Update June 4/2021:
Our review of this resin was not received positively among the community and brought into question the print failures being due to our printer being broken or not functioning properly. We fully acknowledge that the Prusa SL1 printer is not the newest or latest technology, but it has been reliable for the 12 Castable resins we have tried to date and many more plastic resins besides with great, reliable results. We make sure that it is calibrated and working properly before every review with a fresh FEP in the vat, perfectly cleaned, in the case of this review we even installed a new LCD Masking screen with less than 10 hours of use. This printer requires a UV calibration tool with every screen change to verify that it is exposing properly, which we did. Results will vary between printer brands and even printers of the same make and model. Getting new printers for testing has been on our radar for some time and we will certainly be taking the communities opinion into account regarding this.
Retesting is never out of the question and will certainly be something we do with this resin on a new printer.
Senertek Castable V3 MSLA
If you’ve been following along with our channel then you’ve probably seen just how many castable resins are available, few of them have the same traction throughout the 3D printing and Jewellery communities as Senertek V3. We reached out to Senertek and asked if they were willing to put their resin to the test. Mr. Sener directly responded back, and was bright and friendly to our inquiry, he offered copious amounts of information about his product, printing profiles for different printers, community support with tricks and tips, casting information, etc.
Throughout the online communities Senertek makes an appearance as offering awesome print and casting quality, capable of competing with seemingly higher end, more expensive castable resins.
We use the same models throughout all of our print testing so that comparisons between resins is easy to track and compare. One of the models we use during the printing phase are very thin (structural 0.2mm) hollow ball models that help dial in exposure time while using minimal amount of resin in the process. Using the printing profile provided from Senertek: 110 seconds Base Layers, 9 seconds exposure time we did not find success by any stretch of the imagination.
From there we proceeded to try and get this model to successfully print, after several tests gradually increasing the exosure time our results improved. But when we got to an exposure time of 100 seconds base layers, 17 seconds per layer, we knew that something wasn’t right. Double the recommended settings is just too far out of scope to consider a success. My first assumption was I believe the correct one, that this resin simply doesn’t handle extreme filigree models very well.
After changing the printing file to some actual jewellery pieces with more thickness and mass, as well as changing the printer profile back to the original recommended settings we started seeing the results we were hoping to see. At 100 second base layer, 11 seconds per layer we finally got a flawless print in all models except the filigree which at closer inspection looks rather lethargic and under exposed but completely printed none the less.
Something to note, is that if you use a more up to date printer with a monochrome masking screen that these printing issues may not be as pronounced or even an issue for you.
One of the instructions specified by Senertek was that for the highest casting quality we should use the Boric Acid. For those that don’t know, adding Boric Acid powder by investment weight turns the investment into something more akin to cement in hardness. This helps the investment better cope with thermal expansion during the burnout process. This was the first time we had ever done this method and we weren’t sure what exactly to expect. Well I’ll tell you… its true and it works. This method is not one that I recommend for beginners or those who are not prepared to handle breaking up a brick by hand.
The larger castings turned out beautifully, better than any of the other resins we've tried. We have to bear in mind though that we don't typically use Boric Acid so that will definitely be a factor that unequalizes our ability to compare casting quality with other resins directly. The medium and especially the heavy models (6mm+ solid resin thickness) turned out better than any other resin I’ve cast before with incredible detail retention and smooth surfaces. Unfortunately the thinner models did not turnout as well with the bigger ones with incomplete metal fills and some porosity. I attribute this to my casting set up and the model placement in the casting tree entirely and not the resin itself based off the other results.
Senertek V3 Castable Resin features great printability, and great castability for medium size models and was above our expectations for heavy models, doing so at a very affordable price. Those of you who are looking to print and cast miniatures or small sculpture should consider this resin. Lastly, if you plan on sending printed models out to a casting house, especially within North America, you should call ahead to be certain that they're familiar with using boric acid in their casting process and casting resins they may not be familiar with.