When PowerResin reached out to us and asked if we wanted to review their castable resins, I had no idea what to expect. I use resins, plural because Power Resin offers multiple kinds of resin tailored to what type of model you’re printing. We’re going to focus on ‘Dark’, as it is by far my favourite overall.
In a nut shell, I have never used a resin that prints as well as PowerResin Dark, even Tough and Engineered plastic resins that have the distinct advantage of not needing to burnout after printing. The finished prints are in my opinion the perfect consistency, hard enough that you can use less supports while still getting a flawless print with absolutely no bleeding in sharp corners or around support points, yet soft enough to make models durable and supports break away easily. Some other resins are semi transparent and/or brightly coloured which can make flaw finding a challenge, the solid opaque black colour of Dark makes quality inspection very easy and looks incredible on its own.
The biggest downside we experienced during printing, is the trade off I would accept 10/10 times, print time. Using our Prusa SL1 (which still uses an RGB masking screen as of May 2021) we printed at 0.05mm layer height with a 100 second initial burn in and 20 second layer exposure. This is a little on the long side, but one that’s very dependant on your printer, if you have a DLP or an LCD printer with a monochrome type screen then these times will be drastically reduced. Again I reiterate I would chose longer exposure times, every time if it meant that the prints, and later casts turned out perfectly.
Some users have reported a lot of issues with print adhesion, that even with primer on the print bed, getting models to stick is difficult. We have never experienced bed adhesion problems with any resin, I can’t say exactly why, but Prusa build plates come shot blasted with an Apple-like finish on the aluminum, this is likely giving the resin some grip. If you're someone who experiences build plate adhesion problems with any resin, try sanding your build plate on a flat table top with wet/dry 320-400 grit sandpaper. This will roughen up the surface and give the resin something to bite into on the long initial layers.
Lastly, the entire PowerResin line doesn’t stick well to standard casting sprue wax, so plan on needing Sticky Wax if you’re doing your own castings. This is by no means exclusive to PowerResin, many castable resins have the same issue.
Our casting setup is by no means the best in the world, we use general consumer available vacuum casting and melting furnace, an ancient burnout oven and R&R Plasticast. Nothing to brag about in terms of equipment, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise seeing the quality of the castings produced from Dark. Simply there isn’t anything difficult about it, use the standard burnout schedule recommended by R&R for wax based on your flask size, and the appropriate temperatures for the metal you’re casting, this has been tried and true for us through many casts with a 99% success rate.
Now for the downside, Dark is designed for jewellery which means if you’re planning on casting heavy models and miniatures (6mm+ solid thickness) in bronze or silver then you may encounter surface texture issues. However, never fear, because PowerResin has many kinds of resin that are more tailored towards heavy model casting.
In summery, PowerResin Dark is advertised being best used for jewellery designs that are prong heavy and require extremely accurate printing and high quality castings. This resin delivers on all of those and I will continue to recommend this resin as the best for typical jewellery 3D printing.
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