What Happens If Resin Printer Runs Out Of Resin?

Printer resin is extremely expensive compared to plastic filament, so the last thing you want is a failed print due to the vat running dry. This is a problem for some older SLA printers, but many newer models have automatic refill features and will even pause the print if the resin runs out.

If a modern SLA printer runs out of resin during a print, the job will pause and wait for you to add resin and resume the print. Older SLA printers, and some lower-priced ones, will continue with the job and leave you with an incomplete part.

If you have a printer that doesn’t automatically pause when the resin runs out, there are ways to upgrade it to a system that automatically fills the vat similar to how a bird feeder works. This is covered later in the article.

SLA Print

Can You Refill Resin While Printing?

You can refill resin while printing. If you’re printing a large part that needs additional resin, you’ll need to refill the vat during the print. Refer to your user manual to make sure you do this correctly. Be careful not to overfill it or you’ll end up with a disaster on your workbench.

Can You Leave A Resin Printer Overnight?

You can leave a resin printer overnight if you make sure there’s enough resin to complete the job. You’ll still be able to wash the part off before any extra resin cures on it. So after leaving the printer to complete the job overnight, wash the part off and cure it with a UV light or in the sun at the window.

How Long Can You Leave A Resin Inside A Printer?

You can leave resin inside a printer for a few months if you make sure that it’s completely sealed with a vat cover. Also, ensure that the room doesn’t get hot or bright, as these factors will cure the resin prematurely.

In some environments, like rooms with big windows and lots of ventilation, you’ll only be able to leave resin inside the printer for a couple of days or weeks at most. People that run resin printers inside malls say that the resin only lasts 1 to 2 days before it starts to cure inside the printer.

If you want to leave resin in the printer, make sure you cover the vat and the printer as well. The printer should have a vat cover and you could use a cardboard box to cover the entire printer as well.

SLA Printer Safety

Can You Reuse Resin From Failed Prints?

You can’t reuse resin from failed prints because cured resin can’t be liquified again. You might be able to repurpose the cured resin and use it for another project, but you won’t be able to get it back into the printer.

What To Do With Left Over Resin After Printing

The best thing to do with leftover resin after printing is to funnel it through a filter and back into the original container. Uncured resin lasts the longest in the container it comes in because it’s airtight and doesn’t allow light inside. In addition to putting it into the container, you should store it in a cool, dark place like a cupboard to maximize its shelf life.

If you don’t want to store the leftover resin, allow it to cure fully in the sun or UV light and then dispose of it with your other trash. As long as you fully cure the resin, it isn’t toxic.

How Long A Bottle Of Resin Lasts

A bottle of resin lasts around 12 months inside the container and in a dark, cool environment. After that, the resin might not work as effectively as before, but you can use it if it’s still completely liquid. If it’s solidified, even a little, you’ll have to dispose of it or you will damage your printer.

A 500g bottle of resin can print around two to three standard size Jolly boat benchies, but results may vary depending on the printer. The Jolly is pretty big though, so if you’re printing chess pieces, you might get 10 to 20 pieces out of a 500g bottle of resin. But it all depends on the size of the parts you’re printing.

Should You Put Resin Back In The Bottle?

You should put resin back into the bottle. But you need to pour it through a filter to ensure that no cured bits get inside. Putting resin back into the bottle is a good way of storing it if you’re not going to be printing anything for a while.

When handling resin, always wear surgical gloves and safety glasses like these on amazon.com: Surgical Gloves / Safety Glasses

SLA Print

How To Upgrade To Automatic Resin Refilling

If you have an older printer or maybe a very low-budget printer, you can print this upgrade on thingiver.com to upgrade to automatic refilling. This system is designed for the Sparkmaker and works similar to how an automatic bird feeder works.

The level of resin in the vat will be consistent as long as there’s resin in the bottle. This is because when the level of the resin in the vat attempts to drop, it creates air pressure, pulling more resin out of the bottle. A copper wire inside the straw helps to break the surface tension of very viscous resins, but sometimes isn’t required.

You can paint the bottle black to block off light from reaching the resin. If it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight and the room isn’t very hot, you could keep the resin in this clear bottle for 1 or 2 days. However, it’s best to funnel back unused resin into the original container to get the longest lifespan out of it.

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If the resin runs out on older SLA printers, the job won’t be completed and you won’t be able to resume the print after topping the vat up. But you can overcome that issue if you keep your eyes on the level and top it up when needed, or if you upgrade to an automatic refill system. With newer SLA printers, the job will pause and wait for you to add resin before it resumes the print.

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I'm Rob, the founder of 3dprintscape.com. I’m a Marine Corps vet with a master’s degree in Information Systems and have been working in the technology field for over a decade. I started working with 3D printers because I was fascinated by the technology and wanted a hobby that my kids and I can enjoy together.

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