How Does Resin in a 3D Printer Work?

Lawrence Bonk Profile image

Written by:

Updated January 16, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder how resin in a 3D printer works. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers, and these models use resin and filament spools to create 3D models. So how do the best 3D printers work, and what does resin do during this process? Keep reading to find out.


  • 3D printers use a wide variety of materials, but most modern consumer printers use resin or filament.
  • Resin printers excel at making highly detailed physical models with ultra-thin layers, smooth surface finishes, and an entire durable layer on the exterior.
  • When storing liquid resin, keep it in a dark container tucked away in a dark closet, as this material hates UV light.

How Do 3D Printers Work?

Before you learn how accurate 3D printers are and the role resin plays, it is helpful to understand how printers work in the first place. Printers extrude resin or filament via dedicated nozzles that slowly create 3D models layer by layer if you are wondering how auto bed leveling works.

Insider Tip

Shake resin containers every few weeks to ensure the material remains properly mixed.

The larger the object being printed, the more resin or filament you need, so you should learn all about 3D printing costs. The object is built right on top of a dedicated print bed if you want to learn how hot a 3D printer bed should be.

How Resin is Used

Resin and filament may accomplish similar tasks, but they are actually quite different. Resin is both sturdier and easier to slice into thin fragments than filament, so resin-based printers excel with small and highly detailed objects. Of course, resin printers are more expensive than filament printers, and resin refills cost more than filament refills.

Tips to Properly Use Resin

Here are a number of useful tips to make the most out of your resin-based printer.

Store it Correctly

Filaments are rather hearty with regard to where they can and cannot be stored between user sessions. The same is not true for resin. Store unused resin in a dark container in a closet or dresser somewhere that is free from humidity and wild temperature changes. Resin is sensitive to UV light, humidity, and heat. UV light is just about everywhere, so you should store it in a dark container in a closed closet.

STAT: Stereolithography (SLA) is the oldest form of 3D printing. It works by exposing a layer of photosensitive liquid resin to a UV-laser beam; the resin then hardens in the desired pattern, and the object is built layer by layer until it is complete. (source)

Check the Expiration Date

Resin goes bad before too long. Expired resin is not going to destroy your printer, but the 3D models will be more fragile and less detailed than if you used recently manufactured resin. So check the expiration date on the container before you make a purchase or if you are using a container of resin that has been stored for a while.

Resin Printers FAQs

Resin vs filament printer: Which is best for you?

This depends on your personal needs and budget. Filament printers are cheaper to operate than resin 3D printers, which is worth taking into consideration.

How is resin properly disposed of?

Your best bet is to contact a disposal specialist to take a look at your resin 3D printer and resin tank to dispose of standard resin. Never flush resin down the drain.

How much are resin 3D printers?

Like filament printers, they start at around $400 but balloon up to $3,000 to $8,000, depending on the feature set. High-tech offerings with LCD screens, laser beams, large resin tanks, and dedicated light sources cost more than entry-level models.
Lawrence Bonk Profile image