? Prolonged resin exposure can cause some worrisome long term health issues, which is primarily why I have been sticking to FDM. Do you have some sort of ventilation system set up?

-Peter. Mantua collector, 3D printing enthusiast, Korail modeler.

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Thursday, January 7, 2021 11:18 PM

I use water washable resin, which is very low odor. I also use the gloves provided with the printer and do the majority of my rinsing in a bucket of water instead of washing it down the drain. Additionally, the printer comes with a cover so there is no real exposure issues except for the actual processing of the print...

 

Traditional and older resin types tend to be smellier and less user friendly as well, so things may have changed since your initial decision to opt for FDM...

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 8, 2021 8:20 AM

It looks like a very reasonably priced printer.  What are some of things your printing?

Just cuious, and interested, at that price. 

Mike.

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, January 8, 2021 12:18 PM

I'm printing HO scale BN 48' well cars and detail parts thereof, and soon, some Athearn/Walthers detail level shipping containers. I found these container files online and was blown away with the detail for them being 100% free! I have one scaled down and just need to do the rest, then I have to tweak them heavily so I can get them to stay on the build plate (turns out the underside of shipping containers scaled down have little to no material to adhere to the build plate...).

My printer was $200 off of amazon, which was a real steal considering the retial of $500+...

If you bought that and a liter of resin you'd pay around $250 when all's said and done. Print a few locomotive shells, shipping containers, trucks, etc and the printer quickly pays for itself. I calculated that my well car body cost me well under a dollar to resin print! If you include the teeny detail parts you'd be just under a dollar for a full undecorated model. And undecorated well car models from commerical sources are at least $15 to $20 a pop...

 

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, January 8, 2021 12:25 PM

Have you printed any throttle holders?  Thingaverse has several different ones.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 8, 2021 2:44 PM

Those were the prices I was seeing, too.  I didn't see any from the same company for $500.00 unless thats their commercial printer.

Interesting.  

Thanks,

Mike.

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, January 8, 2021 2:57 PM

Is there any advantage of the Elfin over the Photon?

I'm about an inch away from deciding on a model resin printer and I'm trying to sort out available options.

Also, do you have any input on what different resins are available? I see some cure as a translucent green while others are opaque gray?

I began playing with TinkerCad. Is there a suggested 3D CAD program out there? I don't need anything in the $4K range but I don't mind paying sometihing in the $1-200 range for a decent program (I guess they're called apps, now?).

Thanks, Ed

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, January 8, 2021 4:07 PM

gmpullman

I began playing with TinkerCad. Is there a suggested 3D CAD program out there? I don't need anything in the $4K range but I don't mind paying sometihing in the $1-200 range for a decent program (I guess they're called apps, now?).

Thanks, Ed

 

I’ve been using DesignCAD or its predecessor since 1985 and I’m very happy with it.

https://www.turbocad.com/designcad/designcad-3d-max.html

It is like all CAD programs, there is a fairly steep learning curve to your first shot at it.

 This is done in DesignCAD by Shaky Mel



Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, January 8, 2021 4:48 PM

RR_Mel
I’ve been using DesignCAD or its predecessor since 1985 and I’m very happy with it.

Thanks, Mel. I'll take a good look at it Yes

Regards, Ed

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 8, 2021 5:49 PM

I got the Longer Orange 10 for CHristmas. Haven't got it set up yet. Slightly smaller build area, but it's also under $200. Plenty big for detail parts, and big enough for the main reason I wanted a 3D printer - roofs to convert open hoppers to covered hoppers. 

 One thing with resin prints is they have to be washed, adn then further UV cured before use. Anycubic has a nice wash and cure station with light shield (don't look into UV light!) which I will probably get, though it costs as much as the printer. You can make your own cure unit with a bunch of UV LEDs, but again - be careful to seal it up so the UV doesn't leak out where it might shine in your or even a pet's eyes.

 I'm considering trying 3rd PlanIt to draw somethign in since I am already very familiar with it. Depends on how good the DWG/DFX export actually is. 

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, January 8, 2021 6:08 PM

What glues and adhesives are used with the kind of plastic resins discussed here?

After cleaning and curing, can these resin detail parts be mixed with and joined to parts fabricated from acrylic, styrene, or ABS? What about vinyl or polyethylene? What about wood or chipboard?

What about painting and/or weathering?

Thanks.

Robert 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, January 8, 2021 6:20 PM

Kathy Millat has done a couple videos of resin printing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRSusYyrwMM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2_QF2fPuaE

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by PM Railfan on Friday, January 8, 2021 8:19 PM

ROBERT PETRICK

What glues and adhesives are used with the kind of plastic resins discussed here?

After cleaning and curing, can these resin detail parts be mixed with and joined to parts fabricated from acrylic, styrene, or ABS? What about vinyl or polyethylene? What about wood or chipboard?

What about painting and/or weathering?

Thanks.

Robert 

 

Robert)

I cant speak for resin printing but for informational purposes to those looking for the first time at 3d printing, i can answer the 'filament' type of 3d printing questions you asked.

The PLA and ABS plastic i use works very well with CA adhesives. I have models 3 years old now that have no pull aparts, warps, or melt downs. So nothing new needed in your shop in the way of CA adhesives for filament printing.

The advantage of a filament over the resin is there are no need for resins, curing, cleaning, extra equipment like UV lights and hi-res LED screens etc etc. Theres no smell either. But when you want to mate these parts to other parts, thats in your adhesive, not the parts your putting together. PLA and ABS will stick to anything.... as long as your GLUE is capable of sticking to BOTH the plastic and the 'anything'.

(also, you can bond filament printed parts with new plastic. Same as replacing the glue. Kinda like welding is to metal. This you cant do with resin. They make plastic pens [think hot glue gun for plastic] that are filament based - cant do that with resin. Just run a bead in the corner of two walls and presto in seconds its bonded - quicker than CA even!)

Lastly, painting and weathering. Imma leave the weathering part untouched as i dont do that on my models. Plastic is pourous so theres a very good chance your powder type weathering applications will stick to both resin AND filament types.

Now, for paint... check this out. You dont have to paint your filament printed part if you dont want to. Filaments come in colors. And if they dont have the one you want, simply add the color to your filament just before it loads into the heated tip. Your color will mix in with the plastic as its formed thus eliminating the need to paint it. It can be as simple as holding a sharpie to the filament as it feeds into printer - that easy!

In other words, the caboose red additive you hit the filament with is now part of your part. Cut it in half and you see your color is thru and thru. Im pretty sure you cant do this with resin. They may have dies to add to the mix, i dunno.

Either way, paint will stick to plastic, both. But this is going to be trial and error as not everyone uses the same paints or techniques. So advantage both resin and filament here. But not needed for filament types. 

Hope this info helps.

 

PMR

 

PS: did i forget to mention there are even wood based filaments available - thus eliminating the need to glue to wood.... just make the part in wood! (along with other filament types - metal, food, rubber, etc etc)

 

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, January 8, 2021 9:31 PM

I'll answer all your common questions.

Elfin vs Photon. First, there seems to be a reason Luke Towan switched from the Proton to the Elfin. I don't know what it is, but I'm glad I waited. From a printer standpoint, the elfin is better. The buildplate is a very sturdy metal design and it comes pre leveled. This is HUGE. I'm glad I didn't have to bother with that. The touchscreen and the wifi/ethernet capabilities are also big advantages. From a software standpoint, Nova3d uses a pesky proprietary file extension, which also forces you to use their special slicer. The autosupport feature and most everything else are pathetic, I pretty much only use it to actually slice my file. Any other prep I do in chitubox and then export as an OBJ. But don't get stuck between these two either, there's lots of other good options too, such as the Bene and Elegoo 3d printers. Do some homework and see if you can't find something even better/cheaper/bigger.

 

There are tons of resins available. They will all have advantages such as low odor, better strength, eco friendly features, colors, etc. Each one will have different optimal cure times which you can figure out with a benchmark test print (trial and error). The most important thing to note is that you do NOT need to only buy the resin made by the printer manufacturer. This is marketing, not printer safety. The resin that came with the Elfin is garbage. Please don't even use it. You get a sample with your printer, sell it on ebay for some money back. It cures brittle, stinks, and is very sticky. The only thing that came out nice with that resin was the sample print. I personally gave water washable resin a shot and am not going back unless I'm doing something super special. This stuff is amazing. I bought elegoo's resin on amazon. Its $40 a liter and cleanup is heavenly compared to the other resin. Its also thinner, so dripping the excess off the build plate and curing times are much faster. Absolutely recommend for just about everything, and so do many of the review videos I watched prior to purchase.

 

For designing 3d models, I use sketchup. Thats how I desinged my 48' well car and all it's parts. The online version is free, but a 3d design program in a browser is a poor design choice. So I did some digging and found that the downloadable free version (latest release before costing money was 2017) can be had from trimble's archives. Its called sketchup make. Tinkercad isn't really good for people who are super picky about scale fidelity and accuracy, You mostly start with basic shapes and go from there, from what I've seen online. I'm not sure what can be had for the budget you described, but I do know its good. Fusion 360 and similar mid level 3d design programs might interest you.

Gluing/painting. Luke Towan states that his resin models take both of these things quite well. I personally have not tried much of either except spraypainting, the reason being I have been heavily focused on making and troubleshooting the prints. The spraypainting worked fine. And for gluing parts together so far, I have cheated and just applied a bit of resin exactly like I would glue and then curing it under a UV light. Works insanely great.

And one other thing for those curious. Once cured, this stuff sands exceptionally well. A good rule of thumb is to basically treat your cured resin parts exactly like commercial parts. Remove supports/sprues, sand, paint, glue to model, voila! Its a skillset I'm sure many of you are way better versed in than I.

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, January 11, 2021 1:47 PM

Okay, the adventure begins . . .

I ordered a 3D Resin Printer. It should be here on Thursday. Anycubic Photon S.

I've seen a few unboxing videos, so I have a pretty good idea what accessories are included and what accessories are recommended. I think I have the basics covered. I haven't ordered the Anycubic cleaning and curing station (yet), but it looks pretty good and I will probably go that route. In the meanwhile, I will make due with a tupperware pickle basket and a south-facing windowsill. I live in the high desert with deep blue cloudless skies all day (they even sing songs about it), so lack of direct sunlight is not an issue.

My question is about slicing software. The online consensus is that the included software is pretty weak. Additional online consensus is that Chitubox and Cura are the best third-party slicers, but apparently there are issues with Chitubox and the Photon S is not listed in the printer selection for Cura.

I'm not talking about CAD design software. I am solidly proficient using AutoCAD Civil 3D and AutoCAD Fusion360 to generate accurate and detailed .STL files. What I need is reliable info regarding the post-processing slicing software. I will probably use the included package, weak as it is, to get started.

More questions later regarding cleaning solutions and curing times and exposure and whatnot.

Thanks.

Robert

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Monday, January 11, 2021 5:20 PM

Chitubox will not be helpful for many printers in terms of saving your slice to the correct file extension. It doesn't support Nova3d's either. You don't need chitubox to "have" your printer either to get good results. Just do all your supports and flipping in chitubox, and select "save as." You can choose STL or OBJ, but I've been finding out that STL tends to cause more fits with resin 3d printer slicing softwares than OBJ. I recommend just sticking with OBJ. Then you can import that into the Anycubic slicer to slice it and thats it.

I don't know how you got the concensus on cura for resin 3d printing slicer, maybe you are just generalizing for traditional printers and resin 3d printers? Cura won't help you with resin 3d printing...

Don't spend your money on Anycubic's curing station unless its $20 or less, because thats how much my powerful UV lamp of Amazon cost me and it works great. I just put it above a box coated with tinfoil.

Another couple things. I HIGHLY recommend not even using Anycubic's resin if you can wait. Buy elegoo's water washable resin. The clean up is so much easier. Believe me, its so worth the switch. But if you really can't wait and use Anycubic's resin, here are 3 peices of advice. 1, you don't need to empty out and clean your resin vat after each print unless it failed or you suspect there are little cured bits floating around. I haven't clean my new vat since I replaced the FEP film. 2, If you can't find rubbing alcohol to clean your prints, buy denatured aclohol from a hardware store. Works great. 3, when you DO clean your resin vat and FEP film, never, and I repeat, never allow resin, fingers, or cleaning cloth to touch the underside of the vat where the FEP film is. That will likely result in frustrating smudges that will also transfer to your LCD screen. Even if you ARE lucky enough to clean every last smudge off both surfaces, its a big pain and you might have to get a new FEP film if you don't want to risk substandard prints.

If you want, you can ask me more questions about things I do in chitubox to optimize prints to save you a lot of headache... looking foward to welcoming another model railroader to the resin 3d printing community!

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 3:04 PM

My Anycubic Photon S 3D resin printer arrived today via UPS, a day early. I also ordered a liter of Elegoo water-washable resin (gray). It is scheduled to arrive tomorrow via USPS.

I have reconsidered and will put off ordering the Anycubic wash/cure station for now. That particular station has two features that might make it worthwhile, despite the moderately pricey price.

Using 91% isopropyl alcohol or 99% ethanol (denatured) from a dropper-top bottle can be a little irritating at times. Fumes. But using large quantities in an open vat could be even worse. Storage, and repeatedly transferring to and from storage, is another concern. The wash/cure station would lessen those concerns and make cleaning a simple matter of setting a time and pushing a button and make storing a simple matter of snapping down the gasket lid.

But, if the water washable resin is as good and as convenient as advertised, the need for mass quantities of alcohol is greatly reduced or eliminated entirely.

The curing feature of the store-bought station is also a neat and tidy convenience. But I think I can get a twenty-dollar uv lamp and set up a perfectly usable home-brew system. I have a three-gallon shiny stainless steel bucket in mind for the chamber with the lamp mounted on a special-built plywood lid. Shiny inside to scatter and reflect the uv rays all over the place; and a closed lid to keep the rays inside to protect human eyeballs and skin. Should work.

I'll post more as I go along.

Robert 

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, January 15, 2021 1:09 PM

As I own elegoo's water washable resin, can confirm that no IPA is necassary.

Your curing station idea is great. Check this UV lamp out:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YGN2QGL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I bought it and it works great in my cheapo tinfoil curing box. It also claims to emit 405nm wavelengths, which is the same wavelength that resin 3d printers use...

Post or PM me about dailing in resin with your printer. I have 2 files I highly recommend, between those 2 I got perfect results after multiple trials.

Looking foward to seeing your results!

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, January 15, 2021 2:22 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler

As I own elegoo's water washable resin, can confirm that no IPA is necassary.

Your curing station idea is great. Check this UV lamp out:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YGN2QGL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I bought it and it works great in my cheapo tinfoil curing box. It also claims to emit 405nm wavelengths, which is the same wavelength that resin 3d printers use...

Post or PM me about dailing in resin with your printer. I have 2 files I highly recommend, between those 2 I got perfect results after multiple trials.

Looking foward to seeing your results!

That looks like the same lamp I ordered. There were several listed from various Amazon Stores, but I suspect they are all the exact same item at slightly different prices. It should be here next Tuesday Jan 19.

The Elegoo resin has not yet arrived. Was scheduled to be here yesterday the 14th. Tracking info says it has been in Salt Lake City since Tuesday evening the 12th. USPS.

I haven't opened the Anycubic resin supplied with the printer. If I did open it and use it in the FEP vat, will I be able to clean it out entirely and use the water-washable stuff when and if it ever arrives? I'm thinking about getting a second vat anyway, even if I use the Elegoo resin exclusively.

I uploaded a coupla renderings to the WPF thread of the first object I plan to test print. I never seem to have any photos available for that thread, and I'm always happy to contribute a little something. I can PM you about the details and possibly email .STL files as well.

Robert 

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, January 15, 2021 2:37 PM

YMMV. I'll submit this. Yes, you can thereotically use the provided resin and then clean the vat out entirely BUT

As in my experience with Nova3d's resin, its a pain to clean because non water washable resin is sticky. I also had some problems with my denatured alchohol (because IPA is hard to get, people are STILL making hand sanitizerConfused) fogging the FEP film a bit, and I could never quite get all the resin out of all the nooks and crannies between the FEP film and the frame. And resiny glove/fingerprints on the underside of the vat are big trouble. Your biggest concern here isn't switching resins. Its getting the old resin out without goofing up your vat somehow. Thats why I never wanted to clean my vat when I was using the origional resin. It would mess it up for my future prints, even using the same resin.

If you were to use the stock resin and clean it out for elegoo's, your only good bet IMO is to have an entire bucket of IPA or whatever to dunk it in. Which is why water washable resin is so practical for this...

Where did you order you elegoo resin from? I got mine (1 liter of grey) off amazon for $40 and shipping was like 3 days or less...

 

Funny you mentioned emailing .STL files. I had one I was going to send to you of my creation that proved immensely helpful in dialing in my resin...

 

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, January 15, 2021 3:20 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler

Where did you order you elegoo resin from? I got mine (1 liter of grey) off amazon for $40 and shipping was like 3 days or less...

I ordered the goo from Amazing-dot-com-slash-Prime because of the free two-day shipping. Two days of shipping might be true, but they always seem to forget to add in the three or four days the package sits on the floor in Denver or Salt Lake City.

I will hold off until the water-washable stuff arrives. Kinda hard to do with the new toy just sitting over there . . .

Robert

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Friday, January 15, 2021 6:11 PM

ROBERT PETRICK

I will hold off until the water-washable stuff arrives. Kinda hard to do with the new toy just sitting over there . . .

Robert

 

I absloutely feel this. Unfortunately, for me, I couldn't wait to find the correct liquid to rinse of my first prints, so I used the nova3d resin and tried to rinse it with water. Big mistake. I wished I had waited.

 

Meanwhile, you should check out grabcad. They have absolutely AMAZING models for free. I found the hands down best shipping container model on there, and once I converted the file I found it was 1:1 scale so all I had to do was scale it to HO and I had an absolutely perfect HO scale shipping container. They also have aircraft models and loads of other stuff. IMO, its better than thingyverse.

I'm beginning to realize that Windows 10 and sound decoders have a lot in common. There are so many things you have to change in order to get them to work the way you want.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, January 16, 2021 8:19 PM

BNSF UP and others modeler

Post or PM me about dailing in resin with your printer. I have 2 files I highly recommend, between those 2 I got perfect results after multiple trials.

The resin arrived this afternoon. Only two days late. Not bad.

I sent you a PM regarding printer settings and a .STL test pattern file.

Thanks.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


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