Skip to Content

Can Resin Printers Print Moving Parts?

A 3D printer’s ability to create objects with many interconnected parts in just one print job makes it a true revolution in the world of manufacturing and fabrication. 

Written by:
Last updated:

3D printing lets you make custom parts that will fit perfectly wherever you want them to go, whether you need a joint, gear, socket, or static figure. A 3D printer’s ability to create objects with many interconnected parts in just one print job makes it a true revolution in the world of manufacturing and fabrication. 

Resin printers can print moving parts as long as you carefully plan your design and execute the print correctly. The key is to be careful with spacing so that the individual moving parts don’t merge during the printing or curing processes. 

Let’s talk more about 3D printing with moving parts and how you can ensure you’ll get the best possible print. I’ll tell you how to create moving parts with 3D printed resin and compare this method with filament extrusion. Then, I’ll tell you a bit about how you can process your object to make your 3D printed moving parts work seamlessly. 

How Do You Print Moving Parts on a Resin Printer?

You can print moving parts on a resin printer by ensuring that your air gaps are large enough to stand on their own without curing together. You should double the layer thickness to set the gaps correctly. 

3D printing with any material can be tricky, but there are more opportunities for failure with more moving parts. On top of that, the curing process can cause resin parts to stick together if you don’t carefully design your object. 

When you print with resin, your printer will cure the material layer by layer, but if you haven’t designed the object well, some of these layers may fuse, locking your moving parts in place. 

The best way to combat this printing challenge is to make enough space between the moving parts. It’s a good idea to leave double the amount of space needed for intricate, moving figures that require an accurate design to work. 

Adding more space isn’t something you should consider for larger gaps that already have plenty of room to move. A good rule of thumb is to double the area if it is less than an inch (2.54 cm) wide. More than an inch (2.54 cm) of space will be plenty to ensure that the figure doesn’t cure to itself.

In addition, if it is possible, dividing your object into separate components to join together later can ensure that nothing gets stuck. For example, if you want to make a hinged lid box, printing the hinge, lid, and box separately can keep everything unstuck. Later, you can clip or pin everything together to make a functional joint.

So, printing moving parts with resin requires a bit of planning and know-how, but it is possible, and the product is usually worth the effort!

Is Resin 3D Printing Best For Printing Moving Parts?

Resin 3D printing works best for printing some moving parts. Although it can be challenging to 3D print moving parts in one print job with resin, printing each piece individually produces hard parts with supreme durability. So, if you can divide the moving parts into separate prints, resin is best. 

While both filament extrusion and resin 3D printing have their advantages, let’s break down what sets them apart when designing moving parts. 

Part of what makes resin 3D printing so accurate is that it can produce thinner layers than filament printing. With smaller layers, the figure won’t only be more detailed, but it’ll also have smoother and cleaner lines. 

These cleaner lines translate to less friction when you create moving parts. So, when you use resin, you can keep the gap between the two pieces of your object smaller without worrying about jagged layer lines. 

However, filament printing produces more rigid layer lines, which will add friction and “sticky spots” to your print. If you want smooth movement from an FDM part, you’ll have to increase the gaps or sand down each piece individually before joining them together.  

So, resin 3D printing can produce better results with moving parts because it preserves the finer details. 

Still, filament stands up better to friction when creating moving parts since resin tends to crack and shatter. So, if you plan to use your moving parts for heavy-duty or load-bearing purposes, you might want to consider switching over to FDM. 

How Does Post-Processing Help With Printing Resin Moving Parts?

Post-processing helps with printing moving parts because you’ll need to cure your print, reduce friction and sticking between joints, and smooth out contact points for the object to move. 

The post-processing of a resin print is an essential part of the process. How you handle the process can be the difference between parts that fit well together and those that don’t. 

You must carefully remove supports and filler to ensure that the figure remains intact. How carefully you handle this process will determine how well your design turns out and how well it moves. 

Also, if there are any edges or other parts of the figure that you need to smooth out, be gentle and precise. When processing most 3D prints, we can make necessary adjustments without much thought, but with moving parts, the size and shape of the figure determine whether it’ll work. 

So, whenever you are post-processing a figure, make sure that you’re being careful. Only make adjustments and remove parts that you know won’t change the intricate design that allows the figure to move. Unfortunately, this means that it may take a few different tries to perfect a moving figure with resin, but it’s certainly possible. 

What Types of Moving Parts Can You 3D Print With Resin?

You can print moving parts like hinges, wrenches, ball-socket joints, and clasps with a resin 3D printer. You can use these moving parts in household tools, hardware, toys, and much more. 

You can print plenty of different things with your resin 3D printer. The designs may seem complicated when it comes to moving parts, but once you get the hang of how it works, the process becomes a lot easier to handle. 

3D printing moving parts can help you save money on everyday household items. For example, door hinges are a popular choice for 3D printing with resin. You may also be able to make living hinges from certain flexible resins!

You can also print small tools like an adjustable wrench to help with easy home upkeep. There are many other hardware items to try, like screws, bolts, pliers, and boxes with hinged lids. So, you can save yourself a trip to the hardware store and create hardware items at home. 

If you are looking for more entertaining resin figures, there are plenty of options for you to consider. 3D printers are great at making fidget toys for kids and adults who need help focusing. Check out this video by Print3D for some cool fidget toy ideas to 3D print:

Whatever you choose to make with your 3D printer, there are many different options for excellent moving parts.

Final Thoughts

Resin is an excellent tool for fabricating moving parts because it works in tiny layers that allow the printer to be more detailed. 

To ensure that you get the best possible moving figure, ensure you’re cautious in post-processing. During this stage, carefully remove the filling and any supports. Then, make sure you only make necessary adjustments while keeping in mind that the measurements of a moving figure are vital. 

Written by:
Last updated:

About Ben

I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.